Lunar New Year with Kara

Sarah Law tells us what to eat & how to party

So it’s the year of the horse! But wait, what do we know about Chinese New Year? Not a lot; so we asked the recently CFDA-supported designer, Sarah Law of Kara, to show us the (delicious) ropes. She told us to meet her at Hong Kong Supermarket, one of the busiest markets in Chinatown, so we did. Taking care to not tread on countless of teeny-tiny grandmothers and overly-excited kids, Bailey and Sous followed Sarah as she darted down the aisles, schooling us in all things hot pot—a New Year tradition.

Hi Sarah! So nice to see you, whoa, that’s a lot of ox tongue over there.
Hi! Yes, whoa!

OK, let’s walk and talk: Describe your first food memory from Hong Kong:
I was around four-years-old, making chocolate chip cookies with my mom.

So not the most traditional dish, but delicious nonetheless. What about your favorite home-cooked meal?
Generally, anything my brother makes but I love his steamed fish to dumplings

What are the 5 things we need to know about or do for Chinese New Year?
1. Before the New Year, you must clean your house and get a haircut
2. On the day, you must wear new clothes—preferably red
3. Pace yourself: New Year festivities last 15 days and each day has a different significance
4. During this time you must visit friends and family—and behave in a positive manner!
5. And finally, gamble! The new year brings new luck.

When you’re feeling Hong Kong homesick, where do you go in New York?
Oriental Garden on Elizabeth Street. My family has been going there since the 70s.

And where’s the first place you eat when back in Hong Kong?
I grab Dim Sum at City Hall

What’s your favorite Chinese food to eat for:
Breakfast: Congee
Lunch or Dinner: Hainan chicken with rice
Candies: Cream plums
Sweets: Red bean cakes

Hold up. What’s in our basket right now?
So far we have some enoki mushrooms and some chanterelles, some beef, lobster balls, a bunch of spring onions, a few heads of Bok Choy, Shirataki noodles, some chili sauce, a soup base sauce called Hon Tsuyu (they’re already sold out of my usual soup base!)—I think we’re good to go.

Oh and we should get eight oranges for good luck! The best part about hot pot is that you don’t need a recipe! I love using any/all of these ingredients:
– A large selection of mushrooms, tofu, taro, and greens
– Shrimp and thinly sliced beef
– Handmade meatballs and dumplings
– A soup base, usually chicken broth but sometimes we add Szechuan style spice
– Mung bean noodles with the broth are eaten at the end of the meal
Once the soup is boiling on the stove top, toss in the ingredients and pull them out when they are cooked!

Sounds super easy and super delicious. Thanks Sarah, happy New Year!

Photography by Bailey Roberts