Where to Celebrate Lunar New Year In Houston 2023
More than 1.5 billion people around the world celebrate Lunar New Year, also known in different parts of Asia as Chinese New Year, Spring Festival, Tết Nguyên Đán and Seol-Nal. This year is the Year of the Rabbit, and the Year of the Cat in the Vietnamese zodiac, and it officially begins on Sunday, January 22. Families and friends will gather for colorful, time honored traditions and activities to usher in a new year and to wish loved ones a year full of luck and prosperity. We’ve put together a list of some local events where there will be plenty of food, lion dances and lucky red envelopes.
Weekend of January 14 and 15
Houston Public Library, 500 McKinney: Partnering with the Vietnamese Civic Center, the USA TAI CHI Academy and the Asia Society Texas, the HPL is celebrating the Year of the Rabbit, at the central library building downtown, with an event for the whole family. The celebration will include a vocal performance by a Chinese Opera singer, a special bilingual story time, a demo of Tai Chi (an ancient Chinese Martial Art) that will include Tai Chi Kung Fu Fan (a style that uses colorful fans). Foreign Policy food truck, which serves Korean, Greek, Mexican and American fusion food, will be onsite. The event takes place Saturday, January 14 from 11 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Registration is required and can be done on the website.
POST Houston, 401 Franklin: This year, this food hall and entertainment venue is holding Downtown Houston’s annual Lunar New Year Celebration. The event is for all ages and during the day will feature an pop-up Asian market. Vendors will offer traditional foods eaten during Lunar New Year and other Asian goods. There will be games, arts and crafts and other cultural activities. At night, the fun continues with a party in the atrium hosted by Washington Ho from the Houston based reality show, House of Ho. The event is on Sunday, January 15 from 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m.
Weekend of January 21 and 22
Chinese Community Center, 9800 Town Park: Join the CCC for its 20th year hosting its Lunar New Year Festival. This is a family-friendly outdoor event featuring a wide variety of cultural and family activities, vendors, Lunar New Year merchandise, food and performances. The festival is being held on Saturday, January 21, 2023 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. You can find the event and performance schedule on the website.
Discovery Green, 1500 McKinney: Downtown’s urban park is hosting a Lunar New Year celebration featuring performances by Dance of Asian America and more. There will be food vendors, crafts and activities for the whole family. The event is free and will be held on Sunday, January 22, 2023 from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. More information and performance schedules can be found on the website.
Kin Dee Thai Cuisine, 1533 N Shepherd : The authentic Thai eatery in the Heights, is hosting a lion dance performance by Lee’s Golden Dragon Lion & Dragon Dance Association, on Saturday, January 21st at 7:30 p.m. The performers will provide fun and entertainment for guests with costumes and music. Reservations are required and can be made by visiting the website.
Money Cat, 2925 Richmond : The newly opened restaurant from chef and owner Sherman Yeung is celebrating the new year with a lion dance performed by Celestial Dragon on Saturday, January 21 at 6:30 p.m. The regular menu of “New Japanese” and creative dishes will be available. Reservations are recommended and can be made on Resy.
Railway Heights, 8200 Washington: This market and food hall is holding a Lunar New Year Asian Night Market. There will be Asian street food, desserts, drinks, local retail pop-up shops, live music and lion dance performances. The market is free to attend and will be held on Saturday, January 21 from 12 p.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday, January 22 from 12 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Tobiuo Sushi & Bar, 23501 Cinco Ranch, Katy: The Cinco Ranch restaurant serving elevated sushi and craft cocktails is bringing in the new year with a lion dance performed by Celestial Dragon on Friday, January 20 at 6:30 p.m. The regular menu will be available. Reservations are recommended and can be made on the website.
Weekend of January 28 and 29
Asia Society Texas, 1370 Southmore: Houston’s Asian cultural center is welcoming the Year of the Rabbit with performances, art and craft activities and food inspired by Lunar New Year traditions across Asia. There will be lion dance performances and a limited quantity of red envelopes for children. The event being held on Saturday, January 28 from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., is free and open to the public. RSVPs are requested for planning purposes. Music and dance performances by Huaxing Arts Group Houston are ticketed events and can be purchased on the website.
Have a Nice Day, 4201 Main: The creative collective with a goal of celebrating BIPOC makers, creators and causes is holding their second annual Lunar New Year Celebration market. This year’s market will take place at The Ion, the collaborative space in Midtown’s former Sears building. The market will feature over 25 food and goods vendors, a dragon dance performance and a red envelope giveaway for the first 100 attendees. The event is free to attend and will be held on January 29 from 4 to 8 p.m.
The Phoenix on Westheimer, 1915 Westheimer: This neighborhood brew pub will host its 6th Annual Lunar New Year Festival and Fried Rice Cook-Off on Sunday, January 29 from 12:00 to 5:00 p.m. Competitors, both new and old (representing many ethnic backgrounds), will present their version of fried rice. The competition will be based on judges opinions, plus attendees will vote for a fan favorite. There will be a ping pong tournament, bounce house and other activities for all ages. Visit their Eventbrite page to purchase tasting tickets.
Viet Hoa Center, 8300 West Sam Houston Parkway: This shopping center in southwest Houston is holding its annual two-day Lunar New Year festival. There will be lion and dragon dances, live music, firecrackers and family-friendly activities. There will also be plenty of food vendors, including Ramen Tatsu-Ya, serving pork yakisoba, an exclusive dish that will only be available at the festival. The festival will be held January 28 and 29, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on both days. Visit their website for more information.
Chung Wang Chinese BBQ, 23119 Colonial Parkway: This popular Katy Chinese barbecue and noodle restaurant is offering a special item for the Lunar New Year. For $69.99, the Fortune Box is a four meats combo that comes with its signature Cantonese char siu (honey barbecue pork), crispy roast pork, spareribs and one item of your choice. We recommend calling the restaurant to order ahead at (281) 783-8383.
Katy Asian Town, 23119 Colonial Parkway, Katy: This massive Asian shopping and food center will have special events every weekend from January 21 until February 4. There will be dragon and lion dances and traditional Chinese craft activities such as making Lunar Festival lanterns, paper-cut art, Chinese knotting, embroidery, and flower arrangements. There will be gift giveaways throughout the three weeks. Go to their Facebook page for more details and to register for the crafts events.
Mala Sichuan, multiple locations: This acclaimed Sichuan bistro that serves up mouth-numbing dishes is celebrating the new year with red envelope giveaways. Starting on January 18th and running until supplies last, envelopes containing $1, $5, $10 and $100 in Mala Dollars will be available at all locations. They will also be hosting live dragon and lion dances at each of their locations:
Friday, January 20 at 6:00 p.m. – Sugar Land
Saturday, January 21 at 1:45 p.m. – Katy
Saturday, January 21 at 5:15 p.m. – Chinatown (Lion dance only)
Sunday, January 22 at 2:00 p.m. – Heights
Sunday, January 22 at 5:30 p.m. – Montrose
Phat Eatery, 23119 Colonial Pkwy: This Malaysian street food restaurant in Katy, helmed by James Beard Award-semifinalist and Houston Food Finder Perfect 10 Gala Guest chef, Alex Au-Yeung is offering a special five-course, family-style, tasting menu to welcome the Year of the Rabbit for $88 per person. Menu items will include Yu Sheng “Prosperity Toss,” house-smoked Scottish salmon, pickled carrot and cabbage, radish, sesame seed, plum sauce, cracker, sesame oil; the PHAT New Year Dim Sum Trio, with steamed lobster dumpling, caviar shrimp siu mai with DR Delicacy caviar; and XO Chinese carrot cake. Four seating dates and times are available: Sunday January 22 at 6 p.m. (Chinese New Year’s Day); Friday January 27 at 7 p.m.; Sat., January 28,at 11:30 a.m. or Sunday, January 29, at 11:30 a.m. Each seating time will also enjoy a Lion Dance performance by Lee Golden Dragon. Make prepaid reservations on the website.
Minh Truong is an avid lover of the Houston food scene and has written about it since 2011, starting as a freelance contributor for the Houston Press. She never stops exploring all that Houston has to offer.