Forgo the packed streets and nodding cats of Chinatown, immerse yourself in a wealth of celebrations of the Chinese New Year of the Monkey in and around Shoreditch. There's food - both eating and making, children's entertainment and culture experiences to be had. #chinesenewyear #chineseshoreditch
Shoreditch High Street
Saturday 13th February | 12pm-4pm
The second Saturday of February sees Shoreditch High Street transformed into an Eastern village fair from 12-4pm, with Chinese New Year a time to reunite over food and exchange gifts as symbols of blessings of luck, prosperity and happiness. There will be charity stalls for the latter and street vendors infusing the brisk air with steamy aromas, offering a taste of China with traditional delicacies and staple foods from the 8 cuisines of the region. The celebrations will also transport beautiful performances and customary craft activities from across the ocean to this part of London town, bestowing us with a little window into a world away.
www.shanghaidalston.co.uk | Everyday till 11pm | Call to book
Rough around the edges but raved about for its dim sum, Shanghai Dalston plates up sensational little pouches of mouth-watering flavours for East End taste buds. Occupying the listed premises of a former pie and mash shop on Kingsland High Street, this dining space is where east meets west in weird symphony or complete shambles – depending on your perspective. Roast duck and pork hangs in the window, as stained glass sheds tinted light on eel motif mirrors and oak booths, but regardless of your opinion on the interior, the food shouldn’t disappoint. Veg-lovers can devour the innovative likes of fresh pumpkin and chopped mushroom dumplings, crispy turnip puffs or yam croquettes while fish and meat eaters nibble on baked pork dim sum, deep fried crispy butterfly prawn or steamed scallop dumpling in spinach juice. This local eatery wouldn’t be complete without a bar and karaoke, but the best thing about it is that you can learn to make dim sum yourself at one of the restaurant's workshops – a pretty appetising way to celebrate the Chinese New Year we say.
Museum of Childhood
www.vam.ac.uk/chinese-new-year | Saturday 13th February | 11.30am - 4.30pm
Along with its 4 main galleries, the Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green runs free tours, trails, art activities and storytelling sessions year-round for young’uns aged 3-12. So on February 13th, kids can drop-in to celebrate the year of the monkey – an animal incidentally known in the Chinese Zodiac for its child-like playfulness, curiosity, mischievousness and cleverness. After the little folk have watched instrumental dance performances from the Far East, they can participate in lantern making, a Chinese opera mask craft class, costume designing and calligraphy workshops. If at the end there’s still leftover energy, they can of course roam around the Moving Toys Gallery, the Creativity Gallery, the Childhood Galleries and the Front Room Gallery before knuckle-walking their way home at the closing time of 5.45pm.
www.richmix.org.uk/whats-on | Saturday 13 February | 12pm - 4pm
Shoreditch’s favourite cultural house, Rich Mix, is gearing up for a Chinese New Year to remember. Hosted by the Chinese Association of Tower Hamlets, the inclusive event held in the main space is free and open to all to share in the zodiac calendar celebration of prosperity and good luck. With stirring cultural performances, eclectic market stalls, arts and crafts for children, as well as delicious food and drink, it's the perfect way to welcome the year of the monkey in style. Kung Hei Fat Choy (may you prosper)!
www.thedrunkenmonkey.london | Saturday 13 February | 7pm - 3am
Its convenient perch on the corner of Shoreditch High Street and Old Street isn’t the only reason the Drunken Monkey is one of most popular venues in Shoreditch; the magical blend of delectable dim sum, marvellous mixology and powerhouse parties makes this venue a top choice. This year they will be holding their annual Chinese New Year party which is bound to blow the roof off thanks to a special banquet menu with a complimentary ‘Year of the Monkey’ cocktail. There will also be a traditional Lion Dance at 10.30pm, followed by bass booming DJs to take you through the night.