The Best Food And Drink At Disney's Lunar New Year Festival 2023, Ranked

The Lunar New Year is a time of celebration, and a chance for family and friends to get together. And just like all special holidays, Disney takes note: Ghosts and goblins come out for Halloween, trees and snowflakes for Christmas, and dragons and lanterns for the Lunar New Year. In 2023, the Lunar New Year begins on January 22 and continues for 15 days.

Once again Disneyland has pulled out all the stops for this special time of year. Everywhere you look, you're reminded of the Lunar New Year. There are colorful parades full of dancing lotus flowers and dragons, special meet and greets with the classic Disney characters, and stations where you can write your wishes for the new year. It's so much fun, but the best part of the Disney California Adventure Lunar New Year Festival is definitely the food!

This year Disneyland has set up six kiosks throughout California Adventure where you can try a variety of goodies inspired by Asian cuisines, including dumplings, noodles, and several different types of bao. There's even a drink to go with each delicacy. And while you can absolutely go from kiosk to kiosk carefully choosing your favorite dishes, the Sip and Savor Pass makes it so much easier. One pass will get you six food or drink items (alcohol not included) for a mere $45. We were lucky enough to sample several items from the Lunar New Year Marketplaces. Below are 12 of our favorites. 

12. White Chocolate Apple Bread Pudding

Every holiday the pastry chef at Disney California Adventure's Pacific Warf Cafe comes out with a spectacular new bread pudding. For the Festival of Holidays, he made a Peppermint Bark Bread Pudding of which we couldn't get enough. So, we couldn't wait to see what he created for the Lunar New Year festival. This time around he switched the peppermint out for tart apples with amazing results. 

The cake was moist and sweet with just a hint of cinnamon and nutmeg. It was swimming in a decadent creme Anglaise that we would have licked off the plate (if we didn't care about manners). Then the whole thing is topped with whipped cream. 

But, if you're an apple fan, trust us when we tell you there's so much apple in this bread pudding, you won't be disappointed. Not only are there delicious Granny Smith apples baked throughout the pudding, but there's also a giant spoonful of sweet apple compote on top. The compote really isn't necessary but is so indulgent, we didn't mind. While this bread pudding isn't part of the marketplace, it's worth the trip to the Pacific Warf to taste this warm, confection that's perfect on a chilly winter's day.

11. Red Spice Fried Chicken Bites

Who doesn't love fried chicken? We certainly do. Moist chicken covered in a crispy shell? It may be the best food on earth. But, it's even better when it's bite-sized, which is exactly what the chefs did this year for the Disney California Adventure Lunar New Year Festival. Found at the Red Dragon Spice Traders, this dish is sweet, savory, and spicy all at the same time. Actually, if you're a fan of all things spicy, look no further than Red Dragon because both of its offerings are high on the Scoville scale.

Made up of little fried chicken chicharrones, these nuggets are then tossed in a sweet and spicy sauce that coat every single nook and cranny. Upon first bite, all we got was a delectable crunch and sweetness that made us smile. But, after a few seconds, a smoky heat hit and got stronger and stronger with each subsequent bite. While we couldn't stop snacking on those little bites, we were happy that we had the guava whiskey cocktail as a compliment because, with each bite of chicken, we needed something cool with which to wash it down.

10. Bok Choy & Mushroom Dumplings

There's nothing that we love more than a good dumpling. a savory filling wrapped in a rice-flour dough and then served with a dipping sauce. It might just be the perfect bite. Since the folks at Disney know how popular those little dumplings are (and that they represent wealth for the New Year), they made not one, but two different versions, both of which can be found at the Wrapped with Love kiosk. 

We tried the dumplings for all the vegetarians out there: Made with bok choy and mushrooms, and wrapped in rice paper, this dumpling was a delightful savory choice. The bok choy gave the dumpling a distinct herbaceousness while the mushrooms added a lovely umami flavor that couldn't be beat. We thought it was great all on its own. Then we dipped it into the black garlic sauce and our minds were blown. While the sauce had a little heat, it took the dumpling to a whole other delicious level. 

If we had anything bad to say about this dumpling, it's that the rice paper wrapping was a little thicker and chewier than we would have liked. Despite that, we downed all three dumplings in the blink of an eye and wanted to go back for seconds. 

9. Raspberry Oat Milk Tea

Red, yellow, and gold are everywhere when you enter California Adventure because those are the colors of the Lunar New Year. So, it makes sense that some of the food and drinks share those colors. While this tea from Longevity Noodle Co. isn't exactly that bright red that symbolizes luck and good fortune for the Lunar New Year, it is definitely eye-catching. A beautiful rosy pink, this non-alcoholic option is almost too pretty to drink — almost. After staring at it for a few minutes, we finally took a sip and were thrilled with the flavor. 

Made up of Ceylon tea, oat milk, and raspberry and demerara syrups, this libation is creamy, sweet, and delicious. The subtle honey flavor from the Ceylon tea, when coupled with the raspberry syrup makes for a wonderful fruity concoction that is heavenly rather than cloying. Meanwhile, the oat milk has a comforting quality that feels like a cozy blanket for your tongue. 

There is one thing to be aware of with this stunning potion: Drink it quickly. Unfortunately, as the ice melts, the flavor becomes quite diluted and isn't nearly as pleasant. That said, it's totally worth a sip. And because it is one of the non-alcoholic options at the Lunar New Year Marketplaces, anyone from the youngest princess to the oldest prince can sip it morning, noon, or night.

8. Mandarin Mousse Cake

Several foods are usually served for the Lunar New Year: dumplings, noodles, and tangerines or oranges (all of which can be found throughout the marketplace). The round citrus is a common offering during this festive time of year because eating and adding them to centerpieces is thought to bring good fortune and luck. Because of the orange's symbolism, it makes sense that the pastry chefs at Disneyland decided to add this stunning Mandarin Mousse Cake to the marketplace.

Upon breaking the luminescent sphere open, we found layers of moist vanilla cake, mandarin mousse, and clementine compote. The vanilla cake is soft and light and absolutely delicious, while the mandarin mousse is rich and creamy with just a hint of orange flavor. Most of the orange flavor comes from the clementine compote in the center, which we actually sidestepped as it was a little too sour for us. 

But, we couldn't get enough of that cake, mousse, and tangerine glaze, which not only looked beautiful but tasted like a sweet, orange jam. And even though this cake consists of a thick mousse, it wasn't heavy at all; it was light and airy. This definite dessert highlight can be found at the Lucky 8 Lantern near the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail.

7. Char Siu BBQ Pork Bao

If you like dim sum, you'll love this next option from Prosperity Bao & Buns. Even though it's bigger than the bao buns you often find at a restaurant, the flavors of this BBQ Pork Bao did remind us of those cute little buns that are served up in bamboo tubs. 

Shredded pork, pickled onions, jalapenos, and cilantro fill a light, fluffy taco-shaped bun. The barbecued pork has a tangy sweetness to it that we devoured. But, it's those pickled onions that put this bao over the top. The bright pink onions add a delightful sour pop that balances the whole bao out while elevating it to another level. We really wish there had been more of them because we wanted to continue eating them long after this bite was finished. 

If you like spice, this bao does come with a few jalapenos sprinkled on top. And while they definitely add heat to this snack, we didn't feel they were necessary. We pushed them off to the side after the first one because we enjoyed the bao so much on its own. 

6. Grapefruit Melon Wine Cocktail

If there's one thing that California Adventure is known for (among adults), it's the fact that it's the park where you can grab a cocktail. So, of course, the folks behind the Luna New Year Marketplaces had to throw in a few alcoholic options to go with all the tasty food. With everything from whiskey to wine and beer, if you want to imbibe, there are plenty of choices. So, we took on the very tough job of sampling a few.

If you're a citrus fan, then the Grapefruit Melon Wine Cocktail from Wrapped with Love is for you. A beautiful pale pink tipple, this drink is a lighter option, that's sweet, refreshing, and perfect for a warm day. A mixture of sauvignon blanc, grapefruit liqueur, watermelon puree, rock melon syrup, and lime juice, this is definitely a sweeter cocktail. But, the syrup isn't overpowering, especially if you stir the drink up first. 

The grapefruit liqueur when combined with the sauvignon blanc makes for a nice drink with plenty of citrus notes that we really enjoyed. And since it's a low-ABV cocktail, we were able to sip on it for a while as we explored the park.

5. Guava Whiskey Cocktail

Whiskey and tiki come together in this tropical concoction from the Red Dragon Spice Traders. Where tiki drinks have a complicated history of being overly sweet because of the tropical juices and syrups, this tipple is just the opposite. See, there's no pineapple juice or simple syrup in this drink, so you don't get that overly saccharine, artificial sweetness that you'll sometimes find in tropical libations. While this cocktail is definitely on the sweeter side, it's not over-the-top Jolly Rancher sweet. 

We know that whiskey, ginger liqueur, guava nectar, and lime juice might sound like an odd combination, but they actually work quite well together. The whiskey and ginger liqueur add a nice bite, while the lime juice includes the perfect amount of tartness. Then you have the guava, which is the flavor that really shines through. It not only gives the drink its beautiful salmon hue but also provides a sweetness that balances the whole drink out.

 But, because you can't taste the whiskey, this cup can sneak up on you. Even though we took our time and enjoyed this cocktail, we definitely noticed its effects, even after a few bites from the marketplace. 

4. Quesabirria Egg Roll with Guajillo Pepper Consomé

We love a good egg roll. That deep-fried outer shell that's stuffed with cabbage, mushrooms, and carrots. Sometimes, there are even shrimp in there. It may just be the perfect Chinese food. But, if that's what you're expecting when you order it from the Lucky 8 Lantern, you're in for a serious surprise.

Because the egg roll resembles gold bars, they're often consumed during the new year celebration as a representation of wealth and prosperity, according to The Christian Science Monitor. Since the Lunar New Year is celebrated in several Asian countries from China to Vietnam, the food Imagineers at Disney took the egg roll and turned it on its head. There's no cabbage or mushrooms inside that crispy shell. Instead, there's beef birria and Oaxaca cheese that's then rolled in a wonton wrapper and deep-fried, thereby turning it into something closer to a deep-fried Philly cheesesteak. 

If that sounds like the best thing on earth, you'd be right. The hot, gooey cheese covered every single piece of tender, tangy beef so that not one single bite was lacking in flavor. We were so happy with the egg roll, we almost forgot about the guajillo consomé. Somehow there was still a bite left when we remembered the little tub. The consomé added a nice little zing. But, if you're not into peppers, the egg roll is amazing all on its own.

3. Pork and Shrimp Wonton

The other offering at Wrapped with Love, these Pork and Shrimp Wontons are everything you expect. But, where the Bok Choy and Mushroom is a heavier veggie dumpling wrapped in a thicker dough, this wonton is a meaty option with a significantly thinner wrapping. That wrapper is light and airy, so simply melts away as you enjoy this bite. But, it's the filling that really excites us.

The pork and shrimp meatball is an absolute flavor bomb. Even though we couldn't really taste the shrimp, the meaty filling is so tender and full of herbs and spices, we just couldn't get enough. We were sad there were only three wontons in each serving because we could have easily eaten six or even 10 of these. While we enjoyed the wontons all by themselves, similar to the dumplings, these wontons also come with a black garlic dipping sauce. A zesty dipping sauce that we enjoyed, but because these little dumplings are so flavorful on their own, we really didn't need it.

2. Coconut-Lavender Matcha Foam Iced Coffee

Disney continues to pull out all the stops. But, if there's one thing they always knock out of the park, it's the cold brew concoctions. The cold brews are available year-round in a variety of flavors. Every time we go we can't wait to see what the newest elixir will be and how it will compare to the last. Well, this year's Disney California Adventure Lunar New Year offering was just as amazing as we expected. 

Beautiful to behold, it's a non-alcoholic drink that's layered with color. On the bottom is a deep brown that promises rich, dark coffee flavor. Then on top, you have a pale-green coconut cream that's sweet and herbal all at the same time thanks to the matcha, white chocolate, and lavender. The purple sanding sugar sprinkled on top adds not only a pop of royal color but just the right amount of sweetness to let you know you're in for a real treat. Creamy and cool, this coffee is so rich and satisfying, it's the perfect way to start your day or enjoy it as an afternoon pick me up. 

1. Mickey Mouse-shaped Purple Sweet Potato Macaron

Anyone who's ever visited Disneyland or California Adventure knows that its macaron is a popular treat that is available year-round in a variety of shapes and flavors. It's a dessert the pastry chefs love to create, especially during the holidays. Unlike the iced coffee, this year's macaron is the same as last year, but considering how amazing it looks and tastes, we understand why they left it alone. Why tamper with perfection, right? 

You'll find a bright red Mickey-Mouse-shaped cookie streaked with gold. This cookie, available at Bamboo Blessings, is all about the Lunar New Year: The red symbolizes happiness and passion, according to Top China Travel, while the gold (not surprisingly) represents prosperity and good fortune. It's so stunning we didn't want to eat it. But, we finally gave in and tasted one of the ears. As expected, this cookie was pure pleasure! 

Light and airy, this French-style macaron has a subtle almond flavor that delights as it melts in your mouth. But, it's that creamy center that had us licking our fingers. Made of a rich, purple sweet potato buttercream, this filling should be served by itself in little cups. While they're amazing on their own, eaten together in one bite tickles all our senses. It's a good thing the macaron is so big, otherwise, we would have ate that whole cookie in one bite. Because of its size, we were able to take our time and savor each and every delicious bite.