The Chinese New Year is the most important social and economic holiday on the Chinese calendar.  And, as it happens, feasting – a favorite topic of ours here at The Dish – is a central component of the holiday.

Traditionally, observance of the Chinese New Year involved a 15-day festival that included gifts and family feasts, as well as cleaning homes to eliminate any ill fortune from the previous year and to make way for good luck in the new one. The Chinese New Year in its modern form is now a week-long event called “Spring Festival.”  Business comes to a stop and time with family and feasting become the principal focus from China to Singapore, Taiwan, Malaysia and Hong Kong.

This year, the Chinese New Year falls on February 10 with the New Year’s Eve feast taking place on February 9.  Get ready to ring in the “Year of the Snake” with these tidbits we picked up during the “Year of the Dragon” (2012):

More than Just Fortune Cookies: If you want to join the celebration and treat yourself to a Chinese New Year feast, it might include chicken (for prosperity), uncut noodles (to represent a long life) and a whole fish (to represent togetherness and abundance).

Dragon, Snakes and Oxen, Oh My!: The years on the Chinese calendar are named for 12 animal zodiac signs.  According to ancient legend, Buddha asked all the animals to meet him on Chinese New Year. Twelve came, and he named a year for each: the rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog and pig. People born in each animal’s year are said to share qualities of that animal’s personality.

West Coast with the Most: If you’re in San Francisco, you’re in luck: the San Francisco/Oakland/San Jose area has the most Chinese and Asian restaurants with deals, followed by Los Angeles and Seattle.  New York City also has a significant number of Chinese restaurant options for your feast.

Chinese Food is a Favorite in…Baton Rouge?: You might be surprised to learn who ate  the most Chinese food during the Year of the Dragon (2012).  Twenty-five percent of certificates purchased in Baton Rouge, La., were for Chinese and Asian cuisine, as were 14 percent of certificates purchased in Reno, Nevada, and Traverse City, Mich.  Twelve percent of certificates purchased in Salt Lake City, Utah, were for Chinese restaurants and Columbus, Ohio, rang in at 10 percent.

Ready to feast?  You can find nearly 900 deals across the country for Chinese and Asian cuisine.  Start your search with our top 25 most popular Chinese and Asian restaurants:

Milford Mandarin, Milford, MA 

Bistro Buffet at Palms Resort, Las Vegas, NV 

Sunflower Chinese Restaurant and Lounge, Columbus, OH

Green Ginger Asian Fusion Bar & Grill, Peachtree City, GA

Lao You Ju, Chicago, IL

Jade, Charlotte, NC

18 Asian Sushi Bar, Charlotte, NC

Shogun, Orlando, FL

Thai Mango Asian Bistro, Columbus, OH

The Great Wall of China South, Charlotte, NC

Layang Layang, San Jose, CA

Hibachi Grill & Buffet, Glendale, AZ

888 Bistro, Houston, TX

Cathay Center, Weymouth, MA

Eurasian Grill, West Bloomfield, MI

Blue Pacific Sushi Grill, Lancaster, PA

Butterfly Restaurant, West Hartford, CT

Pagoda Tea House, Lakewood, NJ

Soo Woo Bistro, Miami, FL

Asian Too, Viera, FL

Masu Hibashi & Sushi, Carrollton, TX

Lemon Grass Restaurant and Sake, Moultonborough, NH

Asian Bistro, Fairfax, VA

Miso Asian Grill, Richmond, VA

Tommy Cheng’s Asian Cuisine, Wayne, NJ

Don’t see a restaurant in your area on this list?  There are plenty of other delicious choices.  Start you search here!