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How to Celebrate Lunar New Year in San Diego

Usher in the 2022 Year of the Tiger with festivals, food specials, and more

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A festive red background with lunar new year decorations. Shutterstock

Tuesday, February 1 marks the start of another Lunar New Year. Observed by many East and Southeast Asian countries including China, Vietnam, Korea, Taiwan, and Singapore, it’s also known as Chinese New Year, Spring Festival, Tet Nguyen Dan, or Seol-Nal.

Lunar New Year festivities revolve around auspicious foods believed to bring good luck and is typically celebrated through family gatherings and lots of eating. Head out for an elaborate hot pot dinner, bring home barbecued meats for an at-home feast or grab a sweet treat, from a sweet boba drink to an Asian dessert. An’s Dry Cleaning on Adams Avenue is featuring special flavors for February created just for the Lunar New Year: there’s Qipao, a peanut brittle gelato, Tang Suit, a red bean and sesame gelato with candied sesame seeds, Hanfu, a pomelo sorbet with pomegranate jam, and Sedge Hat, a brown sugar and citrus zest gelato that incorporates pieces of fresh-baked fa gao, a steamed Chinese dessert also known as fortune cake.

Four cups of gelato
Lunar New Year-inspired gelato from An’s Dry Cleaning
Travis Bailey

Area casinos, including Harrah’s Resort Southern California and Pechanga Resort Casino will also be featuring lion dancers, entertainment, and Lunar New Year food specials throughout the month.

There are also several large-scale Lunar New Year events and festivals planned around San Diego to ring in the 2022 Year of the Tiger.

Though the Gaslamp Quarter’s annual Chinese New Year Fair has been postponed to 2023 due to the pandemic, the Little Saigon Foundation’s San Diego Lunar New Year Festival is back in City Heights this year. Held at the Officer Jeremy Henwood Park from January 28 through January 30, the free event will offer live performances, activities, and food vendors.

Running February 4 to February 6 at Mira Mesa Community Park, the San Diego Tet Festival will offer lion dances, fashion shows, dance battles, carnival rides, and Vietnamese food, and the House of China at the International Cottages in Balboa Park is hosting a Chinese New Year celebration with crafts, Chinese food, and more on February 19 and 20.

Note: Check with the event’s direct website before attending as some events may be canceled or postponed.