The second animal of the Zodiac, the Ox is regarded as trustworthy and auspicious, with the ancient Chinese art of Feng Shui giving it a reputation for granting wishes. Here are the best places to welcome in the Chinese lunar year in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
Dai Pai Dong, Rosewood Abu Dhabi:
At the Rosewood Abu Dhabi’s award-winning restaurant, Dai Pai Dong, the Chinese New Year celebrations promise to be extra special with three individually themed offerings, starting on 12 February with the ‘All-Day Prosperity Feast’ which will feature a special Chinese New Year Yee Sheng Salad called Lo Hei (meaning ‘family reunion’) and dumplings known as Jiaozi (or ‘good luck’). Available from 12pm to 11pm, three-hour brunch packages are available from AED 388 per person. From 13 to 25 February, a special Family Style eight-course set menu will also feature Lo Hei and steamed whole fish. In Chinese tradition, eating fish during the New Year is an expression of goodwill to others. This special menu is priced at AED 298 per person.
Hakkasan Abu Dhabi, Emirates Palace:
In synergy with Hakkasan’s rich history of traditions, celebrated across its venues globally, Hakkasan Abu Dhabi is set to transform into a real feast for the senses. The set menu, which is priced at AED 498 per person, features dishes said to bring good health and fortune and a specially crafted fortune-themed dessert. After being welcomed with a ‘fire and grace’ cocktail, diners will start with a Yu sheng salad with house-cured salmon and a double treasure fortune quail blossom puff for extra good luck in 2021. Main dishes include crispy kumquat chicken, wok-fried prawn with macadamia nuts and braised abalone roasted duck fried rice with dried scallops and shitake mushrooms. The Mandarin dessert will round the evening off on a suitably sweet and chocolatey note with an exciting twist courtesy of the orange cocoa butter. By honouring these customs through elevation of the guest experience, Hakkasan continues to pay homage to its Chinese roots. Centred around the principle of “Peace, Love and Sharing”, the Year of the Ox will see Hakkasan’s wishing tree tradition go virtual this year and be transformed into a digital art installation within the venue. Available from 10 to 26 February. AED 498 per person (including Chinese New Year set menu and a special cocktail).
Shang Palace, Shangri-La Hotel, Qaryat Al Beri, Abu Dhabi:
Shang Palace will serve an authentic Cantonese dinner as a family reunion experience, reflecting the original mainland culture. The Ox-picious dinner menu features deep-fried crispy beef wonton, rose flavoured boiled chicken with “Sakura” salad, charcoal grilled beef short ribs, clay pot cooked sea bass fillet and boiled sesame dumplings in sweet white tremella mushroom soup. During the two weeks of Chinese New year celebrations, guests will have an opportunity to enjoy the daily Kung Fu Tea Master performance at 1:38pm and 8:38 pm, with the added surprise of an astonishing martial arts tea pouring show based on a traditional Chinese tea ceremony that comes from iconic Chinese folk culture. The will also be a mask changing act, a fascinating performance with its roots in the Sichuan opera, that will take place every day at 2:08pm and 9:38pm. Available from 11 to 26 February. AED 248 per person.
Stratos, Le Royal Méridien Abu Dhabi:
Admire the panoramic views of Abu Dhabi offered from a unique vantage point high above the city. Stratos offers a revolving dining experience this Chinese New Year, with each 90-minutes revolution offering a 360-degree view of the UAE capital. Move from the tranquil Corniche waters dotted with wooden dhow boats, past Al Maryah Island, before culminating in the illuminated canopy of the city’s latest cultural attraction, Louvre Abu Dhabi. The elevated Chinese new year supper club experience is expected to feature unique offerings of Asian-inspired dishes. Friday 12 February, seatings available from 6 to 9pm, 7pm to 10pm and 8pm to 11pm. AED 395 per person.
Yas Links, Yas Island:
Dig into a delicious Chinese buffet at Hickory’s Restaurant. The sumptuous selection will include Chinese salads, a dim sum station, dumplings, hot dishes, delicious desserts, and fortune cookies. Friday 12 February, from 12pm to 3:30pm. AED 120 (soft beverages), AED 199 (house beverages for two hours) and AED 299 (house beverages for three hours).
Hakkasan Dubai, Atlantis The Palm:
Cantonese restaurant Hakkasan will welcome guests with both a signature set menu and individual dishes. The set menu, which is priced at AED 498 per person, features dishes said to bring good health and fortune and a specially crafted fortune-themed dessert. After being welcomed with a ‘fire and grace’ cocktail, diners will start with a Yu sheng salad with house-cured salmon and a double treasure fortune quail blossom puff for extra good luck in 2021. Main dishes include crispy kumquat chicken, wok-fried prawn with macadamia nuts and braised abalone roasted duck fried rice with dried scallops and shitake mushrooms. The Mandarin dessert will round the evening off on a suitably sweet and chocolatey note with an exciting twist courtesy of the orange cocoa butter. Available from 10 to 26 February. AED 498 per person (including Chinese New Year set menu and a special cocktail).
GO: Call (0)4 426 2626 for reservations and more information.
Ewaan, Palace Downtown:
Step into the oriental haven of Ewaan to relish the best of Chinese cuisine, from fresh seafood to signature mains, decadent desserts and live cooking stations. Celebrate the spirit of the Chinese New Year as you enjoy the light and laser show on Burj Khalifa along with the traditional performances of the Dragon Dance. Welcome the beginning of a prosperous Chinese New Year with a lavish celebration at Palace Downtown. Thursday 11 February, from 6:30pm to 10pm. AED 295 (soft beverages) and AED 395 (house beverages).
Saffron, Atlantis The Palm:
With exotic ingredients, tantalising flavours and exciting new dishes, diners can indulge in an authentic Chinese celebration with a selection of Cantonese, Szechuan, Shandong and Anhui dishes. With Cantonese salmon, edamame almond salad, siracha Chinese cucumber salad, double-boiled abalone soup with crab meat, “Yong Zhou” style wok-fried rice, Chinese black pepper crab, ho see fatt choy (braised oysters and sea moss), Szechuan style fish with salted vegetables, stewed tofu and chicken clay pot, diners are in for a sweet, sour, savoury and sensory treat. The menu will also include comforting favourites such as Peking duck and Hong Kong noodles. With its mix of Chinese and western desserts including green tea cheesecake, aloe vera gel and crunchy peanut, the extensive line-up of desserts are not to be missed. Available from 10 to 16 February, from 6pm to 10:30pm. AED 255 per adult (food only) and AED 127.50 (children aged four to eleven).
GO: Call (0)4 426 2626 for reservations and more information.
Shanghai Me, DIFC:
On Thursday 11 February, Shanghai Me welcomes the Year of the Ox with blessings and tradition. Head Chef Shane Macneill will serve a bountiful feast, beginning the Chinese lunar year with joy and luck. Dining amongst the lucky bamboo and lilies of the valley, guests can rejoice in new beginnings alongside family and friends. Blending ancient traditions with the well-loved flavours of the present, the menu features seafood for an increase in prosperity, dim sum for wealth, as well as noodles for happiness and longevity. The Shanghai Me Fortune Cookie predicts a delicious future and a sweet ending for all. Thursday 11 February, from 12pm to 11pm. A la Carte menu with appetisers from AED 25 and main courses from AED 40.
GO: Call (0)4 564 0505 for reservations and more information.
Trader Vic’s, JBR:
Traders Vic’s JBR has launched a limited-time menu featuring Peking duck. Head Chef Rene follows ancient cooking methods dating back to the Han Dynasty to prepare this authentic dish using Trader Vic’s signature Chinese wood-fired oven. Well-known for roasting this particular dish to perfection, the Polynesian restaurant is committed to serving the most original iteration of this famed Chinese dish. Running until the end of February, the menu includes duck bao, duck curry and stir fry Peking duck. Patrons simply seeking an evening of imperial Chinese dining can opt for the whole Peking duck. Available from 1 to 28 February.