Chinese New Year in 2019 will happen on the 5th of February and according to the Chinese zodiac, the coming lunar year will be the “Year of the Pig.” For an auspicious festive treat, many hotels and restaurants in Singapore are outdoing each other in featuring the very best for reunion dinners, lo heis (yu sheng), pen cai as well as festive takeaways. As with previous years, diners are spoilt for choice when it comes to bagging the most premium yu sheng or pen cai with pretty unique variations to choose from. I’ve seen relatively novel ingredients being incorporated such as truffles, imperial ham and even caviar while others are sticking to their traditional best sellers. Whatever it is you’re after, you will certainly have to book in advance for that reunion dinner venue during this busy dining period. Here’s a guide on this year’s offers:
InterContinental Singapore (Man Fu Yuan)
With one of the finest suckling pigs in Singapore, Man Fu Yuan is probably one of the most apt places to celebrate the Year of the Pig. This year, the beloved pork crackling has been incorporated into the yu sheng with the Prosperity Yu Sheng. This new 60-inch creation also comes with Hokkaido scallops, salmon and apple sauce dressing, and is auspiciously shaped in the form of the Chinese character “hai” (亥). This is only available for dine-in and orders have to be made at least 3 days prior to dining. Aside from this, diners who order some of the more indulgent set menus such as the Wealth prix-fixe menu can also look forward to bird’s nest soup in pumpkin; braised five-head abalone with sea cucumber and flower mushrooms; and lobster egg noodles with X.O. chilli sauce, among other delightful delicacies.
Top Pick: Lobster Egg Noodles with XO Chili Sauce; Prosperity Yu Sheng
Dates: Until 19 February 2019
Reservations: HERE (early-bird discounts also available for takeaway items)
Park Hotel Clarke Quay
Park Hotel Clarke Quay may not have a dedicated Chinese restaurant but that does not stop it from having fully booked Chinese New Year banquets each season. Held at the hotel’s meeting rooms, the festive set meals here can be customized for smaller groups of 4 to 5 diners as well as large groups of 10 diners per table. A highlight for reunion dinner this year is the Money Bag. This intricately designed dish features plump, golden brown beancurd pockets that are stuffed with succulent chicken, mushroom, bamboo shoot, and a traditional delicacy – Jin Hua Ham. These “bags” are also served alongside broccoli. One of the most impressive desserts among the CNY offerings I’ve tried in 2019 is the Chilled Coconut Pudding. This elegant white, creamy coconut pudding is surrounded by golden yellow passionfruit pearls which gives an added crunch to this sweet ending.
Top Pick: Money Bags
Dates: 25 January to 19 February 2019
Singapore Marriott Tang Plaza (Wan Hao)
For the coming Year of the Pig, Singapore Marriott Tang Plaza will be showcasing its festive offerings via special dishes in its Chinese restaurant, Wan Hao, and at Marriott Cafe. Prosperity set menus for reunion dinners start from S$108.80 per person. Highlights at Wan Hao this year include Lobster, Sea Urchin, Hokkaido Scallop, Salmon, Tuna and Caviar Yu Sheng; Mini Abalone, Salmon & Crispy Fish Skin Yu Sheng; Braised Bird’s Nest with Assorted Dried Seafood Broth & Saffron; Double-boiled Fish Maw with Boletus Mushroom in Almond Superior Stock; Ginseng Marinated Irish Roast Duck; Deep-fried Lobster with Passionfruit Mayonnaise & Cereal; Deep-fried Tiger Prawn with Chicken Floss & Salted Egg; Braised 5-Head Abalone with Sea Cucumber & Seasonal Vegetables and more.
I still vividly remember Wan Hao’s exquisite CNY sweet treats and I’m delighted to see it making another appearance this year. I am definitely looking forward to the Golden Nian Gao Tarts with Green Tea ($32nett, 8 pieces); Golden Nian Gao Tarts with Cempedak ($32nett, 8 pieces) and Golden Nian Gao Tarts with Yam ($30nett, 8 pieces).
Top Pick: Golden Nian Gao Tarts (all flavors),
Dates: 14 January to 19 February 2019
Sofitel Singapore City Centre (Racines)
I personally have fond memories of Racines’ Pen Cai being the best I tried last year so imagine my delight to see the Seafood Abalone Treasure Pot with Braised Cabbage and Black Moss (S$488 for big order up to 10 diners / S$298 for small order for 6 to 8 diners) back in the menu. Serving up to 10 diners, the abundant treasures in the pot include abalone, sea cucumber, king prawn, Hokkaido scallop, fried oyster, flower mushroom, fish maw, roasted pork, roasted French duck breast, truffles, Chinese gluten and black moss.
Aside from the takeaway items, Racines will also be offering festive CNY set lunch and dinner menus across the festive period starting from S$68 per person A sample set menu includes the following:
Prosperity Set Lunch at $68++ per person (min of 2 diners)
This set is teeming with savoury delicacies comprised of Traditional Homemade Cured Trout Yu Sheng With Condiments; Boiled Seafood Treasures with Shredded Sea Cucumber, Crab Meat and Dried Scallop; Steamed Compress Chicken with Chinese Mushroom and Truffles; Steamed Selection of Waxed Meats with Fragrant Rice; and Steamed Mini Koi Fish Nian Gao with Chrysanthemum Gelee to complete the meal.
Top Pick: Truffle Pen Cai
Dates: 21 January to 22 February 2019
The Fullerton Hotel Singapore (Jade)
Jade at The Fullerton Hotel Singapore has put up my favorite dining ensemble for Chinese New Year 2019 (Year of the Pig). My overall favorite dish this season is their Full of Luck Deep-fried Chilean Seabass with Hawthorn Sauce (S$280) which is best shared between 6 to 8 persons. It consists of a whole fish carefully sliced in a criss-cross fasion then deep-fried in hot oil to a golden crisp. It’s then slathered with delightful sweet and sour hawthorne sauce and sprinkled with pine nuts for a bit of a kick. Just thinking about it makes me hungry! Another highlight is the Braised and Roasted Pork Belly in Steamed Buns. Diners essentially get to enjoy pork cooked two ways here – braised and roasted with the former featuring chef’s secret sauce.
Top Pick: Full of Luck Deep Fried Chilean Seabass with Hawthorn Sauce, Braised and Roasted Pork Belly in Steamed Buns
Dates: 21st January to 19th February 2019
Reservations: 6877 8911/8912 or [email protected]
Mercure Singapore Bugis
Song Garden at Mercure Singapore Bugis is where you should head to in order to sample some one-of-a-kind dishes this Chinese New Year. Among the more interesting dishes I’ve tried this year is the Golden Pillow White Pepper Pork Spare Ribs Bun. It comes served in this huge golden baked homemade bun with pork spare ribs actually hidden beneath. The ribs are slow braised till tender with Executive Chef Wong’s homemade recipe of white pepper & shiitake mushroom sauce, seriously reminding me of the American chowder in a bread bowl concept. For something more traditional, Song Garden’s popular Lobster and Pumpkin Soup served in a hot stone bowl never disappoints.
Top Pick: Lobster and Pumpkin Soup
Dates: 15 January to 19 February 2019
Reservations: 6521 9299 or [email protected]
Hotel Fort Canning Singapore
This year, Hotel Fort Canning Singapore will be offering a number of festive menus that can be served in its lavish ballrooms and other function spaces. Chinese New Year reunion dinner sets are priced from as low as S$68 per person for a minimum 2 persons to luxurious meals priced at S$968 for 10 persons. Highlights this year include Signature Fortune Yu Sheng (Salmon), Steamed Black Garoupa in Hong Kong Style, Braised Baby Abalone with Bai Ling Mushrooms and Spinach, Sautéed Scallops with Hon Shimeiji Mushrooms and Asparagus in X.O. Sauce, Deep-fried Prawns coated with Wasabi Mayonnaise, Roasted Crispy Chicken, Wok-fried Mee Sua with Shredded Duck Meat and Beansprouts, among others. Desserts include Cream of Red Bean with Lotus Seeds, Lily Buds and Glutinous Rice Balls (tangyuan) and Cream of Yam Paste with Gingko Nut and Pumpkin.
Dates: 7 January to 19 February 2019
Reservations: 6559 6796
Shangri-la Singapore (The Line)
Those looking for a lunar new year themed buffet should look no further than The Line, the popular buffet restaurant of Shangri-la Singapore. More than 25 new dishes incorporating Shanghainese, Cantonese, Szechuan and Singaporean sensibilities are set to appear, with the likes of Shanghai Braised Pork Trotter, Szechuan Mala Fish, Imperial Seafood Porridge, Nyonya Curry Chicken and Chilli Crayfish. Shangri-la Singapore also has one of the longest duration for CNY 2019 dining offers as their festive buffet at The Line lasts until the end of February.
Dates: 10 January to 28 February 2019
Reservations: 6213 4398 or [email protected]
Carlton Hotel Singapore (Wah Lok)
One of the most popular venues for Chinese new year reunion dinners, Wah Lok will again be making available its signature Alaskan Crab Lo Hei and Hamachi Yu Sheng in “Soon Tak” Style. To complete the festive feast, the traditional three-layer Longevity Poon Choi will do great for family gatherings or business dinners. This luxurious dish includes whole abalone, sea cucumber, scallops, prawns, roasted duck and more. Wah Lok’s latest festive creation, Auspicious Golden Pot, on the other hand, is a delectable alternative for the traditional Poon Choi. Packed with premium ingredients such as Deer Sinew, Goose Web, Morel, Pork Ribs, Fish Maw, Tianjin Cabbage, Chestnut and Black Moss, the Auspicious Golden Pot is available in servings for 4 or 6 persons.
Top Pick: Alaskan Crab Lo Hei and Longevity Poon Choi
Dates: 21 January to 19 February 2019
Bay Hotel Singapore
This hotel across Vivocity is known for its seasonal food offerings that attract attention. Last year, it launched a blue turkey for Christmas. It does not disappoint with its Chinese new year offering either as it debuts what is probably the most novel idea for yu sheng this season – the Zhen Zhu (Pearl) Lo Hei. The hotel makes no qualms about its intentions to ride on the Bubble Tea trend by incorporating tapioca pearls as part of the Lo Hei. It even comes with homemade gula Melaka and tamarind sauce as dressing.
Dates: 21 January to 22 February 2019
Reservations: 6818 6681 or [email protected]
JW Marriott Singapore South Beach
Over at this Beach Road property, its three restaurants – namely Madame Fan, Akira Back and Beach Road Kitchen will all be whipping up something special for the Lunar New Year. While I personally do love all three dining outlets, I have to say my favorite is Madame Fan. The Chinese restaurant will be offering lunch sets that start from S$78 per person inclusive of signature dimsum offerings like the Sri Lankan Crab Wanton and the Scallops Siu Mai alongside the Double Boiled Four Treasures Soup (a personal top pick) and Australian Rib Eye Pepper Beef. Dinner menus start from S$128 per person for six courses which then include Fortune Chicken poached in Herbs and Supreme Stock as well as Steamed Silver Cod with Chinese Ham and Ginger Sauce
Dates: 16th January to 19th February 2019
Reservations: 6818 1921 or [email protected]
St. Regis Singapore (Yan Ting)
I vividly remember Yan Ting, the Cantonese restaurant at St. Regis Singapore, as having one of the best pen cai I’ve tried in past years so this year’s Lunar New Year Pun Choy (S$488, serves 6) certainly comes with high expectations. It’s also a value for money takeaway option as each order comes with a Medium Prosperity Yu Sheng, Fried Glutinous Rice with Preserved Meat and even an Osmanthus Cake. For dine-in customers, the set menu this year has Braised Sea Cucumber with Parma Ham and Cabbage in Golden Broth, Pan-seared Kurobuta Pork with Homemade Sauce, and Braised Japanese Noodles with Crab Meat as highlights.
Dates: 21 January to 19 February 2019
Folklore at Destination Singapore Beach Road will once again be offering its Peranakan-themed Lunar New Year menu. This year, guests can look forward to the Peranakan Mee Siam, Banana Bud Salad, Sayur Beremi and a DIY Popiah Set that can comfortably feed 4 diners. A Peranakan festive must-have, the Peranakan Prawn Salad will also be made available during the festive season. End the meal with a Kueh Platter featuring vibrant desserts such as the Apom Berkuah, Ondeh Ondeh and the restaurant’s popular Kueh Kosui.
Dates: 4 February to 19 February 2019
Reservations: 6679 2900
The Westin Singapore
This CBD favorite has rolled out an affordable Lunar New Year buffet to please those looking to dine in 5-star surroundings without breaking the bank (starts from S$35++). Diners can look forward to dishes such as the Mala Seafood Big Fortune Pot; Hawker Wok fried Nian Gao with Fresh Lala; Prawn and Chinese Sausage Fried Rice with Taro and Braised Roasted Duck with Golden Garlic, Black Fungus and a touch of Truffle Oil along with the usual buffet items. For those looking to celebrate at home, The Westin Singapore is also making available its Fortune Yu Sheng which comes with salmon, salmon roe and crispy fish skin.
Dates: Now to 16 February 2019
Reservations: [email protected]
Amara Singapore (Silk Road)
Silk Road at Amara Singapore is famed for its provincial Chinese cuisine – one that it has kept relatively constant over the years. That is perhaps a good thing in this context. I remember dining here 2 years ago and enjoying the same dishes. The Eight Treasures Prosperity Yu Sheng is noted for its spicy flavors, a nod to the cuisine at Silk Road while the Soy Baked Sea Perch with Spinach and Bonito Sauce is perhaps best remembered for its almost melt in your mouth texture.
Dates: Now to 19 February 2019