A taste of the Orient comes to Dublin on February 16th, when the 10th annual Dublin Chinese New Year Festival marks the beginning of the Year of the Dog. The two-week celebration of all things Chinese runs until March 4th, with events across all branches of the arts, as well as a packed programme of food-related events.
Asia Market, the food store on Drury Street in Dublin 2, has events running throughout the festival. The first of these, on New Year's day, February 16th, recreates the Chinese tradition of families gathering to make dumplings on this date. From 11am to 6pm there will be opportunities to learn how to make and wrap them, as well as sample many varieties, free of charge.
The market also hosts a free two-day food and drinks tasting event on February 17th and 18th, 10am to 5pm.
On Fridays, February 16th and 23rd, lunchtime culture talks will take place in the shop, with staff explaining the food traditions associated with the holiday. Tickets for the hour-long sessions, which run from 1pm-2pm and include lunch snacks, cost €15.
More extensive explorations of the market shelves, fridges and freezers take place on Thursdays, February 22nd and March 1st. You can sign up for a personalised tour of the shop, sample some Chinese tea and New Year snacks, as well as food and wine/sake tasting, between 6pm and 7pm. The €20 ticket price also includes a goodie bag.
You can take a Lazy Bike Tour of Chinese restaurants in Dublin city centre on Saturdays, February 17th and 24th (2pm-4pm), with the bike doing the work. Tickets for this exploration of regional influences and flavours costs €25.
On Saturday, March 3rd, you can sign up for Alice's Chinese Food Tour (noon-3.15pm) which will visit Duck restaurant on Fade Street and Good World on South Great George's Street. Hong Kong barbecue and street food will be sampled and there will be a chance to learn about the history and etiquette of a Cantonese dim sum lunch. This event also includes a tour of Asia Market and a goodie bag of food samples and costs €50.
Many Chinese restaurants across Dublin are offering special set menus throughout the festival, but Green Dragon Well in Killiney, Co Dublin, is taking things a step further and setting up a pop-up in Kildare Village outlet centre. Bite of China will open on Wednesday, February 7th, and will remain in situ for two months, open seven days a week.
The National Gallery hosts a Chinese tea ceremony on Thursday, February 22nd, from 6pm to 7.30pm (tickets, €5). The ritual and traditions of tea drinking will be explored and the event is being described as a “sensory exploration”.
Food won't be consumed but will be the central theme of a talk entitled From the Paddy Field to the Palate: Chinese Culinary Tradition Introduced, which takes place at the Synge Theatre in Trinity College on Thursday, February 22nd at 6.30pm.
The festival also includes film, music, dance, art and craft and comedy events. For the full programme and booking information, see dublinchinesenewyear.com.