San Francisco restaurant celebrates Lunar New Year with special takeout menu

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Businesses and families are finding new ways to celebrate holiday traditions during the coronavirus pandemic, but a restaurant in San Francisco has you covered for the Lunar New Year.

Palette Tea House, located in Ghirardelli Square is serving up a "Chinese New Year Meal Set" to begin the Year of the Ox. According to Chinese culture, the ox symbolizes hard work and serenity.

The Lunar New Year is normally celebrated with family and friends, but this year it is encouraged to celebrate safely at home.

"This year we are focusing for a smaller celebration. We came up with all the sets before we know that outdoor dining would reopen so it is very elaborated," said Dennis Leung, General Manager of Palette Tea House.

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"As we go with the pandemic, we are not able to visit our friends and family and with the Chinese New Year tradition of seeing your friends. We hope to bring those dishes just to give us some comfort and we hope that people feel the same way."

The meal set will include traditional dishes that holds a symbolic meaning for good luck into the new year.

"Dumplings with their shape almost looks like a golden nugget that they (Chinese ancestors) used back in the days when there was no modern money. So they are always a symbol for prosperity," said Leung.

"Also, we did lobster noodles and with the long pieces of noodle that symbolize longevity and a long life as well. We also added a couple of dished with beef since it is the ox year. One of them is the 'Black Pepper Short Rib.' It is one of the most popular dishes in Hong Kong."

Palette Tea House collaborated with Chinatown's iconic Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory to create custom fortune cookies for the meal sets.

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Like many business, Palette Tea House has experienced hard times amid the ongoing pandemic, but has found the silver lining.

"In the Chinese saying, whenever there is a problem you have to look at it differently and it should be an opportunity," said Leung.

"Back then maybe because of our location a lot of people would think of us as a touristy spot. Now that there are less tourist, we find that more locals are discovering us and are turning into regular customers. When we first opened we have always been busy and we had so many people here working. We didn't get to know each other very well. Now because of the pandemic, we are a smaller team and we really get the family restaurant feeling back. Today, we are all working very hard preparing for Chinese New Year, but we are working together and everybody is happy. We are stronger than before, but when things go back to normal we will actually be better than before."

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The Chinese New Year Meal Sets are available February 14th -21st. Palette Tea House is open for outdoor dining.

For information, visit the Palette Tea House website here.
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