Lunar New Year is the busiest period for restaurants in Sydney’s Chinatown, Thai Town and Koreatown – where pork will be the centrepiece at many Year of the Pig celebrations.
Some eateries will be serving the same pork dishes which prove popular all year round, while others will plate up special dishes for the City of Sydney’s Sydney Lunar Festival celebrations from 1 to 10 February.
“The red skin of pork symbolises prosperity, richness and happiness and it is eaten in almost all Chinese provinces by people of all classes,” said Phoebe Wang from The Eight Modern Chinese Restaurant.
Golden Century owner Eric Wong said Sydneysiders will be spoilt for choice in Chinatown, where he believes you’ll find the best Chinese food outside of China.
“The standard of Chinese restaurants in Sydney is very high and has gone up so much over the last 30 years. Some of China’s best chefs have come to Sydney and stayed here. We are lucky to have so many great places to eat,” Mr Wong said.
Lord Mayor Clover Moore encouraged visitors to sample the incredible array of dining options available in Chinatown.
“Chinatown and the city area just south of Broadway have become favourite food hotspots, with a 42 per cent increase in the number of food and drink businesses open over the last decade,” Lord Mayor Clover Moore said.
“Sydney Lunar Festival is all about welcoming in the Lunar New Year surrounded by your friends and family, so what better way to celebrate than to head down to one of our local restaurants or check out one of the many free activities across the city.”
Mhu Grob Padt Prik Khing dish served at Chat Thai
Below are some of the popular pork dishes on offer at Sydney Lunar Festival event partners and at eateries recommended by residents through the City’s #SydneyLocal neighbourhood guides:
393-399 Sussex St
Yee Tun Woo Hay (Harmony) – Braised pork hock with lettuce – $39
All dishes on Golden Century’s Chinese New Year menu have special names representing the fortune they may bring. Yee Tun Woo Hay is a Lunar New Year favourite at the 30-year-old Chinatown institution. It represents harmony and is to be enjoyed and shared with family and friends.
The Eight Modern Chinese Restaurant
9-13 Hay St, Haymarket
Roasted suckling pig – $58
Suckling pig is a special occasion dish in Chinese culture and is much sought after during Lunar New Year. It is traditionally served with raw jellyfish, giving a sharp contrast to the slow roasted pork meat.
Old Town Hong Kong Cuisine
10A Dixon Street, Sydney
Deep fried pork spare ribs with mashed garlic – $26.80
Coated in garlic and spicy salt, the golden colour of the deep fried ribs is said to bring prosperity and wealth to all who consume it.
Sydney Madang Korean BBQ
371A Pitt St, Sydney
Madang bossam – $35
Boiled pork belly served with oyster kimchi and an array of sumptuous sides – this dish is one traditionally prepared in winter time when there were plenty of friends and family to feed.
20 Campbell St, Haymarket
Mhu Grob Padt Prik Khing – $18
The stir-fried crisp pork belly and wild ginger in red curry paste is one of the most popular dishes at Thai Town favourite Chat Thai. The dish originates from Central Thailand where the cuisine is heavily influenced by Chinese immigrants that settled more than 200 years ago.
Steam Mill Lane, Haymarket
Banh mi – $6
For those looking for a cheap and cheerful pork option, you can’t go past the legendary banh mi from Vietnamese institution Marrickville Pork Roll, which recently set up shop in the city.
The City’s Sydney Lunar Festival is the largest Lunar New Year celebration outside of Asia, bringing communities together to ring in the Year of the Pig. The festival runs from 1 to 10 February and is expected to attract 1.4 million tourists. More details are available at sydneylunarfestival.com
Image Sydney Madang Korean BBQ © Katherine Griffiths