It's the Year of the Dog—The lunar New Year is on Sunday, Jan. 29, which marks the start of a new Chinese calendar year. Oh, yeah—dim sum city. Before you dive head-first into a pile a dan dan noodles, you can work up an appetite over at the Chinese Culture Center (427 Adams SE, 268-7023). They'll have their huge Chinese New Year celebration on Sunday from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. While you're there, stop by their astoundingly cheap Chinese-import gift shop for some "Dragon Pearl" green tea. More information about the center is available online at www.chineseculturecenter-
It's hard to believe, but Fremont's Fine Foods will celebrate its 88th year in business this Chinese New Year. "It's a big deal for Chinese people because the number eight is very lucky," says Aimee Tang, owner of the specialty foods store and lunch counter. "So you can imagine what turning 88 means to us." Capitalizing on that lucky number, the Tangs will celebrate Fremont's big 8-8 for eight months. Their first party will be on Feb. 13 (the full moon and traditional completion of New Year's celebrations). Look forward to Chinese finger foods, discounts on groceries and, of course, cake. "Because you can't have a birthday without cake!" Aimee reminds us. Fremont's is located in the Courtyard at Lomas and San Mateo. Call 792-DINE for more details.
Once you're good and famished, consult this week's Chowtown for a rundown on places that are serving special meals. If your favorite Chinese restaurant isn't listed, give them a call anyway. You never know. Of the places we searched, only two were offering a live entertainment component—Fu Yuang (3107 Eubank NE, 298-8989) and Mr. K's (5001 Central NE, 265-8859). Note that Fu Yuang will not accept reservations for the evening, so show up early and be prepared to wait.
And just one more thing—as a Chinese New Year's resolution, I hope, in my heart of hearts, that you'll swear off the P.F. Chains and other soulless fern bars. Nothing tastes better than real food made with love and pride. And, really—just because it's the Year of the Dog doesn't mean you should eat like one. So dine local! al ma