8 restaurants to dine at this Chinese New Year when Mum’s cooking isn’t up to scratch
Let the feast begin
The formalities of Chinese New Year are usually straightforward. Fire-engine hues, familiar ching chong tunes, an influx of mandarin oranges... you know the drill. But our favourite bit and the main scene stealer is the annual reunion dinner (or really, any dinner that happens within the 15 glorious days of feasting).
On important occasions like these, the responsibility usually falls on our parents to bring their A-game to the kitchen. But in the event your folks aren't exactly miracle-workers in the culinary department (c'mon, where else did we get our genes from?), or simply because it's too stressful to cook up a feast for the entire family tree, there are great external sources to turn to for a quick solution. We've gone around our island and eaten our way through Chinese New Year menus to bring you the best eight. With only 10 days till the big day, we strongly encourage you to book these hot spots, stat.
If you're all about them time-honoured Peranakan recipes, Folklore is the place to be this Chinese New Year. Chef Damian D'Silva's Tok Panjang (a Peranakan meal showcasing more than 15 different dishes) is a hearty smorgasbord of rich and tangy flavours in a selection of traditional Nyonya fare. From a slow-cooked babi pongteh to a stunning rendition of sambal belimbling, even your hard-to-please Peranakan grandmother will offer a gratified nod with this feast.
Must-try: Chef Damian's bakwan kepiting (crab meatball soup) is punchy, aromatic, and the best we've ever tried. Fresh crabmeat is removed from the shell and mixed with minced pork, prawn and bamboo shoot, rolled into balls, and then cooked in prawn and pork stock.
Folklore Chinese New Year Tok Panjang is available for dinner from 15 February to 2 March 2018.
700 Beach Road, Tel: 6679 2900
So, Mum's star dish has failed and you need a quick solution to feed the entire family this festive period. Pop over to Min Jiang at either Goodwood Park Hotel or One-North for a slew of takeaway options — from abundant claypot dishes, prosperity yusheng, and six-course menus. While you're at it, grab those mouth-watering salted egg yolk yam chips at The Deli at Goodwood Park Hotel. Or, if you prefer canning the dinnerhome for a meal outside instead, their dine-in menus will also satisfy.
Must-try: Braised pork spare ribs and pork belly with sea treasures in claypot. Two cuts of Dutch pork are slow cooked for five hours in a flavourful gravy with spring onions, garlic, ginger, oyster sauce, and chilli, before the meat is steamed with the gravy for a further two hours to achieve its mouthwatering tenderness.
Min Jiang's takeaway offerings and festive dine-in options are available at both Goodwood Park and One-North from 29 January to 2 March 2018.
The Braised pork spare ribs and pork belly with sea treasures in claypot is available at 5 Rochester Park, Tel: 6774 0122
Book in at one of Cherry Garden's private dining rooms for an authentic Cantonese experience — order Chef Cheng Hon Chau's luscious charcoal-roasted duck, lifted beautifully with a cherry sauce, and his comforting steamed traditional eight treasure chicken. Finish off with a generous serving of wholesome five grain fried rice.
Must-try: The five grain fried rice with Cantonese pork sausage and vegetables, topped with crispy black bamboo for a unique crunch.
Cherry Garden's Chinese New Year set menu and takeaway offerings are available from 1 February to 2 March 2018.
5 Raffles Ave, Tel: 6885 3500
Tucked in the lush greenery of Dempsey Hill, Chopsuey Café is a breath of fresh air from the typical Chinese restaurants on our island with their modern take on Asian fare. Call for the sticky tamarind king prawns, fresh lemongrass and lime poached barramundi, and Tajima beef fried rice. This will suit meals with your cool crew or relatives that are trying to lift their game.
Must-try: Chopsuey Lucky Lunar Lo Hei, a western take on the traditional yusheng and the most refreshing thing we've tried this year. Packed with trout, kale, celeriac, sprouts, red radish, blueberries and wild rice, a special homemade dressing perfectly balances the sweet and sour with fresh calamansi and lemon juice, plum sauce, marmalade, and Japanese vinegar.
Chopsuey Café's Lucky Lunar Lo Hei and festive menu are available from 5 February to 2 March 2018.
10 Dempsey Rd, Tel: 9924 6611
Longing for a tranquil, private reunion? Cassia at Capella is sure to impress. Tuck into their steamed lobster, a delicious dish adorned generously with black garlic and steeped in light soya sauce. Love glutinous rice? You'll be definitely beg for seconds when it comes to their fragrant rice topped with Chinese preserved sausage and cooked in lotus leaf.
Must-try: Hands down, the double-boiled thick chicken broth at Cassia. Rich in collagen and packed with fish maw, sea cucumber and abalone, it's one of those simple victories that will hit deliciously close to home.
Cassia's Prosperity Reunion Set and Fortune Reunion Set are available only on 15 February 2018.
1 The Knolls, Sentosa Island, Tel: 6591 5045
Man Fu Yuan's executive chef Eric Neo needs no introduction. After seven years of heading up the kitchen at the renowned establishment, the feast he has crafted this Chinese New Year is one fit for a king. Take their Abundance Treasure Pot (a luxurious edition of the classic pen cai) for example, which sees an amalgamation of prized ingredients simmered together in a fragrant one-dish wonder. Think braised sea cucumber, 10-head whole abalone, Canadian lobster, Hokkaido scallops, and goose web, amongst others.
Must-try: Signature smoked duck, treated with a handful of Chinese tea leaves, dang gui and a sprinkle of brown sugar. Robust smells and a piquant mix of herbs equal a dish that will win over the elders at the table.
Man Fu Yuan's Chinese New Year menus are available from 18 January to 2 March 2018.
80 Middle Rd, Tel: 6825 1008
There's something alluring about the ambience at Jade. Whether it be the oriental silks or dreamy pastel hues, dining here is always a pleasant affair without it being too OTT. Start off with their poached and hand-folded mushroom and pork dumplings (might we add, are dangerously addictive), and end with one of their pistachio-filled tang yuans. Now that's a sweet ending we won't forget.
Must-try: Flavours of Malaysia are the binding factor in Jade's special Boston lobster dish. Simmered in rich stock, the crustaceans are then seared over high heat with chilli and curry leaves. You'll find cubes of pumpkin and yam stir-fried into the mix.
Jade's Reunion Set menus are available from 22 January to 2 March 2018.
1 Fullerton Square, Tel: 6877 8188
We'd like to call this the millennial's choice. Po's neutral colour palette and laid-back rattan chairs sets a cool, casual premise for pigging out with your loved ones and friends. Straying away from mainstream Chinese New Year offerings, expect refreshing additions like a charcoal-grilled Iberico satay as well as a tangy barramundi salad, which takes on an alternative spin on the family-favourite yu sheng.
Must-try: You can't leave without trying their signature popiah. Plus, it's so much fun building your own with Po's do-it-yourself presentation. Choose from the Classic Platter, Prawn Platter, and Fresh Flower Crab Platter.
Po's Chinese New Year specials are available from 5 February to 2 March 2018.
320 Havelock Rd, Tel: 6828 0007
Read more Chinese New Year stories.