It’s the Chinese cultural highlight of the year and, for many in Brussels, there’s only one place to mark the occasion. For the Chinese, 2019 is the Year of the Pig and Cite du Dragon, the most famous Chinese restaurant in Brussels, has lined up a real treat for those wanting to celebrate the occasion in style.
This landmark eatery on the outskirts of the city will mark the Chinese New Year on Friday 1 February and Saturday 2 February with a special buffet with Kung Fu displays, a Chinese lions dance and, to round it all off, a spectacular firework display. The buffet, with a large selection of classic and very tasty Asian dishes (including a wonderful suckling pig, huitres, foie gras and crevettes) is a real bargain at just €49 per person. This includes starter, mains and desert. For a small extra charge you can make the occasion even more memorable with a bottle of champagne.
Cite du Dragon is, of course, great to visit at any time of the year (not just the Chinese New Year) and is particularly noted for its famous Peking duck, a real gourmets’ delight and a favourite from the imperial cuisine under the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). Stories about the famous Peking duck go back even further, as far back as the Song Dynasty from 960-1279.
It owes its name to the colour of the duck’s skin, which reminds you of shiny varnished wood. Lightly crispy and caramel-coloured, the skin is considered as a delight and is served first with rice-flour crêpes, sticks of leeks and seafood sauce. Presented in a crunchy nest of noodles, the duck’ s meat is served second. You will finish the feast with a delicious soup made with the duck’s bones.
The restaurant in Uccle is huge but there’s expected to be massive demand among its army of customers so booking is required.The Chinese New Year 2019 or the Spring Festival (Lunar New Year) is celebrated every year according to the traditional Chinese Calendar.
In the Chinese astrology, each year is represented by an animal. 2019 is the Year of the Pig which is predicted to be a lucky year (the pig has also been celebrated in 1935, 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, and 2007). The pig has the last position in the zodiac, after the dog, and is said to be a representation of diligence, kindness, and generosity.
Cite du Dragon makes for a fitting place to celebrate this annual occasion. It is a real palace of Eastern gastronomy, in which the charms of a beautiful 1923 villa are enhanced by the magnificence and refinement of Asia.
Aside from its culinary splendours, it boasts a highly impressive aquatic garden, noted as among the most enchanting in Belgium. With impressive windows, original woodwork, wall paintings, rare antiquities, and an amazing aquarium which you can walk around, the restaurant effortlessly unites reminiscences of age-old imperial art with contemporary design.
The view of the garden is a fabulous voyage in itself: 3,000 square metres of luxuriant vegetation, concealed walkways and abundant fountains, and imposing marble statues dispersed between parasols and nature.
Over the years, its gastronomy has been strengthened by the owners’ quest for authenticity to which it remains devoted. As well as its original Cantonese cuisine, it has now added the expertise of a former head chef of the Chinese embassy. It many clients include business people and diplomats and, in addition to its traditional dishes, its chefs are able to meet the most demanding gourmets by designing personalised menus.
As well as the huge restaurant, it also comprises multipurpose rooms of various sizes which are able to accommodate various types events or groups (up to 250 persons) for a seminar, workshop, private lunch or prestigious dinner. The female owner first arrived in Belgium way back in 1969 and opened this restaurant in 1991 (her younger sister also runs a Chinese restaurant in Liege). It has grown steadily over the years to occupy the very impressive spot it now boasts in this very pleasant suburb of Brussels.
Eating at this place should really be reserved for a special occasion – like the Chinese New Year – but, in all honesty, when the food, service and surroundings, complete with oriental antiques and painted murals, are so genuinely delightful as they are here, the temptation is not to wait too long before your next visit.
In its magnificent and extravagant setting, the reputation of the now-legendary “Dragon” shines as brightly as ever.If you’re looking for somewhere special to see in the Year of the Pig this fantastic restaurant is the place to be – you really want to “hog” the food at its New Year buffet!
Good to know:
- La Cite Du Dragon
- Address: Chaussee de Waterloo 1022-1024, Uccle 1180
- Contact: 02 375 8080
Ten things you didn’t know about Chinese New Year:
- It is the longest Chinese holiday
- Chinese New Year is also known as the Spring Festival
- It is a day for praying to the gods
- The most fireworks in the world are set off in the world that night
- Children receive lucky money in red envelopes
- Chinese New Year deserts have special meanings.
- The Chinese decorate everything red for Chinese New Year
- Every year has a zodiac animal
- You grow one year older on the Spring Festival
- The New Year greeting in Chinese is “xin nian kuai le”