13 Dazzling Lunar New Year Gifts We Can’t Wait to Feast On
Bring or ship something extra special to any new year's table.
This year, Lunar New Year falls on Tuesday, February 1. However you’ve celebrated in the past, I’m willing to bet it was always a lively affair — games to be played, family members to catch up with, gorgeous costumes to wear while deep down, you’re waiting for the minute the final photo is taken so you can chuck them off and get to the heart of the event: The food! There’s nothing that brings loved ones together quite like the joy of almond cookies, tteok-guk, banh tet, hand-pulled noodles and the vast array of Lunar New Year foods.
Whenever we share and celebrate food together on this holiday, it’s as if we’re collectively fueling up for the year ahead. Monetary gifts provided are meaningful, and you’d be hard-pressed to find a kid or inner child turn down a red envelope of cash endowed by their elders. I should know, I was once that kid! But it’s food memories that enrich the heart and the belly for a lifetime.
Though festivities could look a bit different this year — less grandeur, and more loving (and lovingly snarky) remarks told over Zoom rather than over heaping platters — there’s no reason to skimp on eating well.
Whether you’re throwing a downsized dinner, looking to send the gift of prosperity to a family member living miles away or looking to bring good fortune unto yourself, we’ve rounded up gifts and limited-edition products to bring something special to your Lunar New Year celebration. Best of all, many of these goods have been thoughtfully crafted by notable AAPI-owned businesses.
Lady M Cake Boutique is responsible for simple yet elegant crepe cakes, made in a variety of delicate flavors. Even my uncle, who doesn’t consider himself a dessert person, harbors love for its iconic Green Tea Mille Crepe Cake. So for him and many others, I’ll be ordering the bakery’s opulent New Year bundle, complete with a Red Bean Mille Crepe Cake and gorgeously packaged candies.
Inspired by Chinese Lucky Candy, domi’s Lucky Candy buttercream cake will hit notes of nostalgia with something indulgent and eyecatching enough for a Lunar New Year feast. Available nationwide through Goldbelly, the vanilla layer cake features a ganache flavored with juicy strawberry, encasing a silky layer of vanilla buttercream. If you’re in the Los Angeles area, domi is also offering a 7" Lunar New Year Mousse Cake, an earl grey cake with red bean mousse which you can pick up at its brick-and-mortar shop.
If you’re looking to send high-quality food packages to your loved ones, Goldbelly is an excellent resource. In addition to speedy shipping, you’re able to pick and choose from savory and sweet fare from the best Asian restaurants, bakeries, and food makers throughout the U.S., plus you can procure some international gems without ever hopping on a plane. From Kee Wah Bakery in Hong Kong, ship your nainai a gift box of almond biscuits and tea cookies to provide her with the Proustian treats of Lunar New Years past.
Fulfill your cool auntie or uncle duties and get the kiddos in your social circle this sparkly eight-piece bento box of sweet bits and bobs from Sugarfina. Tangerine bears and lychee-scented gummy lotus flowers will make them feel rich.
How’s pantry cooking looking these days? If your answer is "boring," consider refreshing with some exciting condiments — like chili oil from Lucas Sin’s Junzi restaurant in New York City. Their chili oil gift set — visually stunning, curated in collaboration with The Metropolitan Museum of Art — will electrify your dishes and not to be vain, but each jar is just really nice to look at when you grab it from the cabinet. Truly, a feast for the senses. Preorder now.
Whether you’ve had a big dinner or need an afternoon pick-me-up that’s light yet satisfying enough to hold you over until a big dinner, consider a can of Halmi your much needed balm. Halmi is a new sparkling beverage company focused on highlighting Korean flavors with virtuous ingredients and as their first product, they've released a cinnamon, ginger, jujube, persimmon drink. Essentially, it’s a lightly carbonated digestion-wunderkind that tastes like Sujeongwa, a Korean punch drink traditionally consumed during holidays and through the colder months.
As always, when it comes to celebrating Asian culture, Fly By Jing does not play around. This Lunar New Year, they’ve teamed up with Los Angeles-based vegan ice cream makers Dear Bella Creamery to bring you the ultimate Taiwanese-American style celebration. Whoever said ice cream can’t be part of the Lunar New Year menu clearly hasn’t had plant-based scoops tasting exactly like dan dan mian (with swirls of chile crisp for full effect!), black sesame soup and pineapple cake. At the lucky price of $58.88, in this bundle you’ll also uncover a handful of traditional Chinese candies plus a generously sized jar of sweet red bean paste.
Black sesame tangyuan are sticky glutinous rice balls commonly made and served for Chinese New Year celebrations, and if you’ve ever wanted to seamlessly make them at home, look no further. Rooted Fare’s DIY Tangyuan Kit has everything you need to form plush little treats with ease, enjoyment and confidence. Not only does it come with pre-measured ingredients including mochiko flour and a full-sized jar of Crunchy Black Sesame Butter (enough to make 18-24 tangyuan pieces) but with the kit, you’ll also receive easy-to-follow instructions plus a link to a video tutorial in case you’re more of a visual learner. You and your crew of tangyuan makers will even get to uncover fun tidbits of Chinese culinary history along the way.
I’ll go ahead and say it: hanbok are itchy! Though I admire the colorful gowns of my Korean culture, I wouldn’t classify them as comfy loungewear. So nowadays, I build my Lunar New Year outfits around Mochi Kids’ annually-released tees, and I think you should too.
Go ahead, eat your food. Then, play with it! Specifically, Dumpling Mart’s dduk and mandu toy gift set. If there’s an enthusiastic little one in your life who might lack the fine motor skills to crimp a tray of mandu (let alone one piece!), this set can be a wonderful introduction to the perfectly pudgy morsels they’ll be slinging out a few moons into the future.