(Second of two parts)

WE DON’T think there’s such a thing as too much luck, so collect good fortune and extra calories for this Lunar New Year by attending these events, all set around the city, the Lunar New Year, celebrating the Lunar New Year this weekend.

Conrad Manila, recently hailed as one of the Best Hotels in the World in the 2019 Conde Nast Traveler’s Readers’ Choice Awards, welcomes the auspicious Chinese New Year of the Metal Rat with a vibrant lion and dragon dance and ceremonial eye-dotting ceremony amid well-curated feasts and traditional Yee Sang Prosperity Toss at China Blue by Jereme Leung on Jan. 25.

This Saturday, the festivities begin at 11 a.m. at the hotel’s porte-cochere with the ceremonial eye-dotting of the lions and dragon followed by a performance which will make its way inside the hotel, the Main Lobby, restaurants, ballrooms, and offices.

At China Blue, Executive Chinese Chef Eng Yew Khor has prepared a selection of Chinese delicacies with highlights including: Golden roast US duck with BBQ sauce; Braised abalone, sea cucumber and money bag in superior carrot-prawn stock; and Steamed live sea lapu-lapu with pickled turnip, fried garlic coriander supreme soya sauce, among others. They are available a la carte or in a set menu for 10 persons or more with a set menu price starting at P33,988++.

Patrons are also invited to bring home a box of nian gao (tikoy) treasures, available in the following flavors: traditional Chinese, white almond, caramel coconut red bean, and passionfruit. Each nian gao treasure is presented in either koi fish or gold bar shapes to represent good fortune and success. Nian Gao Treasures are available in a box with eight pieces priced at P1,888 nett. For reservations and inquiries, call 8833-9999 or e-mail conradmanila@conradhotels.com.

The City of Dreams Manila is ringing in the Year of the Metal Rat with feasts of Chinese New Year specialties at its signature restaurants: Crystal Dragon and Nobu Manila. To mark the occassion, there will be a lights and sounds show daily at 6-10 p.m. at the Nobu Hotel garden, with hundreds of multi-colored tulip bulbs that dot the greenery dancing to Oriental music. The show will be held daily until Feb. 15.

At Crystal Dragon, Cantonese dishes that are symbols of harmony, good luck, and abundance are highlighted at its Chinese New Year à la carte and set menus, available for lunch and dinner until Jan. 31. Diners can toss a lucky salad — its Prosperity Abalone Yu Sheng — in hopes for a prosperous Lunar New Year. Yu Sheng, originating from a Cantonese phrase that means “tossing up good fortune,” or “Lo Hei” is a traditional Lunar New Year ceremony from Singapore, Malaysia, and China. Raw fish is customarily used in the salad to symbolize prosperity, wealth, happiness, and long life. During the prosperity toss, guests gather before the table, use their chopsticks to mix the ingredients together and then toss them up while saying out loud “Lo Hei!” and well-wishes to bring in good luck. To complete the feast, Crystal Dragon has crafted two set menus: the seven-course Happiness Menu (P3,080++) and the eight-course Magnificent Menu (P5,680++), both of which start with the Prosperity Abalone Yu Sheng and are meant for four to six persons. Meanwhile, Nobu Manila’s celebratory dishes are infused with the Japanese-Peruvian flavors iconic to this globally renowned restaurant of Chef Nobu Matsuhisa. Among these are: the sushi and sashimi platter (P3,500++); the Lapu-Lapu served new-style in black bean sauce (P4,000++); and the Kobe platter (P6,000++), which consists of gyoza, tacos, sliders, and croquettes. Nobu Manila’s Chinese New Year offerings are available for the whole month of January at dinner, 6-8 p.m., on Monday to Thursday and until 9 p.m. on Friday to Sunday.

On Lunar New Year’s Day Jan. 25, the God of Fortune mascot will be making appearances at the main gaming area on the ground floor and the upper ground level as well as The Shops at the Boulevard area at 4-8 p.m. to give out fortune tokens to lucky patrons. To cap off the celebration, guests can head on to the integrated resort’s main entrance for a photo with a display featuring a Year of the Rat-themed pagoda adorned with gold coins and ingots that signify wealth and prosperity.

On Jan. 25 and 26, shoppers at the nearby Ayala Malls Manila Bay are in for an auspicious treat as the City of Dreams Manila brings in music entertainment at 4-10 p.m. at the mall’s activity center, headlined by OPM artists Nyoy Volante and Jinky Vidal. The well-loved DreamPlay characters Po and Mei Mei from the popular DreamWorks animated movie Kung Fu Panda and City of Dreams’ in-house CenterPlay bands complete the entertainment lineup. Pastries and beverages, hotel gift certificates and discount vouchers, and DreamPlay merchandise will also be available. Photo booths and appearances by the God of Fortune mascot at 4 to 6:30 p.m. are expected to be crowd drawers. For inquiries, call 8800-8080 or e-mail guestservices@cod-manila.com or visit www.cityofdreamsmanila.com.

At Crimson Hotel in Filinvest City, guests can start their countdown to the Year of the Rat with a Chinese-inspired dinner feast at Café Eight. The meal includes Pickled black fungus, Shanghai smoked fish, Peking duck, Hainanese chicken, dim sum and desserts. The rate per person is P2,150 net inclusive of unlimited juices, sodas, local beers, and wines. The Feast for Prosperity Dinner Buffet promotion is available at Café Eight until Jan. 25, 6-10 p.m. daily.

As the red decorations and loud music from the lion and dragon dance attracts fortune, guests are invited to put on their luckiest outfit and head to Café Eight to complete the festivities. Ring in the Lunar New Year with a Sunday brunch on Jan. 26 with Tofu with century egg and pork floss, Buddha soup, xiao long bao, suckling pig, tikoy (nian gao), tangyuan, and more. There will be a lion and dragon dance, a kids’ activity area with their own kiddie buffet, and free calligraphy for the participants. The rate per person for the Taste of Luck Sunday Brunch at Café Eight is P2,100 net inclusive of unlimited juices, sodas, local beers and wines.

Get in the spirit of Chinese New Year with the Deck Bar’s auspicious Huat’s up? Pool Party on Jan. 24. Crimson will light up the guests’ Friday night with overflowing Engkanto craft beer and red cocktails, a live DJ, bar games, and snacks to give them a prosperous vibe. The rate per person is P799 net, with entrance fee and unlimited craft beer and red cocktails are included.

The Lobby Lounge’s Lunar New Year-themed afternoon tea set menu — with savory and sweet items such as duck spring roll, shrimp toast, buchi, oolong crème brulee, pork buns, and salted egg yolk cookies — is available until Jan. 31, from 3 to 5 p.m. For reservations, visit the official website at crimsonhotel.com/manila/ or call 8863-2222.

Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila welcomes the Lunar New Year with promotions that are ongoing until Feb. 10.

One can start with a Lunar New Year Lauriat with friends and family with a choice of venues and indulge in a lauriat with up to 10 courses. Package rates start at P161,890 nett for the first 50 persons.

Meanwhile, at buffet restaurant Spiral’s Chinese Atelier, enjoy Peking, Szechuan, Guangzhou, and Shanghai cuisines. Each cuisine is presented in a weekly rotation. Jan. 24 rates are set at P2,850 nett for lunch and P3,888 nett for dinner. On Chinese New Year, Jan. 25 rates are set at P3,588 nett for lunch and P3,888 nett for dinner.

Chinese dishes for prosperity are made available for takeaway including Roasted duck quarter, Seafood laksa soup, assorted dimsum, and Barbecue char siu pork asado.

Meanwhile, Sofitel’s Sunset Bar presents festive Chinese specials as part of the barbecue buffets on Jan. 24 and 25, available at P3,000 nett. For inquiries and reservations, call 8832-6988 or e-mail H6308-FB12@sofitel.com.

Starting the celebration is a series of Live Dimsum Making and Noodle Pulling Demonstrations, alternately held daily until Jan. 26.

From Jan. 23-26, guests can enjoy Chinese Chef Yang Yong’s vast selection of authentic Chinese specialties for P3,180 nett per person. For a minimum spend of P5,000 at the buffet, guests are entitled to Pick-a-Prize at the hotel’s Prosperity Tree for a chance to win gift certificates and other premium items.

On Jan. 25, the day that marks the Chinese New Year, there will be a dragon and lion dance at 11 p.m. by the Philippine Ling Nam Athletic Federation. To create an atmosphere for positive energy and clarity for the new year, the Kim Hwa Ensemble will also be playing Chinese instrumental music at the hotel lobby. Free 10-minute Feng Shui consultations with Angel Macalino are also available on this day for a minimum spend of P5,000 at the Corniche lunch buffet. Diners at Corniche will also be gifted with ang pao (red envelopes) containing vouchers for up to 40% off at the restaurants on their next visit.

There will be Chinese Lauriat set menus at Corniche, while those whose dimsum cravings can try the Weekend Dimsum Delights at Corniche featuring an extensive choice of steamed, baked, and fried dimsum for P999 nett per person every Saturday and Sunday at lunch. Buy dining vouchers at onlineshopping.diamondhotel.com. For reservations, call (632) 8528-3000 ext. 1121 or e-mail restaurant_rsvn@diamondhotel.com.

Discovery Primea’s Executive Chef Luis Chikiamco creates a culinary journey at Flame Restaurant to welcome the Year of the Metal Rat. The multi-course Oriental feast is exclusively available for dinner on Jan. 24 and 25 at P2,500++ per person.

The meal begins with a Kung Pao shrimp salad with mandarin oranges and cashew nuts, then proceeds to Pan-seared foie gras with ginger-rice soubise three-vinegar reduction, smoked duck breast, and soft egg sous vide. The third course is Lemongrass-steamed Chilean sea bass with XO risotto, Asian “gremolata” and scallions, followed with a Flame favorite, the Five Spice duck leg confit with take-out dan dan noodles, minced pork, sesame paste, peanuts, and bok choy. The meal ends with an Almond panna cotta with dragon fruit salad, sesame croquant, and lychee sorbet.

To book the Chinese New Year dinner at Flame, call +63 2 7955-8888 or e-mail primea.restaurants@discovery.com.ph.

In celebration of this auspicious time, Rustan’s East Café is offering to customers the opportunity to share their blessings through the gift of a Fortune koi fish tikoy set (P580/set) while diners can enjoy Chinese New Year Prosperity Salad at a limited run at the Rustan’s Makati, Shangri-La, and Gateway branches. For tikoy orders call East Café, Rustan’s Makati at 8812-0233, East Café, Rustan’s Shangri-La at 8633-4636 loc. 211, and East Café, Rustan’s Gateway at 8865-7700 loc. 747.

The festivities at the Lucky Chinatown mall begin with the Prosperity Fair at mall’s Atrium, where shoppers can find lucky charms, Chinese delicacies, and other unique novelty items until Jan. 23. For every P2,000 receipt for a purchase made from Jan. 15 to 26, guests can also get a Lucky Ang Pao containing instant rewards and prizes. Foodies can go on a food adventure at the Meisic Street Food Market for an array of Chinese cuisine, street food, and more until Feb. 2.

Those looking to attract luck while satisfying their tummies can visit any of Lucky Chinatown’s Chinese restaurants and feast on lucky dishes to welcome the New Year.

For good fortune and a prosperous 2020, guests can take part in the traditional Eight Lucky Rituals which includes astrological forecasts, fortune bamboo and laughing Buddhas, located at the Lucky Chinatown Walk.

The celebration’s highlight is the Grand Chinese New Year Countdown to 2020 on Jan. 24 with some of the country’s rising artists. The countdown begins at 7 p.m. at the Atrium with performances by Leanne & Naara and IV of Spades. The celebration continues at Lucky Chinatown Walk from 9 p.m. with live performances by Itchyworms and Ely Buendia, who will spearhead the countdown. At midnight, a fireworks display will light up the sky, followed by the traditional lion and dragon dance and an incense-lighting ritual.

On Chinese New Year Day, Jan. 25, from noon onwards at mall’s Atrium, children can get a chance to meet Pokémon such as Pickachu and Eevee. This will be followed by a special astrological forecast by Master Johnson Chua, where visitors can learn what is in store for them in the Year of the Metal Rat. There will also be performances and cultural presentations by Chinese schools and Chinese-Filipino organizations alongside a Chinese New Year Parade at 3 p.m. The day’s celebration will wrap up with a live performance by Callalily at 6 p.m.

To cap off the last day of Chinese New Year Celebrations at Lucky Chinatown on Jan. 26, the Philippine Lapine Club will have a Guinea Pigs Cavy Fashion Show at 11 a.m. and a live performance by Unique Salonga at 6 p.m.

For more information, parking details, and restaurant reservations, call the Lucky Chinatown Concierge at 7576-8139 or visit www.LuckyChinatownCNY2020.com.