Due to their overwhelming popularity in the Chinese community, Godiva created new ballotins to celebrate Chinese New Year and the year of the horse :). This year Chinese New Year falls on January 31st, which rarely happens as it usually it takes place in February. The dates change every year since they're based on the Lunar Calendar, which is why many Chinese people believe that they actually have two birthdays. My grandma didn't even know her real American birthday, and just estimated the date when she came to the United States. You may remember my "good luck kits" my mom still sends me as they make an annual appearance on my Instagram. Usually they include:
- brand new red underwear (haha) but this one was hot pink since that's a compromise I've come to with my mom. It's supposed to make you lucky and get rid of any bad mojo from the past year
- candy (so that your new year will be sweet)
- fake gold chocolate coins (supposed to mean you'll have a prosperous new year with lots of money heh heh)
To celebrate the LE Lunar New Year Chocolate ballotin's release the Godiva US team hosted a dinner event in Los Angeles, and I was lucky enough to attend as one of the three lone beauty bloggers along with April and Jen.
3239 Helms Ave.
Culver City, CA
Lukshon is the brainchild of Iron Chef and restauranteur Sang Yoon. Yoon's name should look familiar to LA area foodies as he's also the curator of the Father's Office- a local gastropub that is hailed for having one of the "best burgers in the world". Lukshon is romantically dim with beautiful, modern styling and furnishings with glass accents that are lighted throughout the restaurant. I think for the price point of the food the ambiance is amazing. For the event we were seated outside, by the glass fireplace.
pork belly lettuce cups- cabbage, crispy pig ear, thai chile, lime, mint, aromatic rice powder
So amazingly delicious! But I've always been a big fan of lettuce cups and I love pork (I'm Chinese after all ;]) so I'm probably a bit biased on this one. This appetizer is a staple on their menu.
duck popiah- pickled stem lettuce, dark chocolate hoison with a spicy lettuce puree
Very similar to Taiwanese beef wraps if you've ever tried those.
crispy whole fish- with charred cucumbers, pecal sauce, slivered almonds
Yummy but I actually prefer Chinese steamed fish a bit more? All the guys at the table loved it though. The fish was surprisingly moist for having been put through a deep fryer.
chinese eggplant- fennel raita, cocao nibs, eggplant "fries"
I don't even like eggplant and this was one of the BEST things I have ever eaten! Vegatable-wise anyway. Perfectly crispy skin and a delicious, savory sauce. Ugh I'm drooling. I've permanently reconsidered my disliked for eggplant after this by the way.
beef and broccoli- hanger steak, gai-lan, black bean butter and puffed tendon
I dare you to find the broccoli in this picture haha! The steak felt like prime rib, and was tasty but didn't have a real Asian flair to it. There's tiny pieces of kai-lan (Chinese broccoli) hiding under the meat. Kai-lan is similar to broccoli but is leafier, has a long stem and is a bit bitter. I personally love the stuff but it's not for everyone.
brussel sprouts- chile, garlic vinaigrette sprinkled with sesame seed
I think this place should be a vegetarian's dream because they do vegetables right here. Everyone freaked out over how delicious they were! I've actually never been a fan of brussel sprouts but I'm officially a convert :) The texture was on point, perfectly broiled and so flavorful.
heirloom black rice- lap cheong, onion, roasted garlic topped with a farm fried egg
I don't even like rice. I know, the blasphemy of it all. An Asian that doesn't like rice but it's true, I don't. It's so tasteless for how bad it is for you. However this rice was one of the best rice dishes I've ever had in my life! The flavor is so savory, and I love the texture of the short-grain rice combined with the gooey-ness of the egg. Everyone agreed this was a favorite.
chinese spicy ramen- ma la bamboo, pork belly, crispy ear
The pork belly was amazing and had great marbling, but this was probably my least favorite dish. It was interesting in that it tasted like niu rou mian (Chinese beef noodle soup) but had instant ramen kind of noodles. Still delicious though :)
chocolate and pear "donut", macademia and black sesame dumpling with a godiva milk chocolate cherry shooter
The dessert fleet. Need I say more? :) The "donut" on the left was my favorite. It had a gooey chocolate interior with crisped rice on the outside, amazing and so delicious. A fun play with textures as well.
And of course, no Godiva post would be complete without showcasing the limited edition chocolates in the Year of the Horse Ballotin:
- Dark Chocolate Pear- A crunchy caramel pear ganache made with a blend of Venezuela milk chocolate and Santo Domingo dark chocolate and a touch of vanilla
- Milk Cherry and Almond- Crunchy almond praline blended with Vanuatu origin chocolate, sour cherry and a hint of honey
- White Pineapple and Macadamia Nuts- Sweet Dominican Republic white chocolate ganache blended with nutty macadamia cream and fruity pineapple in white chocolate (my favorite :D!)
To learn more about these limited edition Lunar New Year ballotins, visit Godiva.com. They also come with 8 fancy Godiva hong bao packets for all you slackers! They also offer free shipping on most of the ballotins so you can send your New Year love across the country :)
If you'd like to try Lukshon and are in the LA area, they're participating in Dine LA which runs from now until January 31st. You can check out the Dine LA menu here
As a fair warning, some of these dishes were created specifically for the Godiva event, but all my favorites are permanent features in the menu. :)