Wok-fried tiger prawn with lemongrass and chili at Hakkasan Restaurant in MGM Grand. Photo: Aaron Garcia

The Year of the Rooster: Feeling Gastronomically Lucky

The spring festival widely known as Chinese New Year is the grandest, most traditional celebration in China. People attach great importance to Spring Festival Eve, during which family members gather to enjoy dinner together. This meal is more luxurious than usual: Dishes such as chicken, fish and bean curd cannot be excluded, for in Chinese, their pronunciations (“ji”, “” and “dòufu”) mean “auspiciousness,” “abundance” and “richness,” respectively. Since food is the cornerstone of this celebration, shall we join in the festivities?

Aaron Garcia

Hakkasan’s dim sum platter.

Hakkasan Restaurant (in MGM Grand, hakkasan.com) welcomes the Year of the Rooster with a luxurious menu, available January 13–February 11. The celebration feast is a tale symbolized by dishes that represent fortune and prosperity. A traditional Chinese prosperity salad features roasted chicken, jellyfish and mooli (daikon). Small dishes include braised Chilean abalone with wind-dried oyster and gold leaf; and the Hakka steamed dim sum platter featuring har gau (shrimp dumpling), scallop shumai, Chinese chive dumpling and black pepper dumpling. Delight in main dishes of steamed Dover sole with pumpkin, shiitake mushroom and ham; braised abalone with fat choy (black moss, a Chinese delicacy) and dried oyster; braised Chinese vegetables in bean curd skin; and golden fried rice with salted egg. Conclude the feast with crunchy and chewy deep-fried sesame balls and an innovative dessert featuring ginger panna cotta, mandarin oranges and caramelized white chocolate. At the bar, the Waltzing Collins cocktail is decorated with a striking golden rooster and features Asian spirits such as baijiu and sake. The menu is priced at $128.

The Chinese New Year menu at China Poblano (in The Cosmopolitan, chinapoblano.com) includes some really interesting and inspirational dishes. Good Fortune and Potato, for example, combines sautéed dried oysters (representing “good things to come”) with mixed vegetables over creamy potato. Happy New Year is fat choy softened in Iberico stock, rolled inside cucumber slices and garnished with an Iberico chip and soy vinaigrette. And Bountiful Treasure stews sea cucumber with scallion, ginger and oyster chicken stock. According to Chinese folklore, sea cucumber (feng) is an edible monster that resembles a lump of meat which magically grows back as quickly as it’s consumed. It is considered a very lucky food. China Poblano’s menu will run the traditional 16-day celebration, from January 27 (Chinese New Year’s Eve) till February 11.

Aaron Garcia

Hakkasan’s braised abalone with fat choy and dried oyster

Normally only open for dinner, award-winning Chinese restaurant Wing Lei (in Wynn, wynnlasvegas.com) fetes the New Year with a dim sum brunch. Guests can indulge in and explore traditional Asian delicacies, as well as choose from a selection of dishes served tableside, while other offerings are presented on extravagant buffets and carving stations throughout the restaurant. Holiday brunch runs 11 a.m.–3 p.m. January 27 through February 5.

At Dragon Noodle Co. & Sushi Bar (in Monte Carlo, dragonnoodlelv.com), a meal to ring in the Year of the Rooster takes place only on January 28. Dragon Noodle Co. will offer a traditional three-course dining experience using authentic Chinese ingredients to wish guests luck and prosperity for the New Year. Dishes include Gong Hei Fat Choy (braised dried oyster and black moss with oyster sauce), Haha Smile (Manila clams with black bean sauce) and Buddha Delight (Napa cabbage, bean thread, black fungus, black moss, snow peas and Chinese mushrooms).

Are you feeling happy, lucky and prosperous yet? Kung hei fat choi! 

Marisa Finetti savors with all five senses. Read more at vegasseven.com/dishandtell or visit her blog, loveandrelish.com.