Eat Like an Ox

CNY dinner is the Chinese version of Dine Out—the tables are packed, and things can get harried. Generally there are two seatings per evening—reserve the second if you want to dawdle. Cantonese restaurants are the big guns of CNY dinners, with a wide variety of set menus and various price points. Diner beware: sharks’ fin soup makes its way on many of these menus, and items such as dried oysters and sea cucumber aren’t to everyone’s liking. Another tip: call ahead to enquire if you can order off the regular menu.

Kirin Seafood Restaurant

Swanky seafood is inevitably part of a Cantonese CNY dinner. Kirin’s auspiciously named “Gold and Silver” lobster—deep fried with a tingly spicy salty coating—is one of the best.
102–1166 Alberni St., 604-682-8833; 2nd Floor, City Square, 555 W. 12th Ave., 604-879-8038; Second floor, Three West Centre, 7900 Westminster Hwy, Richmond, 604-303-8833; Starlight Casino, 350 Gifford St., New Westminister, 604-528-8833; 1163 Pinetree Way, Coquitlam, 604-944-8833;

Jade Seafood

Whole chickens, including the heads, are often served on CNY—they represent good beginnings and happy endings. Go for Jade Seafood’s smoked chicken, crispy skinned and succulent with just a hint of smoke.
8511 Alexandra Rd., Richmond, 604-249-0082

Koon Bo

Family friendly and down to earth, Koon Bo draws a boisterous crowd. The roasted duck is magnificent and the perfect starting point for Peking duck skin served with soft pancakes and duck meat lettuce wraps. Melt-in-your-mouth hot-smoked sable fish is tinged a lucky red.
5682 Fraser St., 604-323-1218

Alvin Garden

Celebrate the Year of the Ox with a dish of stirfried beef with pickled peppers—a rustic, searingly spicy start to CNY. Adventurous diners order pork heart braised in five-spice soy sauce—its got a tender meaty savoriness with no hint of offal flavours.
4850 Imperial St., Burnaby, 604-437-0828

Legendary Noodle House

If a multi-course meal is not your thing, skip right to the noodles—a key CNY dish representing happy longevity. Hand-pulled noodles with lamb is a dish right out of the neigbhourhood streets of Beijing. Round out the meal with housemade dumplings and crispy, chewy green-onion pancakes.
4191 Main St., 604-879-8758; 1074 Denman St., 604-669-8551