Saturday 4 February 2012

A study in lanterns and dumplings

The lantern festival marks the 15th and final day of the Chinese New Year holiday and every year the Asia New Zealand Foundation puts on the Auckland Lantern Festival: a lavish three day long extravaganza with glorious techni-coloured lantern displays filling Albert Park and street stalls of delicious asian food lining the length of Princes Street.

You really get the sense you're in some exotic bustling marketplace in South East Asia rather than the immaculately colonial Albert Park next to Auckland University.

Me and my girls from high school went last night on a beautiful if somewhat muggy Auckland evening and ate our weight in dumplings, noodles, donuts, and steamed buns.

{$4 for 6 pork dumplings. I kid you not. Make sure you get plenty of soy sauce and sweet chilli on these bad boys}

Festivities start in the early evening with musical and martial arts acts and carry on into the night.  There are stalls if you want to buy your own lanterns, get your name written in Chinese or get your fortune told.

And what asian fair would be complete without stalls selling animal shaped beanies (C refused to let me get an Angry Birds hat. I am still dark about that).

{happy year of the dragon}

The festival is on until Sunday, so you still have tonight and tomorrow night to get yourselves down to Albert Park to partake in some fun by lantern light.

Make sure you have an empty stomach, open mind and prepare to be bedazzled.

{the hoards descend on princes street & watching the lion dance}

{perfecting the art of street eating is a tricky business}

{only in new zealand...}

{lantern loveliness}

{heading home with full bellies and silk-covered LED-lit stars in our eyes}

For more information visit:


  1. Gorgeous! Those sheep lanterns cracked me up. We went down to Chinatown here on NYC for a part of te festivities. We watched dragons (from local Chinatown association) accompanied by musicians going door to door to "eat" offertings, collect money and then do a happy dance. It was so much fun.

  2. I ate my weight too. I love how you can order from a stall, eat and stroll and then order more when you're finished. One of my favourite ways of eating. I especially enjoyed the taro pearl milk tea. I couldn't get a good view of the lion dance but if they had a chinese lion hat there, that would have been my pick. I already have a panda hat at home. I wear it for warmth (not just for dress-up).

  3. Oh wow. I'm thinking that next CNY, I'm heading up to Akl. Nothing much happens here in Welly. Certainly not at that large a scale. If not for anything else, I'm going to be up there just for the food!! :)

  4. looks fun! particularly love the street eating pics. yes, it's definitely an art!

    Katie x

  5. Yes it is a great festival :-). FYI, the Auckland link that you have doesn't seem to work...


  6. Lora: Oh wow I'd love to see NYC around Chinese New must be a blast! Love how the dragons do a happy dance. Makes me feel better bout my happy dance.

    Genie: Hellow Genie! It's totes like a street buffet and we all know how dangerous buffets are. My inner fat kid went nuts. SO JEL of your panda hat! Not a bunny hat??

    Sugar and Spice: Aww gutted they don't have one in Welly! I know they do one in Chch. Methinks we should email the proper authorities and suss that out!!

    Katie: Street eating was defo messy delicous fun! x

    Alessandra: Thanks for the heads up for the link! I've fixed it now xox



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