In case you hadn't realised, today is Mardi Gras, also known as Shrove Tuesday or Pancake Day (among other things) depending on which country you hail from. Being the last day before lent, people traditionally indulged in the richer, fattier foods that they were intending to give up over the next 40 days, hence the name Mardi Gras or 'Fat Tuesday'.

Cu Ju is celebrating the New Orleans way, kicking out their Moroccan menu for one night only and replacing it with all the best things to come out of the Big Easy: Po'boys, Jambalaya, Sazeracs, and Hurricanes.

In the UK, Ireland, Australia, and Canada we celebrate pancake day with, naturally, pancakes. Your best bet for continental-style crepes is still Crepanini, although MOKA Bros' does a good line in savory crepes. For the thicker, American-style pancakes, try visiting one of the nominees in the Best American category from our 2015 the Beijinger Reader Restaurant Awards, such as Element Fresh, Great Leap Brewing #45 Brewpub or Lily's American Diner. The pancakes at the Village Cafe are also pretty spot on. 

Tomorrow is Chuxi, the eve of the lunar new year. Traditionally families would gather together for a big meal at home, but now more and more people are eating out. Hotels and Chinese restaurants are capitalizing on this with set menus offering a range of delicious and auspicious dishes. Read on for our top picks for Chuxi dining:

  • At RMB 248 per person, Jing Yaa Tang's set menu is a steal, including their signature roast duck, appetizers, and main courses. The menu is available until March 5 if you miss it on Chuxi.
  • Sample Huang Ting's exquisite Cantonese cuisine, including classic dishes like double-boiled abalone soup with matsutake mushrooms, with their RMB 988 set menu.
  • The House of Dynasties, at Rosewood Beijing, is comprised solely of high-end private rooms themed around different Chinese dynasties, making for a truly upscale dining experience. Their New Year's dining package is pricey at RMB 2,580 per person, but we promise every bite will be worth it.
  • For a less traditional Chuxi, try to snag one of their remaining spots at Great Leap's private party at The Orchid. For RMB 388, your ticket gets you free-flow beer and a special buffet by Taco Bar's Kin Hong.  

More stories by this author here.

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Photo: Caterina Guidoni (Flickr)

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