LONDON: The world’s largest Chinese New Year Celebrations (outside of China)

Baozi Seller
Baozi Seller

The entire West End suffocates. You arrive a good few hours into the ‘festivities’ in the hope that the crowds will have dispersed a little. They have not. The streets are heaving, there are iPhones and policemen everywhere.

Hanging the red paper money bag and chinese leaf for the dragon to snatch

You have a list:
-Red bean baozi
-Pork baozi
-Melonpan
-Anpan
-Yearly booster shot of luck from dragon

Boys watching the dragon go past from the window of a hairdressers

It’s a mad dash to the Golden Gate bakery on Gerrard Street which for whatever reason is the only one you shop at. The anpan sell out around 3pm. The melonpan take a while longer, perhaps because to the uninitiated they look dry and undercooked.

Then you must fight your way around the corner. You ignore the fact that the guy selling the baozi uses the same hand to pick up your bun and also touch your money. You live here so getting struck down with food poisoning isn’t too bad.

Hat Man!

Now you have to see the dragon. It’s cold. You look for the pieces of Chinese leaf hanging in the doorways, and then hang around until you hear the sound of cymbals. The crowd compresses around you. You can’t see the dragon, but you can see it on the screen of someone else’s mobile phone.

Good enough.

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