It’s so easy to find food inspiration in Philadelphia. We have so many cool events throughout the year, and I’m lucky enough to be given the opportunity to check out a lot of them! One can’t miss event going on right now is the Philadelphia Chinese Lantern Festival in Franklin Square – a celebration of light and culture that features magnificent steel-framed and silk-wrapped giant lighted sculptures, created by hand using traditional Chinese methods. The 2019 Festival will illuminate Franklin Square at 6th & Race Streets in Historic Philadelphia from May 1 through June 30 with 29 larger-than-life illuminated displays made of 2,000 individual lanterns and 20,000 LED lights in brilliant colors.
In addition to the gorgeous light installations, festival-goers can witness authentic cultural stage performances, taste Asian cuisine and American favorites, drink a toast at the Dragon Beer Garden (open nightly), and shop for Chinese folk artists’ crafts created on site as well as Festival-themed merchandise. Guests can also play Philly Mini Golf, ride the Parx Liberty Carousel (additional tickets required for both), and enjoy Center City’s best play place!
All of the lanterns are new for the 2019 Festival, including new lighting design techniques. Highlights feature a 200-foot long phoenix, a walk-through dragon tunnel, mythological creatures created from small glass bottles filled with colored water, and a host of interactive installations such as lit swings and a fortune-telling wheel. The lanterns are installed all around the seven-acre Square, and guests stroll under, around, and through the displays each evening.
Photos do not do the lanterns justice, so if you are in Philadelphia now through June 30, grab tickets for this festival if you can! The lanterns are able to be viewed for free (unlit) during daytime, while tickets are required for nighttime entrance after 6 pm (no re-entry). On Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights, a second entrance at 7th& Race (Lion Gate Entrance) is open for those who
have purchased tickets in advance. Advance tickets are strongly recommended.
There are a bunch of food options for the festival including chicken satay, beef bao, Korean meatballs, shrimp tempura, veggie spring rolls, Hawaii pineapple shrimp, and much more. Square Burger, a staple of Franklin Square Park, is also open during the festival, serving burgers, cheesesteaks, and milkshakes.
After checking out the beautiful lanterns throughout the park, I strolled over to the Dragon Beer Garden for a drink and was able to try this delicious drink dubbed an Eastern Sunrise. The recipe is inspired by a Tequila Sunrise, but uses a trio of juices (orange, lychee, and pineapple) and substitutes rum for the tequila. It was so tasty, I wanted to share a homemade version! The Dragon Beer Garden offers multiple draft, bottled, and canned beverages as well as a few themed cocktails, including the Eastern Sunrise.
Ingredients (serves 2)
- 4 oz white rum
- 4 oz tangerine (or orange) juice
- 2 oz lychee juice
- 2 oz pineapple juice
- 2 oz grenadine
- maraschino cherries and peeled lychees, for garnish (optional)
Note: if you can’t find lychee juice, look for canned peeled lychees in syrup. You can puree ~6 of the lychees in a blender and strain through a strainer which should give you about 2 oz lychee juice. If you prefer your cocktails a little sweeter, you can add some of the syrup to your blender prior to blending.
To make, fill a cocktail shaker half way with ice. Add in the rum, tangerine or orange juice, lychee juice, and pineapple juice and shake to fully combine.
Add ice to two highball glasses and strain the juice mixture evenly into each glass.
Carefully pour 1 oz grenadine over the back of a spoon into each glass.
Garnish with a maraschino cherry and peeled lychee for each glass, if desired.
The combination of juices is citrusy and sweet, which is the perfect complement to the white rum. The juices, along with the grenadine, result in such a pretty cocktail too!
This drink is made to be enjoyed outdoors, which makes it perfect for time in the Dragon Beer Garden, taking in the beauty of the 200-foot Phoenix lantern next to the beer garden, or strolling throughout the park, checking out everything else the festival has to offer!
For more information on the Philadelphia Chinese Lantern Festival in Franklin Square, visit their website.