Happy belated Lunar New Year! For the first time, I went to the Chinese New Year Parade in Manhattan’s Chinatown. I’d been to Chinatown once or twice before but never for the Lunar New Year. And with it being the Year of the Ram beginning, I had to go. One’s Chinese zodiac year only comes around every 12 years, after all.
Luckily the weather actually agreed. I felt warm in the sunshine, despite the slush under my feet and the piles of snow on the sidewalks. Vendors sold firecrackers along the parade route, while business went along as usual for some. Fish markets laid out their catches openly and my friends joked I should have a raw fish or two while they pigged out on dumplings. We ooh’d and ahh’d over all the jade figurines and fans we wanted to buy. But… later! There was a parade to see!
Once the parade started, it was magnificent! Performers drummed and danced along the street, decked in colorful costumes. Floats all flaunting pictures and symbols of rams drifted by. There were even people dressed in adorable lamb onesies. Oh, and of course there were dragons, which were my favorite! Oddly enough, some of these floats were sponsored by the most random assortment of companies: Wells Fargo and Verizon among them. Even Senator Chuck Schumer was there.
Firecrackers went off all around us, sending glitter and confetti twirling into the sky (and tangling impossibly in our hair). People watched from the rooftops, and some on the fire escape even joined in filling the sky with more confetti (and… our hair). A child on the shoulders of their parent reached out to catch the confetti in his tiny hands.
We went exploring for dumplings and food after a while. But since my friend’s family owns a Chinese restaurant, we didn’t consider it too big of a sacrilege when we settled on a Japanese barbecue place!
I’ve never been to Gyu-Kaku before, but there are several in the city. You order some meats or veggies (all veggies, in my case), and they marinade them in different soy sauces. You then get to have the fun of grilling them right in the center of your table, like your own little hibachi. Chef hats not included.
As someone with celiac, I always worry about cross-contamination and getting ‘glutened’ but there’s a fresh grill on the table for each use. And I just grilled my veggies before my friends had their food. So yummy! Will definitely need to go back.
So. My celebration of the Lunar New Year is complete. I hope this year of the Ram is a fantastic one! My next related bucket list goal is to see Lunar New Year in an actual Asian country! Maybe by the next year of the Ram?