One of these years, I'll make it up to Richmond, BC to celebrate Chinese New Year. This year's 2012 Lunar New Year is the Year of the Water Dragon. With Richmond boasting a population that's 65% Asian, and having the largest proportion of Canadian residents of Chinese ancestry (44%), it's the natural place to be. The winter celebrations run January 23 to February 6, and range from fabulous food to participating in prayer ceremonies at a Buddhist temple. Here are just a few of the activities:
Asian Cuisine: Richmond is on the food map for its quantity and quality of Asian restaurants. New Year dishes were served at many of the city's 375 restaurants on New Year's Eve, offering multi-course menus featuring up to a dozen courses. The feasts will also be available at many of the restaurants during the two-week celebration. Many of the restaurants are located on Alexandra Road, also known as Wai Sek Kai or Food Street, which features 200+ Asian eateries serving everything from xiao long bao (soup dumplings) to hot pot and hand pulled noodles.
Asian Shopping: Although a year-round activity at the Golden Village, shopping at the three large Hong-Kong inspired malls is extra special during the Lunar New Year. With shops featuring the latest in art, fashion and household goods direct from Taiwan and China, they're decked out in red and gold streamers, tasseled lanterns and peach blossom trees. Parker Place is featuring a Dragon Dancer and Fortune God who will stop by all the shops on Jan. 27, and on Jan. 29 there will be Lion Dancers and live performances in the mall's center court.
Temple Tradition: Richmond's International Buddhist Temple is modeled after Beijing's Forbidden City and is one of the largest Buddhist temples in North America. Through Jan. 29, the gilded temple is hosting its annual Chinese New Year Bazaar featuring elaborate flower arrangements, traditional snacks and foods and good-luck gift items.
Spend the Night - Shop and Eat! Several years ago, I spent a night in Richmond, allowing me plenty of time for shopping and dining. See my previous article in Examiner.com: Spend the night and dine and shop your way around this Asian community. A slideshow is included.Icy Delicious Eggs at Richmond's Delicious Cuisine. Photo by Sue Frause.