Chinese New Year is always all color, movement and the best eats. And always SO much better than that January 1 business, which always sees me holed up on the couch watching fireworks rather than actually getting out and about.
Chinese New Year menus often contain similar, traditional dishes or a chef’s interpretation of them. the theme is always around celebration, so you will find food with symbolism (good luck, prosperity) and also dishes with lots of color. The most common Chinese New Year foods includes dumplings, fish, spring rolls, and niangao (glutinous rice cakes). You will also find abalone (good fortune) and pomelo because it is thought to bring “continuous prosperity and status.”
This year in Doha, with its booming selection of Chinese restaurants, the Year of the Rooster is being ushered in with style. Here is your guide to the best menus in Doha for this bonus festive period:
Chef Ding hails from Northern China, which is known for its spicy food and love of meat. This shows in his special menu, which is available 26 to 28 January, with a selection of comfort food, traditional dishes and a kick of chilli.
This 10 dish menu is very accessible – with dishes ranging from the crunchy and sweet “Good Luck” salad of salmon and pomelo, to a comforting yet spicy braised chicken with chestnuts and a silky and tender beef and stuffed tofu dish. The abalone dish (which in Chinese symbolism denotes good fortune) is braised with bok choi and mushroom. The mains are served with boiled beef dumplings, which is playing right to my sweet spot but also symbolize wealth.Given the number of dumplings I have been known to consume, I should be a wealthy woman. Hmm.
At QR295, this is great value and an excellent opportunity to try some unique dishes cooked with skill and passion.
This stylish and always excellent restaurant has been serving some of the best Chinese food this city has seen for several years now. It goes without saying their offering for the Year of the Rooster would reflect their identity.
As with all New Year menus, this starts with the Fortune Tale with roasted chicken and jelly fish. The chicken was roasted to perfection and served with its salty and crunchy skin. Tossing the salad (the higher the toss, the closer to happiness!) is a fun way to start the meal and can get messy.
Hakkasan’s dumplings are legendary and this menu would be empty without them. The smoked Wagyu beef dumpling and the steamed seabass dumpling are both standouts.
The menu itself features the familiar but also the challenging. The steamed abalone and dried oyster may be too confronting for some, but a Dover sole with pumpkin, shiitake mushroom in soy fish sauce is a sleeper hit – the mild taste of the fish enhanced by the saltiness of the sauce.
Hakkasan is one restaurant I always break my “No Dessert” rule. This was no exception. Listed on the menu as golden feather ginger pannacotta, mandarin and caramelized white chocolate, this gives no hint of what is to come.
What arrives on your table is this:
Crack it open and it really is a golden egg of deliciousness.
This was always going to be a hit with me – saved from an overly sweet white chocolate explosion by the mandarin flavored “yolk”.
Running until 13 February, the menu (which is available at the 11 Hakkasans around the globe) is priced at QR448 for two people include a specially designed cocktail.
Other Chinese New Year menus/options around town include:
Shanghai Club: Arguably the most exciting new opening in Doha, their special menu is available 27-28 January and is QR488 per person. This includes an eight course set menu.
Zengo Doha: With the best view in town and a big foodie buzz, this pan-Asian eatery is offering a Chinese menu on 27 and 28 January for QR300 including soft drinks.
Spice Market at W Doha: The original and still one of the best “big night out venues”, have a special SE Asian and Chinese New Year theme brunch on Friday, 27 January. QR410 with happy beverages and QR295 with soft drinks.
Mainland China: Some of the best dumplings in town, great service and a menu of favorites. A family-friendly option for those wanting to celebrate.
Westin Doha: Their excellent all day dining restaurant Seasonal Tastes has a Chinese-themed offering on Saturday 28 January from 6.30pm. It’s QR160 with soft drinks and QR245 with bubbly.
Three Peppers Doha: Always packed with Chinese expats and in-the-know foodies, they have just released some additions to their menu which I can’t wait to try. Eat in or takeaway – worth braving traffic for!
Asia Live: An underrated restaurant at the Marriott Doha, every Saturday they have all you can eat dumplings and handmade noodles by Chinese Chef Xudong Zheng for QR100. that’s not only good luck but also good fortune!
And with that folks, I wish you Gong hei fat choy…and I’m just going to leave this here:
*Life on the Wedge was a guest of the Four Seasons and Hakkasan. Views are my own, based on my own experience and love of dumplings. the Trump rooster, well that’s just there to haunt you.