The Lunar New Year is today, and many places all over the city are hosting dinners and events to celebrate the occasion, making special dishes and treats. Welcome to the Year of the Ram/Goat/Sheep!
Fans of suckling pig will not want to miss this feast on Thursday, February 19th. Get a group of four or eight together, and you can enjoy a Chinatown roasted suckling pig served family-style, with sides like shrimp fried rice, garlic bok choy, and wok-tossed long beans. Check out the whole menu here; tickets are $58 per person. Reservations from 6pm to 10pm. 2205 Lombard (at Steiner), 415-655-3335
Rice Paper Scissors Lunar Night Market
This is going to be a tasty party: on Saturday February 21st, come to the Lunar Night Market, organized by the Rice Paper Scissors ladies at Brick & Mortar Music Hall. You’ll find bites from all kinds of vendors, from Seoul Patch to Bicycle Banh Mi (check out the menu for each vendor here), and you can get your heat on at the cash bar, with special Year of the Ram cocktails and Chinese whiskey. Tickets are $15 in advance or $20 at the door; you get a small bite from each vendor included in the cost of admission, and you can purchase a larger plate for $8 (cash only). And yes, vegetarian options are available. 5pm to 10pm. 1710 Mission (at Duboce), 415-878-6657
You have plenty of options to celebrate with here, with three different menus from which to choose. You can go for the Prosperity menu ($88 for two people, and a dumpling sampler is included) or the Wealth menu ($68 for two, which includes Peking duck). You can also try Grandma Wu’s Chinese New Year Family Dinner ($38 per person), an homage to the meals chef Tony Wu’s grandmother made for the holiday (but you have to get a group of six or more people together for that one). Book your table from today until Sunday, March 8. Westfield San Francisco Centre, 845 Market, 4th floor, 415-580-3001
At this chic downtown spot, you can pony up for an eight-course Cantonese menu for the new year ($138 per person), from now until Sunday, March 1. It includes a dim sum platter, spicy lamb lupin wrap, and abalone and dry scallop fried rice. If one of those dishes catches your eye, you can also order individual dishes, starting at $20. Be sure to take a look at the wishing tree (and write down one of your own). 1 Kearny (at Market), 415-829-8148
Butterfly’s chef Rob Lam always puts together a new year tasting menu that's packed with Dungeness crab, like uni and crab salad hand rolls, crab jook with a sous vide egg, crab brains chow mein (!), and more. The menu runs from now through the end of March, $75 (tax and tip not included). Pier 33, 415-864-8999
If you find yourself downtown, chef Sharon Nahm will have a special à la carte menu running from February 19 through March 7, featuring dishes like long life noodle, crab Rangoon, and whole crispy fish. Don’t miss the Chinese lion dancers on Saturday March 7th—the party begins at 8pm, and maybe you’ll even win special red envelopes (three will contain golden tickets for a complimentary dinner for two). 314 Sutter (at Grant), 415-693-0303
And just in case you don’t want to do a whole banquet meal, you can at least indulge in some of the Peking duck scones that this cute little cafe and dessert place makes each year, plus some other lunar new year–inspired treats (they make excellent ice creams). 327 Bay (at Powell), 415-399-9694
Marcia Gagliardi is the founder of the weekly tablehopper e-column; subscribe and get more food news and gossip at tablehopper.com. Follow her on Twitter: @tablehopper.