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Entertainment, Food & Beverage

Dragon offerings

Chinese New Year is around the corner and some eateries are fully booked. LifeStyle tells you which ones are still available for reservations
The Sunday Times - January 1, 2012
By: Rebecca Lynne Tan
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Dragon offerings Dragon-shaped yu sheng from Peony Jade contains 10 types of raw fish and seafood.

Three weeks to Chinese New Year, there is still time to plan for family feasts.

If you want to usher in the auspicious Year of the Dragon with full stomachs from dining at Chinese restaurants here, though, move fast - many are filling up fast.

Popular restaurants - such as Hua Ting in Orchard Hotel, Royal China at the Raffles Hotel, Li Bai Cantonese Restaurant at Sheraton Towers, Summer Palace at The Regent Singapore, and Hai Tien Lo at the Pan Pacific Singapore - have been booked solid for reunion dinners on the eve of the Chinese festival for months.

Hua Ting, for instance, has been booked up since June last year, and many restaurants received bookings for this year during Chinese New Year last year.

This year, the first day of Chinese New Year falls on Jan 23. It ends on Feb 6.

Of the 25 Chinese restaurants, restaurant groups and hotels LifeStyle contacted, most say they are between 60 and 80 per cent full over the new year season. Some are also fully booked on certain days such as the fifth, seventh, eighth and last day of the 15-day festival.

On average, restaurants say bookings started streaming in earlier this year and at a quicker pace than last year - they did not have as many reservations over the same period last Chinese New Year.

And with dining out over the new year on the rise in recent years, more Chinese restaurants in hotels have plans to turn their ballrooms and function rooms into additional dining venues, offering the same festive menus.

Some of these restaurants include Shang Palace at Shangri-La Hotel Singapore, Cherry Garden at Mandarin Oriental Singapore, Yan Ting at The St Regis Singapore, Wan Hao Cantonese Restaurant at the Singapore Marriott Hotel, and Mandarin Court at Mandarin Orchard Singapore. These extra spaces will increase each restaurant's capacity by between 50 and 400 people.

Food-wise, there is no shortage of dragon-themed dishes: from yu sheng in the shape of beautiful fire-breathing dragons to a large golden dragon egg made of salt and filled with delicacies such as abalone and sea cucumber.

Many restaurants are also opting for lobster-centric menus, playing on the crustacean's Chinese characters - long xia - which translates to dragon prawn.

Prices are also getting more grandiose. This year, most restaurants have increased menu prices 5 to 20 per cent from last year. The past couple of years had seen year-on-year price jumps of about 10 to 20 per cent.

Restaurants say the increase is due to hikes in the prices of ingredients.

At Summer Palace at The Regent, for example, the most expensive menu this year is $2,988++ for a table of 10. Last year, it was $600 cheaper.

The hotel's director of communications Camilla Chiam, 35, says prices are about 10 to 15 per cent higher this year and attributes the hike to the increase in the price of raw ingredients.

Demand for items such as abalone and black moss during the festive season often drives prices up, but this year, the demand is coupled with low supply of many seafood items due to recent natural disasters in the region.

Abalone, for example, can cost from $30 a can during off-peak seasons, but in the lead-up to Chinese New Year, the same can cost about 20 per cent more.

Still, restaurants are banking on diners being willing to spend more on special occasion delicacies this year, if current bookings and menu choices are anything to go by. Perhaps, it is a case of the Chinese believing in eating well despite facing a year of tightening belts.

Mandarin Court predicts that its customers will spend about 10 per cent more this year, while Shang Palace has noticed more diners opting for the restaurant's more expensive menus, as well as an increase in spending of about $30 a person.


Supermart takeaways

COLD STORAGE

Where: All Cold Storage outlets islandwide

When: Orders must be placed between now and Jan 12. Collect from Jan 18 to Feb 6.

What: You can make pen cai at home, with ready-made sachets of ingredients at Cold Storage (from $39.80, serves five). Just follow the instructions to heat up the ingredients. Each purchase comes with a complimentary claypot.

There are also yu sheng platters (from $28.80) and a reunion bento - chirashi sushi, where a tray of rice is covered with items such as eel, prawns and scallops ($78.80, serves eight to 10).

Info: Orders must be made at least four working days in advance at any outlet.

 

FAIRPRICE

Where: Selected FairPrice stores including Junction 8, Bukit Timah Plaza, Jurong Point, Tampines Mall

When: Orders must be placed between now and Jan 16. Collect from Jan 13 to 22.

What: FairPrice is offering roast meats such as drunken French poulet, pipa duck and roast pork. Opt for the gourmet happiness platter that includes braised pork knuckle, dang gui duck and drunken French poulet ($57, serves four to six). Yu sheng is also available and priced between $9.99 and $17.30 a serving.

Info: Orders must be placed three days in advance at selected stores. Items can be collected only after noon.

 

 

Available on Chinese New Year's Eve

Peony Jade

Where: Two outlets - Keppel Club, Bukit Chermin Road and Block 3A Clarke Quay, 02-02

When: Jan 10 to Feb 6. Clarke Quay outlet is fully booked on the eve (Jan 22). Tables are still available at Keppel Club on the eve.

What: Dishes include dragon-shaped yu sheng with 10 types of raw fish and seafood such as abalone, swordfish stomach and octopus ($288++), and eight treasures ($298++) encased in a 'golden dragon egg' (right) made of hardened salt which you have to crack open.

Takeaway options: Items listed above are also available for takeaway.

Info: For reservations and takeaways, call 6276-9138 or 6375-5562 (Keppel Club) or 6338-0305 (Clarke Quay). Dine-in and takeaway orders should be placed at least a day in advance.

 

Wan Hao Chinese Restaurant

Where: Singapore Marriott Hotel, 320 Orchard Road

When: Wednesday to Feb 6. The restaurant is fully booked on Jan 30.

What: An eight-course reunion set dinner ranges from $888++ to $1,388++ for a table of eight to 10 people. Dishes include yu sheng with lobster, salmon and abalone, as well as a braised shark's fin soup.

Takeaway options: Pen cai comes in three variations, ranging from $272 for a mushroom pen cai (right) to $888 for a premium one that includes fish maw, dried oysters and abalone.

Info: Call 6831-4615 for reservations. Go to www.singaporemarriott.com/cny/ to download the takeaway order form. For takeaway inquiries, call 6831-4615. Orders must be made at least three days in advance.

 

Man Fu Yuan

Where: InterContinental Singapore, 80 Middle Road

When: Dine-in menus from Jan 9 to Feb 6. Takeaway items are available from now till Feb 6. The restaurant is fully booked on Jan 27 and Feb 6.

What: Dim sum lunch is available on Jan 23, 24, 28, 29, and Feb 5 and 6. The restaurant has a la carte and set menus. Sets start from $108++ a head for a minimum of two people, to $6,888++ for 10 people. Dishes include braised baby abalone and stewed noodle with lobster, ginger and spring onion.

Takeaway options: There are steam boat items such as Australian scallops and dried oyster minced pork ball (from $12 a serving). Other dishes include lobster noodles ($138, serves five), and double-boiled Buddha Jumps Over The Wall with wok-fried glutinous rice and yu sheng ($688, serves five).

Info: For reservations, call 6825-1062 or e-mail sinhb-manfuyuan@interconti.com. For takeaways, call 6825-1059 or 6825-1008, or e-mail sinhb-festive@interconti.com.

Orders should be placed at least two or three working days in advance. Collections must be made by 3pm on the eve of Chinese New Year.

 

Si Chuan Dou Hua

Where: Three outlets - Parkroyal on Beach Road, 7500 Beach Road; UOB Plaza, 80 Raffles Place, 60-01; Parkroyal on Kitchener Road, 181 Kitchener Road

When: Tomorrow to Feb 6

What: Tuck into sakura shrimp yu sheng topped with deep-fried white- bait (from $68++), a 4 to 5kg charcoal-roasted suckling pig ($238++), and pen cai with premium seafood (from $268++, serves four to six).

Takeaway options: Order a box of nian gao (right) in four flavours - traditional, carrot cake with waxed meat and conpoy, red bean with red dates, and water chestnut cake with sugar cane ($28.80). Items listed above are also available for takeaway.

Info: Call 6505-5722 (Parkroyal on Beach Road), 6535-6006 (UOB Plaza), 6428-3170 (Parkroyal on Kitchener Road)

 

Prima Tower Revolving Restaurant

Where: 201 Keppel Road

When: Jan 9 to Feb 6. Closed on Jan 23.

What: Reunion set meals range from $488++ for six persons, to $2,888++ for 10. These include Peking duck and braised shark's fin. Other items to order include Peking duck ($80++, served two ways) and a Peking-style superior treasures fortune pot that includes shark's fin, abalone and sea cucumber ($728++, serves 10 and must be ordered two days in advance).

Info: Call 6272-8822

  

Jing Restaurant

Where: One Fullerton, 1 Fullerton Road, 01-02/03

When: Dine-in menus from Jan 9 to Feb 6, closed for lunch on Jan 23. Takeaway set is available from Jan 16 to Feb 6.

What: Set menus from $98++ a person, for a minimum of two people, to $2,388++ for a seven-course meal for 10 that includes lobster yu sheng, Peking duck and mini Buddha Jumps Over The Wall. Other delights include abalone pen cai ($468++, serves four).

Takeaway options: Opt for a three-course takeaway set ($318+, serves four to six). Dishes include salmon yu sheng, abalone pen cai, and supreme fried rice with Chinese sausage and black moss wrapped in a lotus leaf.

Info: For reservations and orders, call 6224-0088 or e-mail reservation@jing.sg

 

 

Available on other days

Li Bai Cantonese Restaurant

Where: Sheraton Towers Singapore, 39 Scotts Road

When: Saturday to Feb 6. Fully booked on the eve.

What: Set menus start from $118++ a person, with a minimum of two diners. Sets for eight to 10 people range between $818++ and $2,388++. This year, tuck into prawns done two ways in the same dish - sauteed prawns and asparagus served with salted egg-yolk prawns. Other favourites include Buddha Jumps Over The Wall and pen cai.

Takeaway options: Items include yu sheng (from $48), radish cake ($38), Buddha Jumps Over The Wall ($418, serves four) and a fortune pot with treasures that include abalone, fish maw and goose web ($328, serves six) and water chestnut cake with osmanthus fragrance ($33).

Info: For reservations and takeaway orders, call 6839-5623.

 

Hai Tien Lo

Where: Pan Pacific Singapore, 7 Raffles Boulevard

When: Jan 9 to Feb 6. Fully booked on the eve

What: Set menus start from $98++ a person for a minimum of two people, to $888 for a table of 10. Specialities include a dragon-shaped lobster and tuna yu sheng, drizzled with a special truffle sauce ($388++, serves 10).

Takeaway options: Seven types of yu sheng that range from $38 to $388 a portion, suckling pig ($288) and osmanthus koi-shaped nian gao ($28.80).

Info: For reservations and takeaways, call 6826-8240 or e-mail celebrate.sin@panpacific.com 

 

Yan Ting

Where: The St. Regis Singapore, 29 Tanglin Road

When: Jan 12 to Feb 6. The restaurant is fully booked on the eve, but space is still available for tables of 10 in the hotel's ballroom.

What: Set lunch and dinner menus for a minimum of two people start from $98++ a person for six courses. Dishes include sauteed lobster in black bean sauce and braised pig's trotters with moss. Pen cai is also available.

Takeaway options: Items include taro (right) and radish cakes ($32.80 each), yu sheng (from $38), braised pork knuckle ($38), pen cai with 12 treasures ($428, serves six) and fried glutinous rice with preserved meat ($38).

Info: For reservations, call 6506-6866 or e-mail dining.singapore@stregis.com. For takeaways, call 6506-6893. Go to www.stregissingapore.com/boutique to download the order form. Takeaway orders must be placed two days ahead.

 

Mandarin Court

Where: Mandarin Orchard Singapore, 333 Orchard Road

When: Jan 13 to Feb 6. Fully booked on the eve

What: It is offering 10 set menus that start from $98++ a person for a minimum of two persons, to $1,888++ for a table of 10. Highlights this year include the baby abalone fortune pot, mini Buddha Jumps Over The Wall, and red bean and green tea glutinous rice balls.

Takeaway options: Items include bak kwa nian gao ($50.80), golden ingot pineapple tarts ($38.80 for eight pieces), yu sheng (from $68), steamed yam cake with dried scallop ($33.80) and a baby abalone fortune pot ($368, serves five to eight).

Info: Call 6831-6285 or 6831-6262, or e-mail mandarincourt.orchard@meritushotels.com. Takeaway orders must be placed three working days in advance.

 

Summer Palace

Where: The Regent Singapore, 1 Cuscaden Road

When: Jan 16 to Feb 6

What: The restaurant is offering 10 new set menus for the Dragon year, which range from $788++, to $2,988++ for 10 people. New dishes include prosperity bird's nest and pear yu sheng ($138++), and braised sea cucumber with mushroom (above), dried oysters and black moss in winter melon ($98++).

Takeaway options: Opt for the takeaway set that comes with a premium pen cai with 16 ingredients, salmon yu sheng, and fried glutinous rice with eight treasures ($398++, serves five).

Info: For reservations and orders, call 6725-3288 or 6725-3289, or e-mail summerpalace.rsn@fourseasons.com

 

  

Shang Palace

Where: Shangri-La Hotel Singapore, 22 Orange Grove Road

When: Jan 22 to Feb 6. Shang Palace is fully booked on Jan 22, 23, 30, but the hotel's ballroom is still available on the eve. Orders for festive goodies can be made from now till Jan 21.

What: Reunion dinner set menus are priced at $128+ or $158++ a person, with a free flow of beer, and red and white wine. Dishes include yu sheng, braised bird's nest, crab meat and roe, and braised abalone.

Takeaway options: Treasure pots start from $168 for a vegetarian option. Goodies also include a cake set with nian gao in three flavours and a preserved turnip cake ($68), as well as a cookie set ($88). Last day for collection is Jan 21 at 10pm.

Info: For reservations and order inquiries, call 6213-4473 or 6213-4448

 

Peach Blossoms

Where: Marina Mandarin Singapore, Marina Square, 6 Raffles Boulevard

When: Jan 16 to Feb 6

What: Specially created dishes this year include charcoalgrilled wagyu beef yu sheng with a Hong Kong-style sesame dressing (right), pen cai treasure pot (from $248++), and baked lobster with sliced garlic and white truffle oil. The most popular set dinner is an eight-course ($1,188++ for 10) that includes baked lobster, sea cucumber, Peking duck and salmon yu sheng.

Takeaway options: Items include water chestnut cake with osmanthus nian gao ($28.80), treasures pot (from $248), wagyu beef yu sheng (from $68) and braised Buddha Jumps Over The Wall (from $518).

Info: For reservations, call 6845-1111 or e-mail diningexpress.marina@meritushotels.com. For takeaway orders, call 6845-1118 or e-mail peachblossoms.marina@meritushotels.com. Orders must be made at least three working days in advance.

 

Carousel

Where: Royal Plaza On Scotts, 25 Scotts Road

When: Buffet lunch and dinner from Jan 22 to 24. Takeaway items available from Jan 16 to Feb 6.

What: Highlights such as stir-fried king prawns in spicy citrus lemongrass, fresh garlic with coriander leaves; and slow-cooked boneless duck with bean curd skin and Chinese mushrooms in dark soy sauce. The lunch buffet is $50++ a person, while dinner is priced at $88++ (Jan 22), $75++ (Jan 23) and $62++ (Jan 24).

Takeaway options: Eight treasures lobster yu sheng ($150 for a four to six person serving, $180 for an eight to 10 person serving). Salmon yu sheng starts from $50 a serving.

Info: For reservations and orders, call 6589-7788 or e-mail gourmet@royalplaza.com.sg

 

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