Chinese New Year brings a flamboyant dash of additional colour to Dubai’s streets. We ride with dragons, raise chopsticks high and dance to the drummer’s frantic beat.
And eat so much amazing dim sum. Starting this weekend and continuing all next week, there is a lot going on in Dubai for Chinese New Year. The focus of events will be Peking (sorry couldn’t resist) on 5th February, the official start of the year. If you’re Chinese, or simply celebrating in solidarity with, allow us to be one of the first to wish you ‘Gung Hay Fat Choy!’ (Happy New Year).
Caesars Palace Bluewaters Dubai
What better way to spend Chinese New Year than in a restaurant decked out with lanterns, savouring a six-course menu that includes seafood dumplings, Cantonese seabass and a lot more. Afterwards, create a lucky pot of gold with chocolate coins. Find it all at Zhen Wei in the new Caesars Palace Bluewaters Dubai.
Noon-3.30pm and 6pm-10.30pm. Until 9th February. AED 350 per person for a six-course set menu, soft beverages and mocktails. Caesars Palace Bluewaters Dubai. 04 556 6666.
Mall of the Emirates
Mall of the Emirates poises to become a ‘great mall of China’ for a brief period. A full schedule of enthusiastic festivities for Chinese New Year greets visitors. The theatrical centrepiece will be a show entitled ‘I dreamed a dream,’ filled with dragon dances, lion costumes and feats of fantastical acrobatics.
The mall’s Luxury Wing will house culturally focused goings-on, with calligraphy workshops, rice painting and sessions of the popular Chinese tile game mahjong. There are also daily prizes and giveaways during the lunar celebrations.
‘I Dreamed a dream’ – 5pm, 6.15pm, 7.45pm and 9.45pm daily until 13th February. Mall of the Emirates, Al Barsha. 04 409 9000.
Shanghai Chic, Mövenpick Hotel Ibn Battuta
Food is an essential part of Chinese New Year and at Shanghai Chic, you’ll find a lot of it. Eat as much as you like from a revamped menu of 15 dishes. With favourites like Peking duck pancakes and wasabi prawns with mango salsa and watermelon alongside new flavours, like crispy beef tenderloin with Cantonese sweet vinaigrette. Be there on Tuesday (5th February) for the menu launch and see a traditional lion dance.
6.30pm-11.30pm, from 5th February. AED 240 per person for food. Mövenpick Hotel Ibn Battuta Gate Dubai, next to Ibn Battuta Mall. 04 444 5613.
Al Ghurair Centre
Usher in the Lunar New Year at the Al Ghurair Centre by playing chopstick games, trying on a traditional costume and watching fan, umbrella and dragon dances. Head to Central Atrium on the ground floor and join in the fun for free, from 4pm-10pm weekdays and 4pm-midnight weekends.
Until 9th February. Al Ghurair Centre, Al Rigga Road. Open 10am-10pm (midnight Thursday, Friday, Saturday). www.alghuraircentre.com
The Dubai Mall
Ancient Chinese crafts come to life at The Dubai Mall with finger palm painting, egg carving, umbrella art, knot tying, fan painting and wood carving pen demonstrations. With a AED 150 minimum spend at any store in the vast mall, you can take home a piece of customised art. Watch out for parades, puppet shows and acrobatics too, as flexible performers celebrate China’s most important holiday.
Until 10th February, The Dubai Mall. Activities are free and take place between 10am-11pm. Entertainment starts from late afternoon. 800 38224 6255.
The Noodle House
Say ‘Gung Hay Fat Choy‘ at The Noodle House to three limited-edition dishes created specially to usher in the new year. Sweet steamed lotus buns (AED 36), ingot-shaped chicken wontons (AED 38) and fried tangerine beef (AED 66) are each steeped in significance, representing togetherness, wealth and good luck in Chinese culture. They’re also pretty tasty, and as the homegrown chain has banned single-use straws, dining there is good for the planet too.
Until 28th February. The Noodle House. Find one near you at www.thenoodlehouse.com
JBR’s themed street carnival takes on an Eastern theme, with dragon dancers, puppets and eye-catching LED lion installations celebrating the ancient Chinese art of ‘Bian Lian’ or face changing. The festival of art, music and family fun at the waterfront strip of Jumeirah Beach Residences continues until March and entry is always free
Free entry. 7th-9th February. 6pm-10pm Thursday and 4pm-10pm on Friday and Saturday. Entry is free. Keep an eye on what’s coming up at www.instagram.com/jbr_official/
Dubai Parks and Resorts
When Dubai Parks and Resorts celebrates an occasion, it goes full method. The weeklong Chinese New Year celebrations are a perfect example. Motiongate has parades featuring our favourite Kung-Fu literate panda, Master Po, and Legoland has a bunch of activities for the kiddos, including mural building and a wishing wall.
Until 9th February at Riverland, which is free to enter. Motiongate (until 13th) and Legoland (until 16th) have a range of packages available at www.dubaiparksandresorts.com.
Dubai Marina Mall
Swap sun-bathing for some-Beijing with a solid collection of Chinese-inspired cultural activities and entertainment at Dubai Marina Mall this week. Find beautiful Chinese calligraphy being created live, the sweet Eastern art of molten sugar painting, and a cool collection of arts and crafts for the heirs to your own dynasty. Kiddos can get stuck into making necklaces, blossom trees, greetings cards and play with traditional Chinese toys.
Free. Until February 9th, 2pm-9.30pm. Dubai Marina Mall, Dubai Marina. 04 436 1020.