Universal Studios Hollywood celebrates Chinese Lunar New Year

LOS ANGELES, Feb. 5 (Xinhua) -- Universal Studios Hollywood rings in the "Year of the Pig" Tuesday with uniquely-themed programs featuring beloved global pop icon Hello Kitty, DreamWorks' Kung Fu Panda figures, Masters Po and Tigress, and a Transformer's Mandarin-speaking MEGATRON.

It was pouring rain as the gates opened in the morning, but the skies cleared up just in time for Master Po to take the stage in the decked out Universal Plaza, where the spectacularly-themed Lunar New Year will take place through Feb. 18.

Under a curtain of customary red Chinese lanterns and stunning plum blossom Wishing Trees, the festivities burst to life as guests discovered the 12 zodiac animal signs with individual explanation of the sign attributes with emphasis put on this year's animal: The pig.

Just like last year, the centerpiece of the event featured the Jade Palace Performance Stage and the Dragon Warrior Training Show, which are both based on the beloved Kung Fu Panda franchise and designed to engage guests of all ages in an interactive martial art demonstration performed by Master Po and friends.

Outside of the popular DreamWorks Theater, Kung Fu Panda's famous Mr. Ping's Noodle Shop is back by popular demand serving up delicious culturally-themed food such as Po's Dumplings, Dragon Warrior Bao, Oogway Eggrolls and Secret Ingredient Stir Fry Noodles.

Mr. Ping himself was on hand to interact with guests and take memorable souvenir photos. Beloved global pop icon Hello Kitty also stepped out in style wearing her signature red bow and specially-designed Lunar New Year attire.

Keeping with Universal Studios Hollywood's Lunar New Year tradition, a Mandarin-speaking Transformer's MEGATRON greeted guests at the entry of the festivities. The imposing 12-foot-tall robot, the power leader of the Decepticon, interacted with guests, engaging them both in Mandarin and in real time conversation reflective of his persona.

In addition to the performances, Chinese food became the other main attraction in the park.

Inspired by China's restaurant Meizhou Dongpo, Dongpo Kitchen restaurant of Universal Studio offered upscale and modern Sichuan cuisine, while the ever-popular Voodoo Doughnut is also celebrating Lunar New Year with a specially-created "Year of the Pig" doughnut.

Universal CityWalk's newest restaurant, Vivo Italian Kitchen, serving freshly prepared authentic Italian fare in a newly designed modern setting, also invited guests to toast the "Year of the Pig" offering its haute cuisine menu in several languages, including Mandarin.