Starting January 22, millions of people from China, Malaysia, Japan, and many more countries will celebrate the Lunar New Year — also known as Chinese New Year, Tet Nguyen Dan, and Seollal. In and around Seattle, festivities will ring in 2023 as the Year of the Rabbit (or Year of the Cat for Vietnamese celebrants) from the Chinatown-International District to Edmonds, with extravagant lion dances, red envelopes full of money, and of course, lucky Lunar New Year foods like long noodles and cakes intended to confer good fortune.
Beyond the food-focused events and specials listed below, Seattle has tons of phenomenal restaurants perfect for honoring Lunar New Year traditions whether or not they’re changing things up for the occasion. You’ll find recommendations for top Korean restaurants, Thai, Japanese, and more in the guide to Seattle’s Asian cuisines.
Know of a Lunar New Year special that should be added to this list? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This underrated Central District fishmonger and restaurant’s next take-home meal kit has Lunar New Year in mind, with entrees like steamed black cod with black bean sauce and desserts like mochi doughnuts. Preorder for pickup on January 17.
Tet in Seattle
On January 14 and 15, Seattle Center honors the Vietnamese Lunar New Year with performances of opera music, martial arts, an eating competition, a fashion show, and even a spelling bee. Look for local vendors like Vinason Pho and Cloud & Cream Cakery serving sweet and savory food from Vietnam and beyond.
Friends of Little Saigon
This organization is hosting a lion dance on January 14 and a Lunar New Year marketplace on January 15. Friends of Little Saigon also has suggestions for finding traditional Tet foods in its namesake section of the Chinatown-International District: Score banh chung, a savory cake stuffed with mung beans, glutinous rice, and pork belly and steamed in banana leaves, at Saigon Vietnam Deli and cha gio, or egg rolls, at Chu Minh Tofu.
Edmonds Lunar New Year
During the opening day of the Edmonds Winter Market on January 21, the city will welcome the Lunar New Year with a lion dance, kung fu, and a breakdance performance as well as more than 80 local vendors selling crafts, food, and more. January 20–22, you’ll find holiday food and drink specials at restaurateur Shubert Ho’s nearby restaurants — Salt & Iron, Shore Pine Coffee & Gelato, the Market (in Edmonds and Downtown Seattle), Fire & The Feast, and Bar Dojo — like traditional longevity noodles at Fire & the Feast and honey adobo rockfish at Bar Dojo. Kelnero Bar, Charcoal, Santa Fe, and Calypso Edmonds are also offering Lunar New Year specials.
And on January 19, you can catch a free screening of the classic kung fu movie Enter the Dragon at the Edmonds Theater; to dine like Bruce Lee, sit at his favorite table and order his favorite dish, beef in oyster sauce, at Seattle’s oldest Chinese restaurant, Tai Tung.
From January 21 to January 28, this Ballard brewery’s many Lunar New Year activities include giving out red envelopes (the company’s namesake) with discounts, releasing special beers brewed in collaboration with other Chinese American-owned breweries (Seattle’s Ladd & Lass Brewing and Highland Brewing in North Carolina), and hosting Panda Dim Sum food truck with its dumplings and steamed buns. There’s even a day dedicated to dogs, with grooming, pet portraits, and dog treats.
Excellent Capitol Hill restaurant Lark will serve oysters with XO sauce, hoisin beef tongue steamed buns, whole fried branzino with ginger-scallion black vinegar sauce, mochi cake with kumquat vanilla bean preserve and tangerine curd, and more festive food. Grab tickets online.
Chinatown-International District Lunar New Year Celebration
The CID’s annual celebration returns on February 4, centering around a main stage at Hing Hay Park but spreading throughout the area with live entertainment like lion and dragon dances, street vendors, and a food walk: Grab a map of participating shops and collect stamps from at least five of them to enter to win a basket of neighborhood gifts.
Lunar New Year Night Market
On February 11, the Seattle Night Market’s Lunar New Year event brings dozens of vendors, food trucks (like the Dailies bubble tea truck and Seoul Bowl, which makes Korean barbecue bowls), and a cocktail bar to Magnuson Hangar 30. You’ll also find entertainment like a lion dance, tarot card readings, DJs, and karaoke. This one’s for adults only; get tickets online.