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Aqua Gastronomy Spring Edition
Photograph: Resorts World Sentosa

The best restaurants to have reunion dinner and celebrate Chinese New Year in Singapore

Reunite with loved ones and toss your way to a prosperous 2021 at these restaurants offering special reunion meals

By Fabian Loo
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Keep the turkeys and bring out the pineapple tarts – it’s time to usher in another Chinese New Year. This year’s festivities might look slightly different from the past, but at least we can all still dine in groups of eight. This year, lay the dinner table with an abundance of festive treats: from unique yusheng creations to luxurious variants of pen cai stuffed with auspicious ingredients. If you aren’t planning (or too lazy) to prepare a feast for reunion dinner, we’ve got you covered with these special Lunar New Year meals.

RECOMMENDED: The ultimate guide to Chinese New Year in Singapore and the best Chinese New Year events in Singapore

Aqua Gastronomy Spring Edition
Aqua Gastronomy Spring Edition
Photograph: Resorts World Sentosa

Aqua Gastronomy

Things to do Sentosa

January 14 to February 28

While we can’t have big-group dinners this Chinese New Year, you can still dine with the company of 100,000 marine animals at Resorts World Sentosa’s Aqua Gastronomy. The multi-sensory dining experience, where meals are served in futuristic dining pods that overlook the S.E.A Aquarium’s Open Ocean Habitat, will serve up its Spring Edition from January 14 to February 28. This will also be Aqua Gastronomy’s final run, and your last chance to savour a unique mealtime experience.

In true CNY fashion, the interiors come spruced up with lanterns and festive decor. The five-course menu ($168) features sustainably sourced seafood – with courses paired with light shows and voice-overs. It begins with a dimming of lights, and a deconstructed yusheng drizzled with an orange sauce that glows in the dark. Mains are then served in pairs to signify abundance and prosperity; steamed King prawns, dressed with vermicelli and dragon chives, are served with a side of mini pumpkin bun; barbecued USDA prime rib and salted egg yolk crumble come paired with a comforting bowl of beef consommé with wanton; and toothfish comes with a side of Hong Kong-style steamed rice stuffed with dried scallops and Chinese sausage. Dessert comes in the form of a golden mandarin orange tart sitting atop citrus bak kwa crumble, and crumbly bites of housemade pineapple tarts. And as the meal comes to a close, you’ll want to ready your phones to capture the underwater dragon dance performance. Given the recent tightening of safe distancing measures, this is probably one of the few places you can still catch a glimpse of festive performance this season. 

HOW TO BOOK rwsentosa.com/en/restaurants/aqua-gastronomy/

Yi by Jereme Leung CNY 2021
Yi by Jereme Leung CNY 2021
Photograph: Raffles Hotel Singapore

Yi by Jereme Leung

Restaurants Chinese City Hall

January 18 to February 26

For an auspicious start to the year, Yi by Jereme Leung has created a decadent, and convenient yusheng set. Choose from various prized catch to throw into the salad – from salmon and crispy fish skin ($168) to Asian live lobster ($198) and abalone with Arctic surf clam and salmon ($208). Then, drizzle in the special sauce that comes perfumed with Yunnan rose for a floral note. The best part: everything comes neatly packaged in a takeaway set, complete with tossing instructions and requisite phrases. Tossing can even be done within the clever box design, which makes cleaning up easy as well. 

A series of curated set menus are also worth a try. The aptly named Opulence Set Menu ($208) starts off with yusheng, and a trio of snacks – foie gras terrine, seaweed shrimp roll, and plum-pickled cherry tomatoes. Soothe the belly with Buddha Jumps Over The Wall, and sample fresh catch in the form of a steamed cod fillet with fermented black beans, and baked lobster with XO sauce and cheese. 

 BOOK HERE rafflescelebrations.com.sg

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Ellenborough Market Café CNY 2021
Ellenborough Market Café CNY 2021
Photograph: Ellenborough Market Café

Ellenborough Market Café

Restaurants Raffles Place

February 1 to 26 

Ring in the Lunar New Year with abundance at Ellenborough Market Café. The well-loved buffet restaurant will run a special Prosperity Buffet (from $68 for lunch, $88 for dinner) that comes filled with endless servings of all your favourite food. Start with the yusheng, jazzed up with a refreshing yuzu chia seed dressing, before lining your tummy with exclusive dishes of double-boiled soup made with coconut, peach gum, fish maw, and chicken; crispy fish fillet tossed with kumquat sauce; tender wok-braised pork; shoyu-glazed sesame maltose; and more.

Beyond these festive creations, the buffet menu will also feature some of the restaurant’s well-loved dishes – including comforting Peranakan treats of beef rendang and kueh pie tee, alongside pasta in mentaiko cream sauce, and more. Then, end off the meal with sweet pairings of deep-fried nian gao, yam paste, osmanthus jelly, and of course, its signature durian pengat.

BOOK HERE Call 6239 1847/1848, or email dining.merchantcourt@swissotel.com

Time Out Singapore in partnership with Ellenborough Market Café

Summer Pavilion CNY 2021
Summer Pavilion CNY 2021
Photograph: Summer Pavilion

Summer Pavilion

Restaurants Chinese City Hall

One Michelin starred Summer Pavilion dishes up a winning celebration menu befitting of this joyous occasion. Start with an indulgent yusheng, topped with slices of Australian greenlip abalone and salmon roe that adds a briny pop in every bite.  

And from February 1 to 26, Summer Pavilion will serve up an exquisite set course menu (from $118) for both lunch and dinner. Choose from six- to eight-course options that are filled with lavished with nourishing creations. In particular, the Treasury Menu ($2988 for six), available on Lunar New Year comes with double-boiled sea whelk soup with fish maw, sautéed Japanese wagyu beef with black truffle, and more. Be sure to save space for the peached Inaniwa noodles, a thinner, smoother udon variant that pairs perfectly with a delicate chicken broth and plump Hokkaido king scallops. Those who choose to celebrate the first 15 days of Lunar New Year at the restaurant will also receive a complimentary set of limited-edition red packets and a pair of mandarin oranges.

BOOK HERE Call 6434 5286, or email rc.sinrz.summerpavilion@ritzcarlton.com

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Soup Restaurant CNY 2021
Soup Restaurant CNY 2021
Photograph: Soup Restaurant

Soup Restaurant

Restaurants Chinese Orchard

Homegrown Soup Restaurant is perhaps best known for comforting Chinese cuisine, and its festive creations certainly live up to that. For a nourishing feast, sample the Golden Collagen Treasure Pot with Abalone (from $298), where pumpkin and chicken are simmered over low heat for over eight hours to yield the dish’s flavourful stock. Then, more luxurious ingredients are added: abalone, fish maw, sea cucumber, shiitake mushroom, prawn, roasted pork, and other vegetables. 

Look forward to its selection of set menus, which run from $118 for two, to $568 for eight. Highlights include the signature Samsui Ginger Chicken, steamed rice with baby abalone and Chinese sausage, asparagus tossed with local mushrooms in white truffle oil, and an adorable longevity bun, made to resemble a bag of money. 

BOOK HERE souprestaurant.com.sg

Yan CNY 2021
Yan CNY 2021
Photograph: Yan

Yan

Restaurants Chinese City Hall

January 15 to February 26 

Looking to turn up the huat in 2021? The festive treats at Yan this year come lavished with even more premium ingredients – all to create a meal filled with luck and fortune. Highlights from its dine-in set menu, available in five to eight courses (from $128), includes the signature yusheng, a savoury Shunde-style variant that comes dressed with soya sauce instead of the usual sweet plum. Forming the base is a bed of crispy fried vermicelli, along with vegetables of shredded sweet potatoes, kailan, and pickled ginger. Yellowtail fish and braised abalone are thrown into the mix to create a crunchy, fresh salad. 

Also comforting is the fish maw soup course, double-boiled for over eight hours with pork bones, cordyceps flower, dried scallops, and more. Braised spring chicken comes unbelievably tender, served in a pool of piquant sauce with six-head abalone. Round off the meal with wok-fried ee fu noodles, jazzed up with lobster and shrimp roe-infused sauce; and the nourishing bird’s nest with lily bulb, white fungus, and lotus seed. 

BOOK HERE Call 6384 5585, or email reserve@Yan.com.sg

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Madame Fan CNY 2021
Madame Fan CNY 2021
Photograph: Madame Fan

Madame Fan

Restaurants Chinese City Hall

January 18 to February 26

The star of any yusheng lies in the slivers of seafood. At Madame Fan, the Treasures of Sea Yu Sheng ($168) comes loaded with not one, but eight different types of prized catch: Alaskan king crab, Boston lobster, Hokkaido scallop, abalone, bluefin tuna, caviar, and kombu. 

You’ll find the same lavish touch in its set menu (from $98) as well. Options include the fork-tender Kurobuta pork belly, served with green pepper sauce; alongside a belly-warming soup laced with rice wine and stuffed with lobster and scallop. Here, the usual fried rice is also made more enjoyable with umami-packed additions of cuttlefish, sea cucumber, fish maw, and abalone sauce. As an apt end to an auspicious meal, Madame Fan serves up an adorable champagne mousse cake, fashioned into the shape of a firecracker. 

BOOK HERE Call 6818 1921 or email dining.reservations@theNCOclub.com

Park Hotel Clarke Quay CNY 2021
Park Hotel Clarke Quay CNY 2021
Photograph: Park Hotel Clarke Quay

Park Hotel Clarke Quay

Hotels Raffles Place

January 29 to February 26

Salmon might be the usual choice for yusheng, but Park Hotel Clarke Quay has decided to swap the usual fish for bright red hues found in slices of its yellowfin tuna. And to further brighten the dish, torch ginger flower and kaffir lime leaves are thrown into the usual mix of fresh greens. 

It helps whet the appetite for what’s to come. The dine-in menu, available in six ($388), seven ($648), and eight ($698) courses, is filled with hearty and homely dishes. Smooth fish maw comes stirred with plump crab meat in a comfy soup dish, and steamed fish comes slathered in a savoury yellow bean sauce that you’ll want to ladle extra spoonfuls over rice. Juicy, crispy duck comes served with sides of its own jus and achar, and the hotel’s chef James Wong even digs into his family archive to whip up a dish of steamed rice in lotus leaf with duck meat and Chinese sausage. Then, end off the meal on a sweet note with either some crispy durian, or a classic mango pomelo sago. 

BOOK HERE Email bqt.phcq@parkhotelgroup.com

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Peach Garden CNY 2021
Peach Garden CNY 2021
Photograph: Peach Garden

Peach Garden

Restaurants Chinese Raffles Place

January 5 to February 26

Peach Gardens wants to help you ring in 2021 with a bang – quite literally – with its cheeky ‘Heng Heng’ Million Dollar Yu Sheng ($168/$268). Beyond prized toppings of lobster, baby abalone, and wagyu beef or scallops, the main draw lies in the massive golden biscuit ‘dome’ that encases the dish. Break it open with the help of a mini hammer provided, and you’ll find Big Sweep tickets hidden within. It’s a fun, interactive dish for the whole family that’ll certainly bring joy to the dinner table. 

You’ll find other uncommon creations on Peach Garden’s menu as well. Spice things up with the premium mala pen cai (from $428), a fresh addition this year, where sea cucumber, scallops, prawn, fish maw, and more comes cooked in an addictive yet fiery mala sauce. Nian gao or rice cake, is also sweetened with additions of black and white sesame instead to lend a nutty aroma. Of course, traditional dishes, including the steamed claypot rice with Chinese sausage, a perennial favourite; and double-boiled bird’s nest are still available on the menu – both a la carte or as part of its festive menu (from $119). 

BOOK HERE peachgarden.com.sg/reservations

Eat your way through Chinese New Year

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