Evanston Chinese restaurants will host Lunar New Year celebrations this weekend


Jacob Fulton/The Daily Northwestern

Peppercorn’s Kitchen in downtown Evanston. The restaurant will be selling traditional Chinese New Year’s specials, with a special discount for reservations of six to eight people.

Gabrielle Rancifer, Reporter

Evanston residents can ring in the Lunar New Year this Saturday at several local Chinese restaurants, some of which are within a few blocks of each other.

Based on lunar cycles, the Chinese New Year, also known as the Lunar New Year, takes place on the first full moon of the lunar calendar. This year, the Lunar New Year will be on Jan. 25, and restaurants such as Peppercorns Kitchen, Koi Fine Asian Cuisine & Lounge and 527 Cafe have planned events for community members to join in the celebration.

Peppercorns Kitchen

Peppercorns Kitchen, a restaurant specializing in szechuan cuisine, plans to serve traditional dinner this weekend. The specials range from braised frog, pig and chicken feet, to mango tapioca, to home-style steamed beef and dumplings with shrimp and chicken.

As part of the celebration, the restaurant is also running a promotion for reservations of six to eight people. But a server at the restaurant said anyone interested in this discount will have to wait until 2021 because Peppercorns Kitchen is completely booked for the meal.

Koi Fine Asian Cuisine & Lounge

Peppercorns Kitchen’s neighbor, Koi, is also serving a special menu for the Lunar New Year, with each traditional dish representing different characteristics for good luck in the upcoming year. For instance, the spring rolls on the special menu signify wealth, seafood pan-fried noodles represent longevity, and the lychee chicken symbolizes prosperity and strong family relationships.

In addition to the food, Koi will host a Lunar New Year performance on Saturday. At 7:00 p.m., professionals will perform the lion dance, a traditional Chinese dance with music intended to bring luck and good fortune.

An assistant manager at the restaurant said although some staff celebrate the Lunar New Year with their families, they still have fun with the festivities at Koi. The kitchen staff also “gets creative” with the menu for the holiday, he said. Whether they see new or regular customers, the staff of Koi is accustomed to working on Saturdays and Sundays, and they look forward to celebrating with customers, the employee said.

527 Cafe

527 Cafe will also remain open on the Lunar New Year. They plan to serve traditional food, including desserts such as black sesame rice balls and sweet rice cakes.

Although appetizer-sized, special shrimp, pork, and chive dumplings will be available to order during the Lunar New Year. 527 Cafe also offers bubble tea. A cashier at the restaurant said red date and black sesame are two of the restaurant’s most popular flavors over the holiday.

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