Feasting and family are at the heart of entrepreneur Alyce Tran’s Lunar New Year festivities. In partnership with The Star, we find out how she celebrates – lobster served in dry ice included.
We’ve partnered with Broadsheet on a content series that follows some of Australia’s well-known faces as they sit down for a meal at our signature dining restaurants and share their family traditions during Lunar New Year. The below article speaks with entrepreneur Alyce Tran over a meal at Sokyo, who shares why feasting and family are at the heart of her Lunar New Year festivities.
“Lunar New Year has got bigger and bigger every year,” says Sydney-based entrepreneur Alyce Tran, the founder of fashion-accessories brand The Daily Edited. Tran now runs In the Roundhouse, a tabletop homewares brand that she says “aims to jazz up people’s dining tables”.
Recognition of Lunar New Year celebrations in Australia has grown significantly in the last 30 years. As Tran points out, Lunar New Year – or Tet as its known in Vietnam, where Tran’s parents hailed from before emigrating to Australia in the ’80s – is celebrated by more than two billion worldwide.
“As a kid, it was kind of embarrassing that your parents had holidays outside of the traditional Christmas and New Year’s Day. I never really talked about it at school,” Tran says. “The day of Lunar New Year, we’d go around to my grandparents’ place and spend time with family.” Now that she’s an adult, Tran relishes Lunar New Year. “As I’ve grown older and more confident to embrace my culture, I’ve really enjoyed the extra holiday that I get to spend with my family,” she says. “We do Christmas and New Year’s, and we get this other thing, which is Lunar New Year.”
Receiving red packets – the tradition, much-loved among children, of giving young people “lucky money” on special occasions – is among Tran’s fondest childhood memories of Lunar New Year. It was also a time to honour the family’s forebears. Each year, says Tran, her mother sets up an offering of fruit and cakes to their ancestors, who are remembered through song and prayer.
In 2022 – the Year of the Tiger, according to the Chinese zodiac – Lunar New Year fell on February 1. Tran’s parents travelled to Sydney from their home in Adelaide to spend time with their daughter. “We had a small dinner at home and a more formal celebration at Sokyo at The Star Sydney on Saturday night.”
As well as a time for family, Lunar New Year is, of course, a time for feasting. While “there’s not a turkey moment like there is with Christmas”, the festival is typically observed with “celebration dishes like roast duck and whole fish”, says Tran. “Noodle toss dishes have become really popular,” she adds.
The crowning glory of Sokyo executive chef Chase Kojima’s Lunar New Year menu is the Opulent Sashimi Platter, a luxurious offering featuring Tasmanian lobster, caviar, toro (tuna belly), ocean trout, scampi, scallop, kingfish, snapper, caviar and sashimi. “It came out with dry ice and was very theatrical,” says Tran. “It was very decadent, covered in gold leaf and meant to spray you in good fortune – my parents really enjoyed that.”
This article is produced by Broadsheet in partnership with The Star. Limited edition Lunar New Year menu items at Sokyo, BLACK Bar & Grill and Flying Fish will be available to order at the respective venues from January 31 – February 15 for both lunch and dinner, during regular trading hours. Private dining rooms are also available for larger bookings.
You can find the original story here.