Chinese New Year in 2018 will occur on the 16th of February and in the Chinese zodiac, the coming lunar year will be the “Year of the Dog.” For the coming festive season, various hotels and restaurants in Singapore are once again showcasing their very best for reunion dinners, lo heis as well as festive takeaways. What I noticed this year is that restaurants are trying to outdo each other in terms of who has the most premium yu sheng or pen cai with pretty creative interpretations to choose from. I’ve seen relatively unique ingredients being included such as truffles, imperial swiftlet’s nest and even foie gras while others are sticking to their traditional best sellers. Whatever it is you’re after, you will certainly be spoiled for choice for that reunion dinner venue. Here’s a guide on this year’s offers:
Sofitel Singapore City Centre (** Top Pick **)
For a restaurant to do two different cuisines excellently is no mean feat. This new property in Tanjong Pagar has done very well for its maiden Chinese new year offering. Among the festive menus that I have tasted this year, this is my personal favorite. To greet the Year of the Dog, Racines is presenting traditional dishes that come with a twist. I thought the Eight Treasures Yu Sheng (S$188++) was among the best I’ve tried. It comes with premium ingredients such as baby abalone, lobster roulade, salmon, hamachi, jellyfish and ikura; among others. The highlight is the zesty (and addictive!) yuzu dressing.
Another highlight is the Seafood Abalone Treasure Pot with Braised Cabbage and Black Moss (S$198++). Racines’ version comes with added truffles for an extra kick which is a first encounter for me. These dishes can be ordered on a standalone basis or as part of the set menus. The set menus are priced from S$68++ per person which is among the most affordable compared to other luxury hotels this season.
Dates: From 1st February 2018 to 2nd March 2018
Prices: Set menus from S$68++ (10% off for reunion menus and takeaways booked before 7th Feb 2018)
My pick: The Seafood Abalone Treasure Pot that comes with truffles, Yu Sheng with yuzu dressing
More information on Chinese New Year offers at Racines, Sofitel Singapore City Centre can be found here
Holiday Inn Singapore Atrium
This property’s inhouse Chinese restaurant, Xin Cuisine, continues its tendency to present colorful and visually arresting dishes in its Chinese new year menu. The venue is known for its dimsum and for the season, Chef Cheung Kin Nam presents new creations such as Steamed Seafood Dumpling with Foie Gras, Pork Dumpling with Truffle and Deep-fried Crab Claw Dumpling with Fish Roe. Among the dimsum creations I’ve tried, I liked the Pan-fried Morel Mushroom and Pork Paste Bun. Dimsum dishes are available during lunch starting from S$21 per serving.
Xin Cuisine also has an interesting creation for Lo Hei this year. The Salmon Yusheng with Fish Skin (S$78 small / S$98 large) comes with passion fruit yogurt dressing for a refreshing and extra tangy flavor. Elsewhere, I loved the Xin’s Traditional Treasure Pot (S$248 small / S$388 large), a good value pen cai which is generously filled with whole abalone, scallop, prawn, dried oyster, roast duck and roast pork among others. While there’s plenty of premium ingredients, I thought the fragrant vegetables hidden underneath the treasure pot – radish, baby cabbage, mushrooms and lotus root – are not to be missed.
Those who book online through their website get to enjoy 25% off the festive takeaways. Book online HERE.
Dates: 12 January to 3rd March 2018
My pick: dimsum dishes, Xin’s Traditional Treasure Pot, the passionfruit-tinged Yu Sheng
Park Hotel Clarke Quay
This hotel may not have a dedicated Chinese restaurant but it does its Lunar New Year menus quite well each year. For those being offered for the Year of the Dog, I thought the Poulet Roti (Roast Chicken) was a stand out. The crispy, golden chicken comes drizzled with cream sauce and fresh button mushroom, lending a fresh perspective to an otherwise regular dish. Elsewhere, the Steamed Whole Red Garoupa in Superior Light Soya Sauce comes with bones cleverly extracted for convenience. The dishes are part of set menus that are served in the hotel’s function rooms.
Prices: From S$338++ for a table of four to five
Dates: 8 February to 2 March 2018
My pick: Steamed Whole Red Garoupa in Superior Light Soya Sauce
More information on Chinese New Year offers at Park Hotel Clarke Quay can be found here
Singapore Marriott Tang Plaza
Guests can enjoy the hotel’s Lunar New Year offerings either at Wan Hao or at Marriott Cafe. For buffet lovers, the latter venue will be offering special themed buffets from the 15th to 17 February starting from S$68++ per person for lunch. The spread will then include DIY Yu Sheng, Herbal Chicken, Pork Ribs with Yuzu Sauce, Braised Abalone and more. Among festive takeaways, I liked the Golden Nian Gao Tart with Cempedak (S$32) or with Yam (S$28) that comes in a box of 8. This property tends to do its baked goods pretty well and this year is no exception.
Wan Hao is also notable for offering a luxurious vegetarian Lunar New Year menu this year. The vegetarian version will include Yu Sheng with truffles as well as mock abalone to round up the meal. For meat lovers, the specialty Imperial Pot of Prosperity (S$1088 big / S$688 small) is one of the most luxurious pen cai’s around with no less than 14 premium ingredients.
Dates: From 16 January to 2 March 2018
Prices: From S$68++ per person for lunch buffet at Marriott Cafe
My pick: Golden Nian Gao Tart with Cempedak or Yam is excellent
More information on Chinese New Year offers at Singapore Marriott Tang Plaza can be found here
The Andre Fu designed Cassia at Capella presents a delightful assortment of compelling dishes this year with what is one of the most elegant settings to celebrate the Year of the Dog. Unlike other venues, Cassia will have its seasonal menu available only during the two week period of Chinese New Year starting from the eve (15th Feb). The dishes included are pretty strong this season from starters to desserts with little fillers, if any. The nourishing Double-boiled Thick Chicken Broth with Fish Maw, Duo of Scallops and Flower Mushrooms (S$38 per person, sea cucumber included in seasonal ala carte menu but not set menu) stands as the best soup I’ve tasted for the season and will be available on most of the set menus starting from S$88++ per person.
The Steamed Cod Fish with Black Garlic and Light Soya Sauce (S$26) is another highlight. The fragrant scent of garlic was apparent from the moment the dish was served to me and did not disappoint upon first bite with the melt in your mouth tenderness of the cod. Fortunately, this is also part of the regular menu which guests can enjoy all year round.
Dates: 15 February to 2nd March 2018
Prices: From S$88++ per person for the set menu
My pick: Steamed Cod Fish with Black Garlic and Light Soya Sauce, Double Boiled Thick Chicken Broth with Fish Maw, Scallops and Mushrooms,
You can check out more details of Capella Singapore’s Chinese New Year offers here
Villa Samadhi (Tamarind Hill)
Tamarind Hill, the Thai restaurant in Villa Samadhi, is poised to offer a delectable Chinese New Year offering this year with a twist. Executive Chef Wanthana Nikonsaen has prepared a special set menu with Thai-infused flavors so diners can expect red curry and hot and sour soup interspersed with Braised Pork Knuckles, Salted Egg Yolk Prawns and Longevity Noodles. The Yu Sheng (S$38 for small / S$68 for large) is notable for having a tamarind-based dressing.
Dates: 15 January to 2nd March 2018
Prices: S$88 per person for the set menu
Reservations: +65 6278 6364
Pan Pacific Singapore
Pan Pacific Singapore has what is perhaps the most holistic Chinese New Year offering this season with 4 of their dining venues – Edge, Keyaki, Pacific Marketplace and Hai Tien Lo – launching seasonal selections for the Year of the Dog.
For buffet lovers, Edge will be offering a special Chinese New Year themed buffet from 15th Feb to 2nd March with an enhanced spread that will include DIY Yu Sheng, Roast Suckling Pig, Coffee Pork Ribs and Five Spiced Roasted Chicken. For something more traditional, Hai Tien Lo rolls out its dependable array of Yu Sheng and Treasure Pot including the Classic Fortune Treasure Pot (S$328 for small / S$478 for large). The Yu Sheng this year is notable for having Imperial Swiftlet’s Nest (S$128 for small / S$188 for large).
Not to be missed is the delicious Homemade Kumquat Sugee Cake (S$58) which is available as a takeaway item from Pacific Marketplace.
Dates: From 22 January to 2nd March 2018
Prices: From S$72++ for Chinese New Year Lunch Buffet at Edge / From S$138.80 for the set menu at Hai Tien Lo
My pick: Homemade Kumquat Sugee Cake
More information on Chinese New Year offers at Pan Pacific Singapore here
Ritz Carlton Millenia Singapore
The one Michelin starred Summer Pavilion will be launching five to eight course lunch and dinner menus starting from S$88++ per person. Festive dishes will include abalone and black caviar yu sheng, double-boiled Japanese geoduck clam superior soup with bamboo pith and black goji berries, and the Duo of Prawn. Diners celebrating the first 15 days of the Lunar New Year at Summer Pavilion will also receive a set of exclusive Ritz-Carlton red packets, and a pair of Mandarin oranges, per reservation. Elsewhere, Colony will be holding Lo Hei lunch and dinner buffets. Savour culinary delights such as the creamy jumbo crab with herbed crust, sea whelk noodles in superior chicken broth, cognac-infused lobster bisque and braised pork leg with yam.
Dates: 29 January to 2nd March 2018
Prices: From S$88 per person at Summer Pavilion / From S$78 per person at Colony
Mandarin Oriental Singapore
Back by popular demand is Cherry Garden’s luxurious Pen Cai – Singapore’s largest traditional ‘basin dish’, weighing more than 25 kg and measuring up to 45 centimetres in diameter. Topped with premium ingredients, the pot symbolises overflowing goodness, featuring four-head abalone, lobsters, scallops, sea cucumbers, prawns, dried oyster rolls, conpoy, dace fillet, roasted duck, lotus chicken, roasted pork belly; Cantonese pork sausages, mushrooms, wolfberries and black moss.
Dates: 1st February to 2nd March 2018
Man Fu Yuan’s Chinese New Year offerings is typically among my most awaited during the season. Their Barbecued Whole Suckling Pig, my favorite from last year, is making a return. The season also marks the introduction of a couple of new ala carte dishes including Crispy Noodles with Lobster; Braised Green Lip Abalone and Fish Maw; Braised Sea Cucumber; Double-boiled Black Truffle Soup; and Superior Bird’s Nest.
InterContinental Singapore will also have a number of takeaway items. From 5 January to 2 March 2018, guests may select from a showcase of highlights such as the Man Fu Yuan Abundance Treasure Pot, and the Triple Happiness feast comprising three of Man Fu Yuan’s signature dishes for a perfect celebration at home for up to 15 guests. There will also be a Prosperity Gift Hamper filled with delicacies like Superior Bird’s Nest; Abalone; Riondo Sesto Senso Prosecco; home-made Pineapple Tarts; Almond Cookies; and Nian Gao.
Guests enjoy 15% early bird savings when they place their orders between 21 and 31 January 2018, and enjoy an additional 5%privilege when they order online here.
Dates: From 1st Feb to 2nd March 2018 for the festive menu / From 5th Jan to 2nd March 2018 for the takeaway items
My pick: Roasted Whole Suckling Pig, Man Fu Yuan Abundance Treasure Pot
Grand Hyatt Singapore
While this hotel has no standalone Chinese restaurant, special Chinese New Year menus will grace mezza9 as well as Straits Kitchen during the festive season. Expect the likes of a “sustainable” Yu Sheng, topped off with Norwegian Atlantic salmon and Mediterranean sea bass. A highlight from their kitchen this year is the claypot braised MSC-certified wild abalone, mushrooms, broccoli and superior stock. It features exclusive use of the world’s first sustainable wild abalone, imported from the Western Australia Abalone Fishery. This is the first abalone fishery in the world to be awarded the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification for the internationally desired and hand-collected species of greenlip abalone, brownlip abalone and roe.
Over at Straits Kitchen, a special halal buffet will be served on the 15th and 16th Feb. All-time favourites include double boiled ‘Buddha Jump over the wall’ soup, braised dried oyster with black moss, chicken feet, dark soy sauce and superior sauce, and crispy-fried red garoupa with baoling mushrooms, roasted garlic and dried chilli. Each table will also be served a Yu Sheng platter to top off their Chinese New Year feasting.
Dates: From 5th Feb to 3rd March 2018 at mezza9 / 15 to 16 Feb for Straits Kitchen
Prices: S$68 (lunch) and S$88 (dinner) per adult
Destination Singapore Beach Road (Folklore)
For a different kind of Chinese New celebration, Folklore at Destination Singapore Beach Road will be offering a limited period Tok Panjang buffet, a Peranakan-themed feast consisting of heartwarming dishes such as Fish Maw Soup, Peranakan Prawn Salad and Bakwan Kepiting among others. I have tried some of the highlights and thought the sour Babi Pongteh was a standout as was the flavorful Itek Teem (duck stew).
Dates: 15 Feb to 2nd March 2018
Prices: From S$68++ per adult for dinner buffet / from S$18.80 for set lunch