We’ve just recovered from Christmas and New Year, only to realise that it’s time for our second New Year… that’s right, January and February have gone by in a blink of an eye (kind of like this whole year!) and it’s now time to welcome the Year of the Sheep!
This is a magical time of the year for Hong Kongers – either you make use of the public holidays by jetting off on that much-need beach vacay, or stay in the ‘Kong to spend time with friends and family. If you opt for the latter, then we’ve got you covered with our Sassy Guide to Chinese New Year 2015 in Hong Kong! Read on to find out all you need to know about celebrating this time of the year in the 852… from festive field trips and foodie treats to carnivals, gifts and more!
FESTIVE FIELD TRIPS
Your first stop should be the stunning festive flower markets, the biggest of the bunch (get it?!) situated in Causeway Bay’s Victoria Park and Fa Hui Park in Prince Edward. Adorn your apartment with lucky plants and the ubiquitous kumquat trees, a symbol of prosperity for the coming year You’ll also find plenty of seasonal snacks, the all-essential lai see packets and even horse-themed toys. The markets make for a colourful night out for the whole family to enjoy and there’s a real festival atmosphere… sharpen your elbows on the last day to bag some bargain blooms!
When: 13-19 February
Where: 14 parks and playgrounds all over Hong Kong including Victoria Park, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong Island and Fa Hui Park, Mong Kok, Kowloon. See here for more details
How much: Free!
Hong Kong Disneyland & Ocean Park
Naturally, Hong Kong’s theme parks will have plenty going on to ring in the Year of the Goat. Hong Kong Disneyland sees Mickey and friends decked out in their festive finery, along with a golden walk of fortune and Mickey lai see coins. Heading Southside, Ocean Park always put on a good CNY bash, with dazzling decorations, and dedicated performances that will usher in the Year of the Goat with a bleat!
When: Throughout late January and early February
Where: Hong Kong Disneyland, Sunny Bay, Lantau, Hong Kong; Ocean Park, Aberdeen, Hong Kong
How much: Disneyland: adults $450, children $320; Ocean Park: adults $320, children $160
Lam Tsuen Wishing Tree
For something a bit different, visit Lam Tsuen’s Wishing Tree to participate in the age-old custom of writing your hopes and dream for the year ahead on joss paper and throwing them into the tree’s branches, or releasing ‘wishing lanterns’ into the sky. There is also an exhibition centre for you to learn more about the tradition, plus special performances and shows, yummy food stalls and souvenirs aplenty. Just be prepared for the traffic jam to get into Tai Po on the way there.
When: 19 February – 5 March
Where: Lam Tsuen Wishing Square, Lam Tsuen, Tai Po, New Territories, Hong Kong
How much: Free
Lunar New Year Cup
How about something a little more sporty? Football fans will love the annual Lunar New Year Cup, which takes place at Hong Kong Stadium and promises thrills and spills a-plenty! Our homegrown talent will pit themselves against three international teams… go Hong Kong!
When: 19 February, 3.15pm
Where: Hong Kong Stadium, So Kon Po Recreation Ground, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong
How much: Tickets start from $100 and are available from Cityline here.
Chinese New Year Race Day
And a classic – Chinese New Year Race Day at Sha Tin Racecourse. Start your Year of the Goat at the races with festive programmes including lion dances, CNY greetings from the popular jockeys and forecasts from a renowned feng shui master.
When: 21 February
Where: Sha Tin Racecourse, New Territories, Hong Kong
How much: General admission is just $10!
You can also give thanks for the year that’s been, have your fortune told for the year ahead and stock up on some lucky amulets at one of Hong Kong’s many beautiful temples.
THE MAIN EVENTS
Tsim Sha Tsui’s annual Night Parade is a real must-see, with magnificent floats, hundreds of performers from all corners of the globe and a huge street party all to celebrate the Year of the Sheep. This gets seriously busy, so arrive early to claim your spot.
You can either book a grandstand seat, cram along the parade route (the best vantage points are along Canton Road outside Harbour City, Haiphong Road or the junction of Nathan and Peking Roads outside Chungking Mansions) or watch from home – the entire event is broadcast on TVB Jade.
When: 19 February; parade from 8-9.45pm, entertainment from 7pm
Where: Starts at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre Piazza in Tsim Sha Tsui and proceeds along Canton, Haiphong and Nathan Roads, ending at Sheraton Hong Kong Hotel and Towers.
How much: Free viewing along the parade route; $300-400 for spectator seats at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre Piazza. Tickets can be purchased at Hong Kong Tourism Board Visitor Centre by the TST Star Ferry Pier.
Chinese New Year Fireworks
Of course, the real biggie is the superb fireworks display that takes place in Victoria Harbour each Lunar New Year and this year’s pyrotechnic fiesta will undoubtedly be as jaw-dropping as ever. If you really want to get up close and personal with the lightshow, various tour companies offer firework junk trips in the harbour (see our Junk Guide here!), or alternatively head to one of our tried-and-tested firework viewing spots and watch the celebrations go off with a bang.
When: 20 February; 8pm
Where: Victoria Harbour between Central and Tsim Sha Tsui
How much: Free!
When: now until 22 February, 11am-1pm
Where: Central Harbourfront Event Space, 9 Lung Wo Road, Central, Hong Kong
How much: Tickets are $125 for adults, which includes $100 worth of tokens; $90 for children, which includes $70 worth of tokens. Buy yours here or at the door.
Don’t forget, you can even get a dose of CNY spirit while you’re hitting the shops! All the malls will have themed displays that will give you an excuse to take a breather from your spending spree and some may even have special music or dance performances too. Pacific Place, ifc and Elements all promise to dazzle!
TAKE-HOME SWEETS AND TREATS
Gift Flowers HK
Chinese New Year is all about celebrations and family – so what better way to show your love ones you care than by gifting them with some beautiful (and fortuitous!) flowers? We love the Deluxe Orchid Arrangement from Gift Flowers HK ($2,088), which comes with a complimentary message card, an exclusive Gift Flowers HK Orchid pot and free delivery to all metropolitan areas. Eight stems of the season’s best orchids is sure to put a smile on anyone’s face… we’ll be very happy to take these blooms home!
Duddell’s x Goods of Desire
Michelin-starred chef Siu Hin-Chi has created two cakes for CNY: new year cake and the classic turnip cake. Buy vouchers from G.O.D. and pick up a box of your favourite cakes from Duddell’s in Central. The packaging is bound to be stunning and quirky at the same time, thanks to G.O.D.’s touch!
A box of new year cake costs $270 and a box of turnip cake costs $370.
Pick up at Duddell’s, 1 Duddell Street, Central, Hong Kong, 2525 9191, www.duddells.co
Pierre Hermé Paris
Celebrate the Year of the Goat with one of Pierre Hermé Paris’ new macaron flavours! They include mandarin orange macarons and jasmine, mango and grapefruit-flavoured macarons. These are available at their K11 pop-up store from 28 January to 1 March, then available at all boutiques from 2 March onwards. If you need some gift inspiration, their 20-piece festival initiation gift box works a treat, too!
Pierre Hermé Paris, click here for store locations.
One of our favourite bakeries is doing gift boxes with deliciously sweet treats all in the name of bringing good luck! Ring in the new year with a fortune cooking box (come on, who wouldn’t love to receive an extra dose of good fortune?!), or a chocolate flower and gold coin sandwich which is a perfect gift for kids. The refreshing Kung Hei Fat Choi blackcurrant tart makes a great pudding, too.
Any coffee addicts out there? You’ll love this special promotion from Nespresso with ‘Demon Chef’ Alvin Leung! Celebrate Chinese New Year with a $300 discount or $500 Club Credit on all Nespresso machine purchases from 26 January – 1 March 2015. Alvin Leung has a created a coffee infused sweet and savoury menu for Club Menus, which includes a CNY Candy Box Coffee Affogato with Rosabaya de Colombia coffee and Crispy Goat With Aromatic Coffee Sauce with Fortissio Lungo coffee. Treat your coffee-loving friends to a machine and see if they can whip up these caffeinated recipes too!
Candied Fish x Teakha Tea Set
More of a tea lover than a coffee connoisseur? You’ll love the CNY Tea Almanac set from Candied Fish and Plantation. The set includes 15 packs of carefully chosen teas, all of which have a Chinese New Year story behind them that they are inspired by. The packs come in a beautiful bamboo box, and you’ll find each pack adorned with a unique Chinese design that can even be re-used as coasters. We tried the Eight Treasure Tea, which was so unique and tasted divine! The whole set costs $688 and is available at one of our favourite tea houses, Teakha.
Available for $688 at Teakha; Shop B, 18 Tai Ping Shan Street, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong.
Of course, up there on the list of things to do this Lunar New Year is gathering the family (or your friends!) together to eat! Pretty much every restaurant in town will have something going on for CNY, so here’s a small selection of the places that are on the Sassy menu for a festive feast -with a view or two! And if you have a sweet tooth then of course we’ve got you covered. Needless to say, wherever you decide to go, make sure you book early to avoid disappointment (and to guarantee a good view!).
The menu at Cuisine Cuisine in ifc (not to be confused with the one at The Mira hotel), combines luxurious ingredients with symbolic meanings. So feast on bird’s nest, shredded abalone and roasted duck tossed in an abalone sauce for prosperity, or poached garoupa filet with tomato in a fish broth for wealth. That’s just a taste of what’s on offer at this classy Chinese resto!
The new year menu is available from 19 February to 5 March for lunch or dinner.
Cuisine Cuisine, Shop 3101, Podium Level 3, ifc mall, Central, Hong Kong, 2393 3933, www.miradining.com/cuisine-cuisine-ifc
One Harbour Road at Grand Hyatt Hong Kong
Celebrate CNY at One Harbour Road, the Chinese restaurant at Grand Hyatt Hong Kong. The authentic menu features a casserole of assorted veggies, slow-cooked pork knuckle and slow-cooked bean-curd dumplings.
The new year menu is available from 16 to 28 February during both lunch and dinner. If you need something special to take to a friend’s house when you visit, why not order an assorted pudding gift set from Grand Hyatt? Rice pudding, turnip cake and more… your recipient will surely love these treats!
One Harbour Road at Grand Hyatt Hong Kong, 1 Harbour Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong, 2584 7722, www.hongkong.grand.hyatt.com
T’ang Court, The Langham Hong Kong
Dine at T’ang Court where the executive chef has created a traditional Lunar New year menu with dishes that carry auspicious meanings. You’re taste buds will enjoy the baked shrimp with champagne and coriander as well as golden-fried beancurd stuffed with egg and spinach. The home-made puddings are to die-for too!
The new year menu is only available from 19-25 February, with dim sum available during lunch service only. Book now so you don’t miss out!
T’ang Court at The Langham Hong Kong, 8 Peking Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong, 2132 7898, www.hongkong.langhamhotels.com
If you’re more concerned about getting an awesome view of the fireworks rather than getting a traditional Chinese menu, book a table at Wooloomooloo Prime in TST on 20 February. There’s a five course menu for $988, which includes a citrus cured Hamachi, as well as a dukkah-encrusted Australian lamb rack or Atlantic cod to choose from for mains. Finish your meal with a classic lemon meringue tart.
Wooloomooloo Prime, Level 21 The ONE, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong, 2870 0087, www.wooloo-mooloo.com
Another way to get the best view of the fireworks is the eat at one of Aqua Group’s restaurants! Aqua itself offers an incredible panorama of the Hong Kong skyline and a 6-course celebratory menu for $1,888 per person. We personally love the idea of viewing the fireworks from the harbour itself, which is just what you’ll get if you sail away on the Aqua Luna this CNY! The iconic red sail boat will set sail at 7pm and you’ll enjoy a host of delicious canapes from the Hutong and Aqua chefs, as well as a special appearance from the God of Fortune as you gaze up at the dazzling firework spectacle. Tickets cost $868 per adult and the boat trip ends at 9.15pm.
As much a we love a traditional CNY dinner, we also can’t resist the fun offerings from Fatty Crab! Their ‘Holy Sheep, It’s Chinese New Year’ celebrations will kick off on the bar side of Fatty Crab from 19-22 February, 5pm-1am. Their special CNY Happy Hour menus will be hidden in red lai see packets and guests can also take part in some Chinese drinking games, winning free drink coupons, bar snacks, discounts and more.
Fatty Crab, 11-13 Old Bailey Street, Central, Hong Kong, www.fattycrab.com.hk
Ho Lee Fook
Another trendy spot to celebrate CNY in style is Ho Lee Fook (see our full review here). They’ll be hosting a traditionally inspired “Year of the Black Sheep Chinese New Year banquet”, where you can feast on the restos most popular dishes like Start off with Chef Yu’s famous Mom’s “mostly cabbage, a little bit of pork dumplings” and Roast Wagyu short ribs for just $388 per person for a group of 6 or more. Pretty reasonable considering the amount of delicious dishes you’ll be able to enjoy!
Ho Lee Fook, G/F & L/G, 1 Elgin Street, 1 Elgin Street, Soho,2810 0860, www.holeefook.com.hk
Planning to stay in but don’t want to cook? No problem – Secret Ingredient’s got you covered. They’ve got an succulent crackling pork on offer for CNY that’s roasted to perfection! Their menu includes all the trimmings such as lemongrass rice, a homemade mustard dipping sauce and baby Chinese cabbage, all for $555. It’s enough to feed four people!
Secret Ingredient, 2108 4000, www.secretingredient.com.hk
A WOLF IN SHEEP’S CLOTHING
Festive time is gift and décor time! Rather than covering your home entirely in red and gold drapes, or hitting Temple Street for cheesy souvenirs and joke gifts, how about some CNY-themed gifts that are that little bit sassier?
You know how much we love the quirky designs from Kate Spade, and their CNY offerings do not disappoint. How cute and cuddly is this Sheep Clutch? Only a brand like Kate Spade could make this work! I’m loving how spacious it looks too, ideal for shoving in your purse, phone and other essentials. This clutch couldn’t be more appropriate for ringing in the Year of the Sheep!
Converse are known for their arty and comfortable high-tops, so we were pleased to see that they’ve pulled out all the stops for CNY with their Chinese New Year 2015 collection. You’ll be the coolest gal around town with these sneaks, which subtly incorporate the Year of the Goat theme, with geometric details and gold accents. Deliver your lai see packets wearing these cute shoes for an even more fortuitous year ahead!
Need an easy way to give lai see packets? Giftwell are offering gift cards to the value of $888 and $999 which can be used to redeem items at more than 50 of our favourite brands around town! Whether it’s for a foodie or a shopaholic, they’ll surely appreciate this cute gift card!
Place your order here before noon on 18 February latest for it to be delivered to you or your recipient on 19 February.
Another favourite Sassy brand is Mischa, and we’re super excited about their brand new Botanical Collection, which includes the gorgeous Voyager Duffel (a new design!), the Mini Bucket Bag, the Travel Clutch and the classic Jet Set Tote in fresh, fun colours. This CNY, Mischa are having a ‘red sale’ from 10-28 February, with 25% off all red items! Snap them up quick!
Still wondering what red item to add to your wardrobe for the season? The classic red Boston bag from Ril Creed is functional and stylish and will go great with those greys and blacks you wear to work.
Ril Creed, Shop 3-15E, 3/F SOGO Department Store, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong, 2831 3956, www.rilcreed.com
Brighten up your living space with one of the alluring Tu Textile cushions. Some say the bold red colour is lucky during this time of year, and the symbols and Chrysanthemum designs will add a Chinese touch to your home.
That’s it from us, girls! Let’s stop sashaying around in the Year of the Snake and usher in the Year of the Sheep with a baaaa-ang!