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‘The Light of Dawn’
Chippendale's food and cultural precinct on Kensington Street is celebrating Chinese New Year and the Year of the Rooster with one big block party and all are welcome. An array of music and performances, activities and workshops, delicious food and rooster-inspired cocktails, will be served up.
For those not familiar with the area, Kensington Street can be found off Broadway, next to the living Central Park Mall and opposite the University of Technology. Once an industrial area, it has been redeveloped into a new downtown hip area boasting creative businesses, galleries, specialty retail shopping, cafes, restaurants and bars in and alongside historic terrace houses. With flavours of Asia, it makes the perfect spot for a Chinese New Year party.
The street-wide party titled 'The Light of Dawn' reflects the personality and traits of the rooster and will celebrate renewal, regeneration and prosperity in abundance. In partnership with Sydney's China Cultural Centre, the Sichuan Department of Culture, the Australian Chinese Performing Artists Association and the City of Sydney, Kensington Street will turn into a massive Chinese marketplace full of light, mesmerising sounds and scents.
Fascinating stalls of all manners provide intrigue with fortune telling adding mystique. Observe a master caricaturist at work, try your hand at shadow puppetry and take a fast-tracked Mahjong lesson. Make a lantern or learn paper folding and watch the art of calligraphy. Venture to China's underbelly with a curation of silent films or listen to your inner self as you practice tai chi.
Paper lantern installation by Jayanto Damanik Tan at Bar Chinois
Two stages, one at each end of this marketplace, provide a platform for music, performances and cooking demonstrations. Music-wise, there's catchy tunes from C-Pop and K-Pop whilst performances include Chinese dancers leaping and bounding gracefully and Pak Hok showing off their Kung Fu mastery. Discover the mysterious art of Face Changing performances and see Chef's Gallery demonstrating the craft of hand-pulling noodles.
Noodle-pulling with Chef's Gallery
Silent Sounds headsets bring contemporary Chinese house music to dance to and folkish and operatic tunes will trickle from balconies. A procession of traditional lion dancers will weave their way through the festival party to the beats of Teo-Chew drums.
Let the aromas entice your taste buds with a variety of tempting meals. Spice Alley has hawker-style dishes from 4 diners in a courtyard setting with glowing lanterns overhead. Here you can choose from Singaporean at Alex Lee Kitchen, Thai street food with Bang Luck, Cantonese from Hong Kong Diner and Malaysian spices at Old Jim Kee's. Upstairs at the Spice House, indulge in a lunar feast whilst admiring the Asian street art adorning the walls. Nearby is Japanese dining hall KYO-TO and Vietnamese fare from Mekong. New kid on the block, Holy Duck, is a Chinese street diner-cum-burger joint with duck at its core. A pop-up bar will serve Asian beers and beverages to quirst your thirst.
Merging east and west is Bar Chinois with its fusion cuisine consisting of iconic French food paired with Asian flavours as in their Sticky Pork Belly Baguette. The morphing of cafe and bar sees decks of cards on every table, evening jazz and a spirit of Bohemian Montmartre with the backdrop of a Chinese folding screen.
If you want something other than Asian food, try Bistrot Gavroche for classic French and their Red Rooster cocktail fusing Vodka, Vermouth and grapefruit bitters or the Old Clare boutique hotel offering 2 restaurants – Automata and Kensington Street Social – providing everything from seafood to grilled beef heart, with tasting menus. The latter will serve up The Rooster, a cocktail with heavy doses of Gin, lychee and ginger.
Bistrot Gavroche's Red Rooster cocktail
Dont' forget to leave room for dessert. Koi Dessert Bar, opened by 2015 Masterchef contestant Reynold Poernomo, brings classic cakes as well as signature creations. Kakawa Chocolates will offer up some unique edible Mahjong tiles and Sichuan Qiang Zhang will have you making your dessert and eating it too in a sugar painting workshop where you craft whimsical shapes out of heated sugar.
Sugar painting craft
Whilst the restaurants and diners are there permanently, this free massive block party takes place between 3-8pm on one day only, Saturday 4th February, so don't miss out celebrating the Year of the Rooster, its cocky spirit and the fun that comes with it.