The Chinese New Year starts next week, either on Jan. 21 or 22, depending on how you calculate (time zones, moon rises—it's too technical for me). In Albuquerque the Chinese Culture Center (427 Adams SE, near Washington and Zuni) will be celebrating with martial arts demonstrations, lion and dragon dances and fireworks on Jan. 24 from 1-3 p.m. There won't be food at the Culture Center, though, so you'll have to go out to eat before or after. Lucky for you a number of local restaurants are offering celebratory feasts.
At Amerasia (Lead and Cornell, 266-8400), chef/owner Mickie Sharp is serving a 10-course dinner this Friday and Saturday at 6:30 p.m. and this Sunday at 4:30 p.m. Next weekend there will be 6:30 p.m. seatings on Friday and Saturday as well. Sharp, who is American, learned to cook Chinese food when she married into a Chinese family as a young woman and now she says, “dim sum has my heart!” Her New Year's menu includes favorites from past celebrations and some more recent recipes. Expect tea-smoked chicken, yang chow jade soup (spinach makes it green) and a dish called monkey noodles. Noodles are traditional fare for this feast, Sharp says, because they represent good luck and a long life. As for the other courses? Be prepared to be surprised. Dinner costs $30 per person including tea or soda and tax but not tip. Because Amerasia only seats 40, Sharp requires that you make reservations and pay in advance. It always sells out.
Kai's Kung Fu Café (Harvard and Silver, 2666-8388) plans to offer two special dinner entrées from Jan. 22-24. For $12-$13 per person, diners will be treated to seafood soup, egg rolls, fried wontons and choices of salt and pepper shrimp, black mushrooms with beef and chicken, pineapple shrimp or sesame beef. Call for reservations and details.
In the Northeast Heights, the atypically elegant Chow's Chinese Bistro (Juan Tabo and Menaul, 298-3000) promises to offer a spate of spectacular specials Jan. 21-22. Details weren't available as of press time but you'll need to call for reservations anyway, so inquire as to details then.
And at the popular East Ocean (3601 Carlisle NE, 889-9315) you'll be able to order from a New Year's menu from Jan. 21-31. They'll also be serving the regular menu so you can combine your favorites and some party food too.
This is just a smattering of what's out there so if you have a favorite Chinese restaurant try calling and asking what they're doing for the holiday.