Long ago, in ancient China, the Jade Emperor decided to hold a Great Race to decide the animals which would make up the twelve zodiac years. The race involved crossing a great and mighty river to reach the heavenly altar.

On the morning of the race, Rat awoke early and hatched a cunning plan to climb onto Ox and hide behind his ear for the duration. Ox, unknowing, travelled across the land with the clever Rat hidden on his back. Just as he was about to reach the altar, Rat jumped off and reached the finish line first, with Ox coming a close second.

The strong and passionate Tiger came third, followed by the sensitive Rabbit who, by a fortunate stroke of serendipity, had been blown to shore by the gracious and powerful Dragon. Horse arrived at the finish line next, although hidden on his hoof was Snake, whose appearance gave Horse such a fright that Snake took sixth place while Horse came seventh. Not long after, Goat, Monkey and Rooster came to shore on a raft, closely followed by Dog who, although the strongest swimmer, couldn’t resist playing in the river.

Just as the Jade Emperor was about to close the Great Race, a squealing was heard. Pig had gotten hungry and stopped for a snack and a short nap. Even though he was late, he had arrived before the end of the race, so he took the final twelfth place.

Facing outrage from the other animals about Rat winning the race using deception, the Jade Emperor merely stated: “The result cannot be changed, as playing tricks is a form of wisdom.”

Yauatcha is celebrating the Year of the Rat by paying homage to the ancient Chinese folk story of the Great Race with an exclusive signature menu featuring celebratory Cantonese dishes showcasing auspicious ingredients, followed by the special Jade Emperor dessert, a large macaron made with yuzu curd, mandarin marmalade and candied ginger. A special collection of twelve new macarons will also be available.

To complement the menu, Yauatcha’s expert mixologists have created the Jìng Sù Peony cocktail, made with lychee, a fruit which is said to bring good luck, and Champagne, beginning the year on a sweet note. Yauatcha’s Chinese New Year celebrations will be held from Monday 13th January until Sunday 9th February.

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Yauatcha Soho and Yauatcha City will be hosting a lion dance to bring good luck in the Year of the Rat. With the telltale beating of drums and the crash of cymbals are believed to drive away evil spirits.

See the lion dance at Yauatcha Soho on Sunday 19th January at 4.30pm and at Yauatcha City on Wednesday 22nd January at 6.30pm.