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Where to Stock Up on a Lunar New Year Feast in Montreal

Restaurants across the city are cooking up the classics, from seafood-laden poon choi to radish cake and longevity noodles

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It’s another Lunar New Year overshadowed by the pandemic for those who celebrate Spring Festival and Tết, and while large gatherings are discouraged, diners of all persuasions can still enjoy special foods that mark the holiday’s festivities.

Traditional dishes focus on abundance at the beginning of the new year, as a predictor of the days to come. Many are based on homophones, especially in Cantonese: Sandy Mah, of Brossard’s Maison Sai Yan, tells Eater, “the word for chicken sounds like ‘good life’, the word for fish sounds like ‘bountiful,’ and the word for lobster sounds like ‘dragon laughter.’”

Typical Lunar New Year dishes include poon choi, a bounty of seafood and meats in a huge metal pot meant to be shared and revealed, layer by layer; rice, radish, and taro cakes — savoury, chewy dishes made with sticky rice intended to be pan-fried — plus long (longevity) noodles, braised meats, dumplings, barbecue, and sweets that will all bring the new year in with a roar.

For these specialties, most restaurants require pre-ordering; check first to avoid disappointment.

Gong Hei Fat Choy!

Restaurant dining rooms in Quebec are currently closed to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus. For updated information and regulations, please visit the official sites of the Quebec government and Montreal’s public health authority (Santé Montréal).

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

123 Dzo

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What 123Dzo has named Lucky Lunar Hotpot is also known as lẩu hải sản in Vietnamese: a mix of seafood (squid, shrimp, fish balls, fish filet, mussels, and beef slices), along with vegetables and vermicelli. This bounty gets dipped in a hot and sour broth to be shared by three to four people. Pick up at their Laval location.

Dobe & Andy

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In addition to a collaboration with Calem for a special Year of the Tiger-inspired ice cream, the Ku brothers are preparing a special multi-course meal to feed a (small) crowd, featuring Yi Mein longevity noodles; fun see, a special glass noodle dish; fat choi moss seaweed with shiitake mushrooms; oxtail stewed with daikon radish and carrots; a soy and white chicken platter, and roast pork. Available by pre-order from January 28 to February 1.

Restaurant Chinatown Kim Fung

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Chinatown’s Kim Fung is cooking up all the Lunar New Year classics, from poon choi to nian go (rice cake), lo bok go (radish cake), fat choi (seaweed moss) and special pork dishes. Give them a heads-up first to order. 

Restaurant Keung Kee

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Seafood specialties abound through the year at this Chinatown family restaurant, and remain prized throughout the holiday period. To get the full new year menu (including a special dried oyster and dried scallop dish), go directly to the restaurant to pre-order.

Restaurant District 4

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This Duluth street Vietnamese restaurant has put their Year of the Tiger kitchen energy into preparing special bánh tét sticky rice cakes wrapped in bamboo leaves. The salty bánh tét feature pork, mung beans, and salted egg yolk; sweet ones have bananas and mung beans in the centre and are served either steamed or pan-fried. District 4 is also preparing cải muối, soy-marinated carrots and daikon in soy sauce with garlic and chilli, to go along with the bánh tét. Pre-order is a must.

J'ai Feng

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Chef Anita Feng is inaugurating the first Lunar New Year at her Beaubien East épicerie with a Sichuan-inflected feast for two, mashing up her passion for spice with some nostalgic dishes from her childhood. The spread includes tiger (laohu) salad, radish cake, Yuxiang-style stuffed cabbage, mouthwatering (saliva) chicken, and two golden salted egg baozi. Pre-order essential, with pickup on January 29. 

Wok Cafe Kirkland

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Fans on the West Island eagerly anticipate the annual announcement of Wok Café’s savoury rice cakes, and this year is no different. There’s a special price for a combination pack of three: rice, radish, and taro. Order to reserve, bring ‘em home, slice them up, pan-fry, and enjoy.

Impérial Brossard

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They may have moved from Chinatown to Brossard, but the folks at Imperial are still committed to preserving Cantonese Lunar New Year traditions. This year they’re making rice, taro, and radish cake and have just rebooted their Hong Kong-style barbecue operation. Imperial’s version of the classic poon choi big pot is loaded with abalone, shrimp, shrimp balls, fish maw, soy sauce chicken, char siu, roast duck, roast pork, lotus root, turnip, tofu, shiitake, and broccoli; it’s enough to feed four to six. There’s free delivery depending on the destination. Pre-order is essential.

Maison Sai Yan

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One of Brossard’s go-to spots for traditional food, Maison Sai Yan is preparing an eight-delicacy hotpot to feed four to six. Their huge metal bowl comes filled with lotus root, fish maw, shiitake mushrooms, dried oyster, scallop, abalone, pork hock, and shrimp. They’ve also got fresh lobster and fish prepared Cantonese-style, plus their signature steamed chicken. Pre-order and don’t miss out. 

SHANGHAI FU CHUN

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This Shaughnessy Village newcomer is offering several Lunar New Year set menus, with a focus on Shanghai-style flavours. What’s included varies according to price: options include xiao long bao soup dumplings, beef or shrimp pot stickers, fried pork dumplings, pork chop, duck in sauce, and osmanthus and red bean soup, along with some Shanghainese eight treasure rice. Available for solo diners or small groups with one-hour advance notice.

Teochew Foodie

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Braised duck and goose form a big part of the Lunar New Year tradition in the southern Chinese city of Chaozhou, so it’s only fitting that Teochew Foodie features this specialty. While dumplings are more of a northern tradition for Lunar New Year, Teochew Foodie’s got you covered on this front, too, with their in-house range of wontons and frozen dim sum from Kim Fung in Chinatown. 

Dak Hing Barbecue

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Barbecue is a Lunar New Year must, and Dak Hing on Van Horne (along with Lam Kee in Chinatown) is one of the city’s go-to spots for duck, chicken, and pork barbecue. For a whole roast pig, be sure to call in advance. 

Deer Garden Signatures

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Deer Garden keeps the Hong Kong cha chaan teng café tradition alive in Brossard year-round; for Lunar New Year, their Poon Choi captures many of their specialties in a big pot. This version includes abalone, tiger prawns, poached chicken, roast duck, shiitake mushrooms, tofu skin, lotus root, braised pork knuckle, crispy pork skin, and daikon. Order in advance, along with some Hong Kong-style lemon tea for the full experience. 

123 Dzo

What 123Dzo has named Lucky Lunar Hotpot is also known as lẩu hải sản in Vietnamese: a mix of seafood (squid, shrimp, fish balls, fish filet, mussels, and beef slices), along with vegetables and vermicelli. This bounty gets dipped in a hot and sour broth to be shared by three to four people. Pick up at their Laval location.

Dobe & Andy

In addition to a collaboration with Calem for a special Year of the Tiger-inspired ice cream, the Ku brothers are preparing a special multi-course meal to feed a (small) crowd, featuring Yi Mein longevity noodles; fun see, a special glass noodle dish; fat choi moss seaweed with shiitake mushrooms; oxtail stewed with daikon radish and carrots; a soy and white chicken platter, and roast pork. Available by pre-order from January 28 to February 1.

Restaurant Chinatown Kim Fung

Chinatown’s Kim Fung is cooking up all the Lunar New Year classics, from poon choi to nian go (rice cake), lo bok go (radish cake), fat choi (seaweed moss) and special pork dishes. Give them a heads-up first to order. 

Restaurant Keung Kee

Seafood specialties abound through the year at this Chinatown family restaurant, and remain prized throughout the holiday period. To get the full new year menu (including a special dried oyster and dried scallop dish), go directly to the restaurant to pre-order.

Restaurant District 4

This Duluth street Vietnamese restaurant has put their Year of the Tiger kitchen energy into preparing special bánh tét sticky rice cakes wrapped in bamboo leaves. The salty bánh tét feature pork, mung beans, and salted egg yolk; sweet ones have bananas and mung beans in the centre and are served either steamed or pan-fried. District 4 is also preparing cải muối, soy-marinated carrots and daikon in soy sauce with garlic and chilli, to go along with the bánh tét. Pre-order is a must.

J'ai Feng

Chef Anita Feng is inaugurating the first Lunar New Year at her Beaubien East épicerie with a Sichuan-inflected feast for two, mashing up her passion for spice with some nostalgic dishes from her childhood. The spread includes tiger (laohu) salad, radish cake, Yuxiang-style stuffed cabbage, mouthwatering (saliva) chicken, and two golden salted egg baozi. Pre-order essential, with pickup on January 29. 

Wok Cafe Kirkland

Fans on the West Island eagerly anticipate the annual announcement of Wok Café’s savoury rice cakes, and this year is no different. There’s a special price for a combination pack of three: rice, radish, and taro. Order to reserve, bring ‘em home, slice them up, pan-fry, and enjoy.

Impérial Brossard

They may have moved from Chinatown to Brossard, but the folks at Imperial are still committed to preserving Cantonese Lunar New Year traditions. This year they’re making rice, taro, and radish cake and have just rebooted their Hong Kong-style barbecue operation. Imperial’s version of the classic poon choi big pot is loaded with abalone, shrimp, shrimp balls, fish maw, soy sauce chicken, char siu, roast duck, roast pork, lotus root, turnip, tofu, shiitake, and broccoli; it’s enough to feed four to six. There’s free delivery depending on the destination. Pre-order is essential.

Maison Sai Yan

One of Brossard’s go-to spots for traditional food, Maison Sai Yan is preparing an eight-delicacy hotpot to feed four to six. Their huge metal bowl comes filled with lotus root, fish maw, shiitake mushrooms, dried oyster, scallop, abalone, pork hock, and shrimp. They’ve also got fresh lobster and fish prepared Cantonese-style, plus their signature steamed chicken. Pre-order and don’t miss out. 

SHANGHAI FU CHUN

This Shaughnessy Village newcomer is offering several Lunar New Year set menus, with a focus on Shanghai-style flavours. What’s included varies according to price: options include xiao long bao soup dumplings, beef or shrimp pot stickers, fried pork dumplings, pork chop, duck in sauce, and osmanthus and red bean soup, along with some Shanghainese eight treasure rice. Available for solo diners or small groups with one-hour advance notice.

Teochew Foodie

Braised duck and goose form a big part of the Lunar New Year tradition in the southern Chinese city of Chaozhou, so it’s only fitting that Teochew Foodie features this specialty. While dumplings are more of a northern tradition for Lunar New Year, Teochew Foodie’s got you covered on this front, too, with their in-house range of wontons and frozen dim sum from Kim Fung in Chinatown. 

Dak Hing Barbecue

Barbecue is a Lunar New Year must, and Dak Hing on Van Horne (along with Lam Kee in Chinatown) is one of the city’s go-to spots for duck, chicken, and pork barbecue. For a whole roast pig, be sure to call in advance. 

Deer Garden Signatures

Deer Garden keeps the Hong Kong cha chaan teng café tradition alive in Brossard year-round; for Lunar New Year, their Poon Choi captures many of their specialties in a big pot. This version includes abalone, tiger prawns, poached chicken, roast duck, shiitake mushrooms, tofu skin, lotus root, braised pork knuckle, crispy pork skin, and daikon. Order in advance, along with some Hong Kong-style lemon tea for the full experience. 

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