The best holidays all have one thing in common: food. And the Lunar New Year definitely has plenty of it. Along with seeing family, honouring ancestors and celebrating the coming of spring, the special 15-day festival is a time when eating and sharing food is mandatory throughout many Asian countries.
Lucky for Brisbanites, Sunnybank is filled with top-notch restaurants that will help you ring in the year of the OX with authentic cuisine. Starting on 10 February and running for 15 days, the Lunar New Year is not only rooted in thousands of years of customs and traditions, but is a festival that allows you to explore a myriad of flavours!
Chef and Sunnybank insider Tony Ching shares the top five dishes you should eat to have an authentic – and auspicious – Lunar New Year experience. So gather the troops and get ready to fill your belly with these delectable Asian dishes.
Have you ever feasted on a whole fish with the head, tail and fin intact? Well Lunar New Year is the perfect time to order this popular Chinese dish, which is a staple meal during the celebration period. Traditionally, a whole fish is eaten during the Lunar New Year as it symbolises prosperity for the year ahead. It is believed that if you eat the whole fish over two days it will create an overflow of prosperity – so make sure you get that doggie bag! In China, a popular way to cook a whole fish is to steam it first and then pour hot oil on top, which creates succulent, juicy meat with delicious crispy-skin. Sunnybank’s Golden Lane is a foodie destination when it comes to fresh seafood, so it’s the ideal place to order your new year whole fish. Try their barramundi steamed with dried orange peel, Chinese herbs and chilli. Or head to Parkland and choose your own fish from their live seafood tanks. We recommend their steamed coral trout with ginger and shallots.
Golden Lane, Shop 109 Sunnybank Plaza. P: 3344 1361
Parkland, Shop 38 Sunny Park, Sunnybank. P: 3345 4588
Whether you fancy them steamed, fried or floating in broth, dumplings are a must during the Lunar New Year. The shape of these delicious little parcels are similar to ancient Chinese gold ingots, so they are consumed during the New Year as it’s believed to bring wealth. Traditionally, family members get together to make dumplings on New Year’s Eve, with each relative participating in the filling and folding process as it symbolises the family working together to gain money. The dumplings are then shared and eaten at midnight. So if you’re keen to make more bucks in 2021, make sure you delve into these juicy and succulent morsels. Chefs at Sunnybank’s yum cha institution Landmark create handmade dumplings with a variety of flavours and fillings. Order their famous pork and chive or chicken and mushroom dumplings – no matter which you end up choosing, they’re guaranteed to be delicious.
Landmark Restaurant, P: 3344 3288View Restaurant
Ever heard the saying ‘the longer the better’? Well, when it comes to eating noodles for Lunar New Year, it’s definitely the case. Long noodles symbolise health and longevity and a wish for a long life, so are typically eaten during the 15-day new year celebrations. There are no rules with what type of noodle you eat and whether they are fried or boiled and served in broth – the only important thing is that they’re long and not broken or cut during the cooking process. Another rule: make sure you slurp the noodles up without biting the strands. Delve into steaming bowls of noodle soup with flavoursome sides at Sunnybank’s Zen Corner. Must tries are their signature Wonton Noodle Soup filled with egg noodles and juicy wontons made with succulent minced prawn, pork and fish roe, and their Slow Cooked Beef Brisket Noodles made with beef brisket topped with sauce, egg noodles and served with steamed greens.
Zen Corner, Shop 32C Sunnybank Plaza. P: 0426 262 599
Love these crispy, deep-fried parcels of goodness? Then make sure you devour them during Lunar New Year and you may be blessed with wealth. The cult favourite snack is typically eaten and shared during the new year as it symbolises piles of gold bars. While spring rolls are typically filled with minced pork, shredded carrot, bean sprouts and other vegetables, filling choices are endless! Vietnamese foodie hotspot Happy Bowl serves up some of the best spring rolls in Sunnybank. Opt for their crispy Vietnamese spring rolls or go the extra mile and order their fresh and flavourful vermicelli salad that’s topped with their delicious spring rolls.
Happy Bowl Vietnamese Kitchen, Shop 121, Sunnybank Plaza. P: 3344 4999View Restaurant
Another classic dish that is shared with family and friends during the Lunar New Year is a whole chicken or duck. Representing togetherness and family unity, the chicken or duck is a highlight of a lot of families’ New Year’s feasts. Traditionally served with its head, neck and feet, the whole chicken or duck has a special place on the table as it also represents rebirth. Sunnybank is filled with restaurants that have rows of golden lacquered whole ducks hanging in the window, but if you want to share a whole chicken or duck at home then head to the Sunrise BBQ & Butcher. Yum Cha restaurant Parkland serves their signature juicy roasted barbecue duck, which is prepared and cooked all in-house in their special Chinese oven. The duck is coated with their special marinade sauce during roasting, which makes the skin beautifully crisp.
Parkland, Shop 38 Sunnypark, Sunnybank. P: 3345 4588View Restaurant
You’ll find a range of activities and entertainment on offer throughout Sunnybank Plaza & Sunny Park from Wednesday 10 – Sunday 14 February, to herald in the Year of the Ox!