Celebrate the Year of the Monkey with our round-up of traditional and contemporary takes on Chinese New Year lunches, dim sum brunches and dinners
For an extravagant celebration; head to Hakkasan in Abu Dhabi or Dubai for a limited-edition menu created by the brand's international executive chef, Ho Chee Boon. The dishes – which purport to bring joy, luck and prosperity – include double boiled ginseng and chicken soup; dim sum; wok-fried lobster; and grilled Chilean sea bass. Guests will also get a celebratory signature mocktail called Sheng Fizz, made with mandarin, guava, peach, lemon, agave syrup and ginger ale.
• Available nightly until February 22; (February 8 is Chinese New Year). Dh488. For reservations, call 02 690 7999 (Abu Dhabi); 04 384 8484 (Dubai)
Meals at Zheng He's at Jumeirah Mina A'Salam in Dubai start off with a welcome drink, with guests invited to participate in a Chinese custom: tossing the prosperity yusheng – a traditional salad of salmon sashimi with pickled vegetables and plum dressing – to toast the new year. Try the stir-fried Scottish scallops; steamed cod fish fillet; roasted Chinese spiced chicken and Wagyu steak. End with traditional dessert nian gao, which is pan-fried Chinese glutinous rice cakes with egg.
• The set menu is available from February 7 to 24; Dh350. Chinese dancers will perform from February 8 to 13. For reservations, call 04 432 3232
Li Jiang at the Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi, Grand Canal, has a pan-Asian set menu plus live-cooking stations. Expect authentic Chinese dishes – fried king prawns with chilli bean sauce, beech mushrooms and vegetables; barbecue lamb fillet with onion and golden mushrooms; baked cod with ginger, deep-fried spinach and leeks; and truffle soup with crab, black and white fungus and baby corn.
• February 7 and 8 from 7pm to midnight. Dh300. For reservations, call 02 818 8282
The traditional dishes at Royal China Dubai in DIFC consist of top favourites: braised black moss with oyster dry mushrooms and lettuce; sticky rice dumplings in sweet red bean soup; stewed scallops with white gourd and more. A range of Chinese teas will also be available. On February 7 and February 8 diners will be given fortune cookies and small gifts.
• February 6 to 15; a la carte pricing. For reservations, call 04 354 5543
Urban Kitchen at Dusit Thani Abu Dhabi is putting on a one-night-only banquet – we love the dim sum, soba noodles, wok-fried chicken, sweet and sour fish, among other authentic Chinese dishes. There will also be a Peking duck carving station and a selection of seafood, including shrimp, squid, prawns and crab.
• February 8, from 7pm onward; Dh159. For reservations, call 02 698 8137
Gozo Garden in the Millennium Airport Hotel Dubai has a one-night-only special dinner on February 8. Guests can fill up on authentic Sichuan, Cantonese and Peking dishes spread across a celebratory Chinese New Year buffet. Bonus: Gozo Garden has a terrace for al fresco dining.
• February 8 from 7pm to 11.30pm; Dh195, includes select beverages. For reservations, call 04 702 8888.
Dai Pai Dong in the Rosewood Abu Dhabi (accessible through Galleria Mall on Al Maryah Island) has a set menu crammed with mouth-watering options: crispy duck salad; lobster rice roll; roasted duck with pancakes; double-boiled chicken soup; deep-fried sea bass; braised beef short ribs; and desserts such as Chinese New Year cake and rock candy soup with lotus seeds and white fungus. Must try: the dim sum brunch featuring trolleys that will roll through the dining room serving head chef He Jia's family recipes. Unlimited jasmine tea is included.
• The set menu is available today until February 14 from 6pm to 11pm; Dh195. The brunch is available February 5, 6, 12 and 13 from noon to 3pm; Dh195. For reservations, call 02 813 5552
Mövenpick Hotel Ibn Battuta Gate in Dubai will host celebrations in two of its restaurants. In Shanghai Chic, guests will get unlimited servings of a tasting menu that offers authentic dishes with a contemporary twist. Included are a welcome drink and yusheng, a traditional New Year dish of tossed raw fish salad (also called the prosperity toss). Or book the brunch at Al Bahou, where the dishes come from the hotel's five venues, all with an Asian twist. There's a dedicated dessert room as well as a kids' buffet, a movie theatre, face painting, a bouncy castle and more.
• Shanghai Chic, February 8 from 7pm to 11pm; Dh199 with soft drinks.
• Al Bahou Chinese New Year brunch, February 5 from 12.30pm to 4pm; Dh295 with soft drinks; Dh145 for kids from 7 to 12; free under age 6. For reservations, call 04 444 5613
The Park Rotana Abu Dhabi, is serving special menus in two restaurants. Teatro has an a la carte menu with options including Hakka-braised duck; five-spice crispy squid; and sweet-and-sour prawns. Or head to Ginger for a Chinese buffet featuring wok-fried beef with shiitake mushrooms; baby pak choi; and a Peking duck carving station.
• Teatro, February 8; a la carte pricing. Ginger, February 8; Dh170 with unlimited soft drinks. For reservations, call 02 657 3333
The Noodle House has a limited-edition menu showcasing classic Cantonese-style cuisine. Available for lunch and dinner, the new dishes include Cantonese crab and corn soup; char siu beef short ribs; kung pao noodles with roasted duck; and sea bass with honey and kumquat sauce.
• The Chinese New Year menu, with dishes ranging from Dh30-Dh65, will be available from February 8 to 21 for dine-in, home delivery or takeaway at all locations throughout Abu Dhabi and Dubai. Diners who choose a special menu item will receive a discount voucher for their next visit. www.thenoodlehouse.com