Chinese food on New Year’s Eve

Chinese food on New Year’s Eve. For several years I’ve been intrigued by this practice. It’s certainly common around here but is it just a Lowell thing? Or is it a New England tradition? What are the origins of this tradition? Why do people do it? Where do you get your Chinese on December 31? Two years ago I posed these questions on a Facebook group called “You Know You’re From Lowell When . . .” and received more than 100 responses. Here they are with most of the names (and some potentially libelous comments) removed:

Couple of years ago, on the spur of the moment my family decided to order Chinese food for New Year’s Eve. Mistake. The wait was two or three hours, we were told at Wah Sang on Chelmsford St. People had put in orders days ahead. We tried a couple of other places and found similar back ups. Finally, we landed at a Chinese place at the shopping center off Plain Street. Waited 30 minutes. Took the food home. Not good.

As a kid, I would go to Cathay Garden on Lwl-Lawr Blvd with my family. I don’t remember getting take-out in those days. Also when younger a few times went to the upstairs Chinese restaurant on Merrimack Street, maybe called Chin Lee’s? During high school years in Dracut the Lo Kai was a favorite gathering place for the then-novelty Pu Pu Platter sampler of appetizers. Hong and Kong in Chelmsford was an occasional choice. Current preference is

Wah Sang on Chelmsford St.

Chens Kitchen on Mammoth Rd has the best Chinese food around

wah sang/ Chelmsford St

Gold Star, Oakland Sq.

Lo Kai Dracut, as a bus boy for the area’s finest waitresses..

Hong Kong is very good. But for really really good Chinese food, the Ocean Wok right after the Hampton Beach Bridge. They are awesome

Chopsticks express just over the line in Tewksbury.

When I was a kid my parents would get the new year order from the Hong Kong. I always assumed it was a Lowell thing until last eve. My best buddy Bill informed me he would meet up after he have his annual new year’s Chinese food. He and family are from Arlington.

Wu loo Ming in Billerica

Green Bamboo downtown in the Fairburn bldg Kearney sq…awesome food…not a place you want to eat atmosphere..but their food is awesome and FRESH

Jade East in the past. This year lobster and steamers. Happy New Year to you and your family Dick and tell Sr Happy Birthday too.

we are going to woo loon ming in Billerica

Jade East in Tewksbury ..has the best Chinese food..! Beef Mushroom Chow Yoke to die for…. subgum chowmein, and their teriyaki is delicious

For takeout I love Wah Sang !

Also Chinese on Christmas night. Nothing else is ever open!

We used to get it from the Cathay Garden on 110. I live in Salem Nh now and the China Star or Mei Hoo are the closest to it. They both make their rice not some light pink junk.

Better order take-out early as there won’t be much around later.

Jade East hasn’t been the same since it got sold.

Cathay Garden was good until it burned down. Now I like Lo Kai! They have the best Moo Goo Gai Pan around! they also make the best sub-gum fried rice with no color, no msg, and no meat! Wah Sang on ChelmsfordSt comes second.

Sum Young Thing is my favorite dish all year long. As long as it is willing and able so am I. Preferably a young Blonde.OOOOOOOOOOOOOOHHHHHHHHHH

I prefer Sum Young Guy, not thing, sorry Brian. LOL

Lin garden Great food..

Cathay wok on bridge st yummy!!!!

Always lo Kai. We lived behind it when we moved to Dracut

Did Chen’s on Mammoth Rd-

Used to be the Lo Ki; now its Pacos Taco Truck.

Gold Star!!!!

The old Cathay Garden was THE place to go for NYE!!!!

jade east back in the day.

china star is damn good

Grace Garden

the last 2 times I had the Lo Kai it was awful…never going back

Golden star, Yumm!

We’ve been having bad luck with the Lo Kai also…we place orders to go and I think they’re giving us food from their buffet…nothing tastes freshly cooked.

You’ll have to call them and complain! Hopefully they will fix the problem.

I agree. My husband and I said we would never god back. The service was HORRIBLE!!!

Last time I went to xxxxx to eat I saw a rat run across the floor..I haven’t been back since….and that was about 11 years ago. And management tried giving us our food for free…..nooooo thank you is all I said and left

They’re good protein you know! LOL

Thanks…but I’ll def pass on the protein…I haven’t eaten Chinese since

I just can’t bring myself into another Chinese restaurant

Nothing wrong with Chinese food. It’s the people that prepare it!

They’re not all bad, just because you had a bad experience in one!

There are rats and roaches in every restaurant they have a constant battle it’s the nature of the beast…

give Green Bamboo a try downtown..they deliver…

I had Chinese food from a Chinese food place on rt38 last night it was delicious and I had Chinese food today from a place called Nanking’s in Hudson nh that was good too

don’t go to Nan kings on a weekend night..can be pretty rowdy…one of my friends stopped going there because big guys would pick fights with him all the time

I make my own now just because of all the above

I make my own also now…its soooo easy….and cheaper especially with all the great Asian markets we have here

too many of them changing names, etc…..Lo Kai def went downhill for a long time–(makes my own-gave up eating Chinese food 10 yrs ago)

Where can we get the cubed pork they use in pork fried rice?

I use Roast Pork with Ah So sauce on it. Chop it up into cubes after cooked and add to the fried rice at the very end. I also use boneless pork chops the same way. Need the Ah -So sauce though.

Always went to Jade East on new years

In Tyngs. Lake East. I never tried theirs but have heard it was very good from one of my neighbors. Very clean place last visit was couple months ago we spent the new year in town this year

It’s not a Lowell thing at all.

No sir I agree whole heartedly for New Years I’d a ended up at Barney’s or even further back woulda been The Owl and I don’t mean the sisters either

Feng Shui in Chelmsford, best around..

Always got Chinese on New Years. I had forgotten that . Thanks for reminding me Happy New Year:)

There were plenty of days and nights I wished the wind was blowing in another direction.

Well Dick, I’ve got to hand it to you; you found a topic lots of people can relate to.

China Maxim

We go to China Maxim all the time! Great food and they give you tons!

Yes they do. I like that they keep the appetizer boxes open and overflow them….Unlike other places….

for me the best test of a good Chinese place is their hot and sour soup

It’s been ages since we ordered from China Maxim…we used to love their food. I’ll have to (try to!) remember them the next time we’re doing take-out! Thanks for the reminder!

Hope you get to enjoy it soon! They deliver pretty fast too.

I am not a Chinese Food lover, and my husband often reminds me if he knew that when we first met, we may not have been married. He says it is un-American not to like Chinese food, so this December 31st thing may not be just Lowell. Nice talking to you Richard. My best to your family. Happy New Year

This year we went to the Lilac Blossom in Nashua. It was mobbed, they had a limited menu, and the food was terrible.

Bamboo in Westford is awesome. A little upscale, but terrific. They have a wonderful dinner buffet that is very reasonable too.

I’ve been to Bamboo in Westford (and I think there’s one in Burlington, too…maybe! lol!) Lilac Blossom is one of my favorites but have never gone for NYE. I guess these are the reasons why so many places, with somewhat different tastes, can stay in business! Nice to know of places other than personal favorites, too!

And yes, Bamboo was very good! (I forgot to add that part!)

went to Lilac Blossom off of spit brook many times when I was working in Nashua …very good food at least back then

Rick’s Cafe in a Billerica center plaza has great Chinese.

my Daughter and I went to that Nashua Place too years ago and I hated it. Nice inside but food was awful.

My wife and I went there a couple of months ago on the recommendation of a friend, and it was great. So we decided to make it our New Years stop. Big mistake.

Now I know it is the busiest day of the year for them, trying to fill take out

you’re correct, no matter how busy, quality shouldn’t suffer.

Cathay gardens ??

Richard I still have Chinese on New year Eve even now in FL

Back in the 70’s loved Jade East that was one of our fav stops back home. Texas had terrible Chinese food.

Jade East!

Yes it is a Lowell thing and Jade east was awesome Jin Jins had good food to I as a kid once a week my parents would take us all out to the Lo Kia and when I used to come home for visits the 2 places I always went was Lo Kia and the Weather Vane

When I do get Chinese Food … Cathy Wok on Bridge St.

Try #1 taste House on bridge st in Dracut – its excellent!

Did anyone mention Hong Kong out in N. Chelmsford? They had some of the best Chinese and we used to go there after big church celebrations and such.
Awesome big goldfish and authentic looking merchandise behind the counter. Not sure if they are still open.

they are still there, but the food has gone downhill

Been to #1 Taste House twice. First time I thought it was very good. Second time it was okay. I will try it again.

China Maxin, corner of Lakeview Avenue and Tennis Plaza Road Dracut!

100+ comments, Dick. In cricket parlance we would say you’ve hit a century. Well played sir!

5 Responses to Chinese food on New Year’s Eve

  1. Tom Moses says:

    Chinese on New Year’s. Not only Lowell, not only NE. As a kid from upstate NY, this had never been an option – the closest Chinese restaurant was 50 miles away. After college I moved to California and it was there that I was introduced to the tradition. Seems like a California tradition, don’t you think? I suspect that there is more to this, though. I was introduced to the practice by the mother of my then girfriend. Where did she grow up? Massachusetts!

  2. kosta says:

    Chinese food on NY Eve was popular in NYC when I lived there years ago. I think that the custom is particularly popular with Jews wherever they live but not among Greeks as contrast – this conclusion gleaned from the many friends that are Jewish or Greek. So cultural background may be a factor. In grad school I went to a Chinese restaurant with jewish friends _ I had a hamburger – conclude what you may.

  3. Tom Sexton says:

    There was a Chinese restaurant across the river from my aunt’s house on East Merrrimack Street when I was a kid in the 40’s& 50’s. I’m not sure if that’s still route 113. We could see its green and yellow neon light at night when we were getting water from a long gone spring.,. East Merrrimack was rural then.The food was excellent, but it was most likely not really Chinese. Thanks for taking me back, and Happy New Years.

  4. Joe S. says:

    That would probably have been the Cathy Garden on Route 110 (the “Lowell-Lawrence Boulevard”).