Rita Cook – Guest Contributor
Jan 22 2017
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Photo courtesy: Crow Collection of Asian Art

In less than a week, it’s time to say goodbye to the year of that mischievous monkey and welcome the incoming Year of the Rooster.

January 28, 2017, begins the year of the Fire Rooster. Always the second New Moon after the winter Solstice, the date fluctuates each year, but the celebration is always the same — big and bold and lasting for several weeks.

As Chinese communities around the world plan for the New Year celebration, here in Big D, there are several can't-miss events to help ring the rooster. And remember, wear red during this time as it is said to be very auspicious.

The city of Grand Prairie hosts a huge Chinese New Year Celebration each year in the city’s Asia Times Square. The Lunar New Year Festival takes place from January 27 to 29, 2017, with free entry and parking. Expect concerts in the evening as well as all-day actives like multicultural performances, lion and dragon dance and martial arts. There are also food and business booths, a kidzone and a Children’s Singing Contest.

Ring in the Year of the Rooster with the Crow Collection of Asian Art celebration. A spectacular all-day Chinese New Year Festival will be held on Saturday, January 28, from 11 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. The free event will be held inside the Crow Collection of Asian Art and outdoors on Flora and Harwood Streets in the Dallas Arts District. Expect lion and dragon dances, family-fun art-making activities, calligraphy demonstrations, face painting, face changers, fortune telling, kung fu and breaking demos, Beijing Opera renditions, musical performances, traditional Chinese dances, and more. A fireworks finale will close the evening festivities.

Lunar Celebrations for Foodies

It’s not always easy to find genuine Asian dishes outside of Asia, but fortunately there are a few local restaurants that offer authentic menus.

Irving’s ‘Fortune House’

Straight from Shanghai, Fortune House is one of Irving’s newest palate-pleasing treasures. Located in an unassuming shopping center in Las Colinas, the restaurant serves up every possible variation on the dumpling. Most notably these include the juicy soup dumplings of owner Lucy Young’s childhood. Don’t miss the green onion pancakes, either. When in doubt, the friendly and outgoing staff will demystify the menu for you.

Yao Fuzi in Plano

Duck…duck…calamari. Indulge your taste buds in crispy fried deliciousness at Plano’s Yao Fuzi, another under-the-radar outpost for authentic Shanghai cuisine. The extensive menu has plenty to appeal to both adventurous and more timid palates, from the jellyfish appetizer to the must-try Fuzi crispy beef. Wash it all down with one of the restaurant’s specialty martinis or a Fuzi mule.  

Get Your Fill at Garland’s ‘Pho Bang’

Pho, the Vietnamese noodle dish, has become a popular comfort food in North Texas and with so many pho shops popping up, consumers are faced with a delicious dilemma — which to choose? Garland is home to one of the go-tos, Pho Bang. The restaurant concocts a winning combination of silken broth and meltingly tender beef tendon. Some find it the perfect hangover cure.

Five Sixty by Wolfgang Puck

Five Sixty by Wolfgang Puck and Executive Chef Jacob Williamson will celebrate the Chinese New Year featuring a special Year of the Rooster Tasting Menu with five courses.  The special menu will be available to guests from Saturday, January 28 to Monday, February 6, 2017.  The limited-edition menu will include a selection of acclaimed signature dishes as well as a contemporary interpretation on authentic Chinese New Year fare.

On February 7, 2017 you can add to the fun and take part in the Interactive Night Market. An all-you-can-eat Chinese BBQ-themed night market with live action stations, expect traditional dim sum, noodles, BBQ brisket and more. There will also be a Chinese calligrapher and lion dancers for the evening entertainment.   

Just Go to Plano’s Jusgo

Prefer to cook up your own Lunar New Year feast at home? Jusgo is a supermarket in Plano that sells every possible Asian ingredient you might need from exotic fresh produce and fish to hundreds of kinds of noodles and prepared foods, all at a great value.