Lunar New Year — also known as Chinese New Year, Spring Festival, Tet Nguyen Dan, and Seollal — takes place next week on Sunday, January 22. This year is the Year of the Rabbit, symbolizing prosperity, longevity, and peace. Traditionally, Lunar New Year is marked by celebrations meant to usher in good fortune and luck, and this year in New Orleans, there is one new, particularly exciting celebration planned. NOLA Nite Market, the organizer of a hugely popular four-year-old nighttime festival, is hosting a two-day Lunar New Year food festival.
The Lunar New Year Nola Nite Market will take place at the Westwego Farmers Market the weekend following Lunar New Year: Friday, February 3, from 5 to 10 p.m. and Saturday, February 4, from noon to 10 p.m. The food-centric celebration will feature dozens of local vendors in the style of the annual NOLA Nite Market. Entry will be free, and vendors will keep all profits, a refreshing change from a number of local food festivals that have increased entrance fees in recent years.
NOLA Nite Market debuted in 2019, organized by Thuy Pham and modeled after bustling outdoor food markets found in countries like Thailand, Vietnam, Taiwan, South Korea, and Singapore. While it began as a way to primarily showcase local Asian fusion food pop-ups, its scope has broadened since then, though it has continued to highlight and help launch a number of talented local pop-ups over its four years. At the annual event last month, more than 20 vendors, among them favorites like Bao Mi, Wishing Town Bakery, Kusina, Mr. Bubbles Cafe, and LUFU, were accompanied by a lineup of performances by local bands, dance troupes, and entertainment for kids.