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Chinese New Year 2020: Where To Welcome The Year Of The Rat

Auspicious dishes, lion dances, and opulent feasts aplenty

January 25 marks the start of the Spring Festival, also called Chinese New Year. Are you surprised at how early it is in the year? I know I am. As always, the Lunar New Year celebrations are steeped in tradition — complete with lion and dragon dance performances, auspicious dishes, and family reuniting around tables spread with dishes designed to bring good luck and prosperity. If you haven't yet made plans for your Lunar New Year festivities, here's a list of the best places to welcome the Year of the Metal Rat. 



1. The Peninsula Manila 



The Pen is celebrating Lunar New Year with a traditional dragon dance show at 10:30 a.m on January 25. Afterwards, stay and partake of a three-course Chinese New Year lunch or dinner at the lobby for P2,388. Chinese Afternoon Tea will also be available between 2:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. for P1,700 (P2,300 to with a flute of champagne). Chinese Afternoon Tea will be available until February 10.


The Peninsula Manila, Makati Avenue corner Ayala Avenue, Makati City, (02) 8887-2888. For more information, visit The Peninsula Manila's website.



2. Conrad Manila 



Celebrate with a decadent selection of traditional gastronomic favorites, including the ceremonial Yee Sang toss at China Blue. Guests can also bring home an elegant box of Nian Gao Treasures, available in the following flavors: traditional Chinese, white almond, caramel coconut red, and passion fruit,  P1,888 for a box of eight, available until January 26.


Conrad Manila, Seaside Boulevard, Corner Mall of Asia Complex, Pasay City, (02) 8683-3990. For more information, visit Conrad Manila's website.



3. Sofitel Manila 




Sofitel Manila welcomes the Lunar New Year in grand style. At Spiral, the buffet will showcase the cuisines of Peking, Szechuan, Guangzhou, and Shanghai on a weekly rotation from January 16 to February 10, when such specialties as Tea-Smoked Duck, Wok-Fried Mini Lobsters, and Peking Roast Goose will be available. 


Spiral 2 Go makes traditionally auspicious Chinese dishes  available for takeaway, including Roasted Duck Quarter, Seafood Laksa Soup, and assorted dim sum. Spiral’s January 24 rates are set at P2,850 for lunch and P3,888 for dinner. On January 25, lunch is P3,588 and dinner is set at P3,888.


For a most opulent celebration, the Lauriat package is a luxurious eight to ten courses for a minimum of 50 people, and can be held at one of the hotel’s elegant venue spaces. Rates start at P161,890.


CCP Complex, Roxas Boulevard, Pasay City, (02) 8573-5555. For more information, visit Sofitel Manila's website.



4. Diamond Hotel




The merriment begins with a Live Dim Sum Making and Noodle Pulling Demonstration, alternately held from January 20 to 26, where chefs will showcase their mesmerizing dim sum designs and specialized noodle pulling techniques. If that whets your appetite, indulge in the vast selection of authentic Chinese specialties created by Chef Yang Yong at Corniche, available from January 23 to 26, at P3,180. A minimum spend of P5,000 at the buffet will entitle you to Pick-a-Prize at the hotel’s Prosperity Tree for a chance to win gift certificates and other premium items. The chef can also create a Chinese Lauriat ideal for your family gathering. 


On January 25, witness an energetic Dragon and Lion Dance at 11:00 a.m. by the Philippine Ling Nam Athletic Federation, while the Kim Hwa Ensemble will play instrumental music at the lobby. There will be free 10-minute feng shui consultations with expert Angel Macalino for a minimum spend of P5,000 at the Corniche lunch buffet. There are so many fun activities that you might want to take advantage of the Chinese New Year Staycation Package which offers a Deluxe Room at the starting rate of P5,000 per night, from January 20 to 26, including buffet breakfast for two, and massage and reflexology services. 


Roxas Boulevard corner Dr. J. Quintos Street, Manila. (02) 8528-3000 extension 1121, email restaurant_rsvn@diamondhotel.com. For more information, visit [link]. 



5. Shangri-La at the Fort




Start the Year of the Rat on the right note with a Lion Dance performance at the Lobby on January 25, followed by a family feast at Canton Road on Level 3. Chinese executive chef Wang Wei Qing curates a series of limited-time offer set menus good for ten. You can start the indulgent feast with the traditional Salmon Yee Sang then savor such oriental favorites as Ming Dynasty Peking Duck and Stone-fired Suckling Pig. 


A more distinct gastronomical celebration is on offer at nearby Ministry of Crab on January 25, where a family-style set menu for four will highlight the best of Philippine seafood and vibrant Sri Lankan flavors, at P3,500 per person. 


For more information, visit Shangri-La at the Fort's website or email slfm@shangri-la.com. Follow Shangri-La at the Fort (@shangrilafort) on Facebook and Instagram.



6. Hilton Manila 




On January 25, usher in the arrival of the Metal Rat with a cultural lion and dragon dance performance, followed by authentic  Shanghainese fare at highly acclaimed restaurant, Hua Yuan Brasserie Chinoiserie. Resident chef Kevin Xu has masterfully prepared an abundant selection of sumptuous set menus including his signature creations such as Szechuan-style chicken, double-boiled black chicken with ginseng soup, braised noodles with buttered lobster, or wok-fried Australian scallops with yellow chives and mixed mushrooms. Set menus are good for a minimum of six to ten persons, and are available until January 31. Set menu prices start at P15,888. 



7. City of Dreams Manila 




Cantonese cuisine with its symbolisms of harmony, good luck and abundance is highlighted at Crystal Dragon’s Chinese New Year ala carte and set menus, available for lunch and dinner until January 31. Diners can toss to a prosperous Lunar New Year with a bountiful serving of Prosperity Abalone Yu Sheng, a lavish salad of abalone, chopped peanuts, deep-fried flour crisps, shredded radish and ginger, finished wth plum sauce. Crystal Dragon has crafted two set menus: a seven-course Happiness Menu and the eight-course Magnificent Menu, both of which start with the Prosperity Abalone Yu Sheng and cater to four to six persons.


At Nobu Manila, celebratory dishes are infused with Japanese-Peruvian flavors iconic to this globally-renowned restaurant, with such offerings as the Sushi and Sashimi Platter of fresh salmon, tuna, white fish, ebi, toro, wagyu, ikura, uni and oyster; Lapu-Lapu served new-style in black bean sauce; and the Kobe Platter with its medley of gyoza, tacos, sliders and croquettes. Nobu Manila’s Chinese New Year offerings are available for the whole month of January at dinner, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., on Monday to Thursday, and until 9 p.m. on Friday to Sunday.


The God of Fortune mascot will make an appearance on January 25 at the main gaming area, and a Year of the Rat-themed pagoda adorned with gold coins and inglots will be set up at the hotel’s integrated main entrance for Instagram-worthy moments. 


For more information, please call (02) 8800-8080, email guestservices@cod-manila.com or visit City of Dreams Manila's website.



8. Marco Polo Ortigas



To officially usher in the Year of the Metal Rat, a special blessing ceremony will be held at the Ground Floor Lobby at 11 a.m. on January 25, led by Master Hanz Cua, followed by a traditional lion and dragon dance. 


A grand feast awaits at the award-winning Cantonese restaurant, Lung Hin, where executive chef Ken Leung has prepared special set menus for parties of five to ten persons. The Good Wealth set menu features Lung Hin’s signature Sautéed Tiger Prawns with Homemade Chili Sauce, Steamed Fresh Garoupa with superior soy sauce, and Crispy Roasted Baby Duck. The Good Fortune set menu includes Baked Slipper Lobster in Supreme Stock, Braised South African Abalone with Japanese Oysters and Vegetables, and Signature Salt-Baked Chicken.


Meralco Avenue and Sapphire Road, Ortigas Center, Pasig City. For more information, contact (02) 7720-7720, restaurant.mnl@marcopolohotels.com or visit Marco Polo Ortigas's website.