Los Angeles Restaurants Celebrate the Lunar New Year

Restaurants across L.A. are bringing out festive specialities to bring in the Lunar New Year, a.k.a the Year of the Rabbit
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Originally a Chinese holiday, the Lunar New Year has been adopted throughout Asia and celebrated globally. The 2023 Year of the Rabbit begins officially on Sunday, January 22 with Los Angeles laying claim to the largest Lunar celebration in the country. Plenty of Asian restaurants in L.A. and Orange County are offering traditional dishes for good luck and best wishes in the coming year.

These are just a few of the establishments with Lunar specialties, including neighborhood spots and lux choices. It’s a great time to return to old favorites and discover new. Cue the fireworks.

NONG LA CAFÉ: A family style, neighborhood Vietnamese restaurant Nong La Café is offering a special Lunar New Year dessert at both the La Brea and Sawtelle locations. Their much-loved caramel flan ($6.50) has been brought back from January 16-22. Indulging in desserts during the lunar celebration is a sweet start to the year, and the round shape of the flan is said to represent unity and togetherness.

Neighborhood cafe, Nong La, is offering a special caramel flan dessert to start the New Year.

Nong La Café
La Brea
145 North La Brea Ave.
Seven days a week: 12 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Nong La Café
Sawtelle
2055 Sawtelle Blvd.
Seven days a week: 12 p.m. to 9 p.m.

KATO: For a second year, the Michelin-starred Kato will host a Lunar New Year Collaboration Dinner from January 24-28. Chefs Tam Debhakam of Baan Tepa in Bangkok and Calvin Eng of Bonnie’s in Brooklyn will join Kato chef Jon Yao in creating a nine-course tasting menu (each chef plating three courses). The new much larger space is well suited to groups wanting an extraordinary meal to begin the New Year.

interior of Kato
Kato’s expansive dining room is an elegant gathering place for a lunar new year celebration

Price: $325 (plus tax and 18% service fee) including a wine or a non-alcoholic pairing.
Tickets available here.

Kato
Arts District
777 S. Alameda St.
Tuesday through Saturday 5 p.m. to 8:15 p.m.
Bar hours: 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.

OPEN MARKET: The Koreatown café is offering a Lunar New Year dinner with limited seating and take-out on January 26, with pre-purchased reservations. Inspired by New York City bodegas, Open Market specializes in original and classic sandwiches and a wide-ranging selection of wine. Opened by four foodie friends, the small operation is inspired by their favorite places to eat in LA. The Lunar New Years Celebration is a more ambitious offering based around dry aged duck, including Confit Duck Leg, Duck Fat Fried Rice as well as salads and desserts. ($90 for half duck and $150 full duck) The half duck serves two people and the full order serves four. To order: checkout.square.site.
For regulars or those new to Open Market it’s a chance to see the chefs spread their wings with a more elaborate meal.

Open Market is specializing in duck delights for the Year of the Rabbit

Open Market
Koreatown
3339 Wilshire Blvd openmarket.la
Monday – Saturday 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

YANGBAN SOCIETY: Named the best restaurant in the U.S. by Esquire magazine and making nearly every media best-of list, Yangban Society is offering Korean Latkes with Caviar from January 20 through January 22. Drawing from Jewish and Korean culinary traditions, the latkes are made with Girl and Dug squashini, Yukon potato, onion and matzoh meal, and then griddled in clarified butter. The final flourish is a dollop of crème fraiche and Yangban trout roe or caviar ($38 with trout roe and $78 with caviar). This may be the meal to order with a glass of champagne or a fancy cocktail, bringing in the Year of the Rabbit with panache.

Yangban Society
Arts District
712 Santa Fe Ave.
Weekdays and Sunday: 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Friday and Saturday: 5:30 to 11:00 p.m.

LOCALE: Planning a Lunar New Years party at home and intimidated by all the food needed? A new mail order shop, Locale, has any number of options for Year of the Rabbit partying. Based in L.A., they offer Hong Pork and Shrimp Wonton from Cali Dumpling ($38) or 30 dumplings or 30 Chicken Potstickers ($38). Holy Basil lists Shrimp Fried Rice ($24) or Momofuku’s famous Spicy Soy Noodles ($14). The offerings are practically limitless, including those from San Francisco and Seattle. No need to drive all over town, go to shoplocale.com to see menus and order. Shipping is $5.


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