Sure, it's no Year of the Metal Tiger (2010, represent!), but come Feb 7th, all of China and part of the Mandarin Oriental will be ringing in the Year of the Snake with an impressive selection of Far East delicacies, live snakes
friggin' everywhere being showcased by trained handlers, and dudes dancing around in psychedelic lion costumes. Your move, Seacrest
The Chinese ribbon dance has been performed for over a millennium, and different tales surround its origin -- from a guy saving an emperor from an assassination attempt with his silk sleeve, to another emperor having a dream about fairies in long robes. Emporers get to make up all the stories
When you hear the drums, make way for the traditional lion dancers (even though this thing damn sure looks like a dragon) as they march around the ballroom and bring good luck to your household, unless you're on the lion-dragon's naughty list or something
When you come in they'll give you a red "lai see" packet. The traditional ones're filled with money, but yours will hold something far more valuable -- wishes of good health and fortune! Good luck with the health part after taking down this pork belly slow-cooked in Chinese five-spice
The Peking duck is carved to order or shredded up fajita-style with moo shu pancakes, Asian veggies, and hoisin sauce
Steamed grouper in a cilantro and soy glaze. Other dishes that don't come in adorable boats: sesame prawn toast, crispy pork wontons, and ginger soy-marinated tofu
According to the Chinese, the snake is intelligent and graceful. Become the opposite with the event's signature cocktail, the Green-Eyed Serpent full of vodka, Midori, lime juice, and fresh muddled ginger.