Celebrate Lunar New Year by feasting at these fine establishments.
SINGAPORE (JAN 17): The smell of tangerines is in the air and debates on where to get the best pineapple tarts have started. This can only mean that Lunar New Year is around the corner. And a big part of every Lunar New Year is the food. Options has short-listed eight places for you to hold your prosperity toss and enjoy a reunion meal with your loved ones.
Lunar New Year is never complete without a fish dish as it symbolises ample surplus. This year, ensure you get more than your fill of Yàn’s Steamed Star Grouper with Yunnan preserved vegetables and cordyceps flower. The dish brims with well wishes for auspiciousness and good health; abundance is represented by the wild-caught fish, which is filleted and arranged in the shape of a dragon to symbolise power, strength, and good luck. Cordyceps flowers are also believed to replenish one’s energy and strengthen the immune system. If feasting at home is more your thing, opt to take away the Yàn Harvest Pen Cai ($280 for five persons; $560 for 10 per person). This grand claypot of 18 ingredients is set to be the highlight at all reunion tables, whether at Yàn or at home. Available for dine-in too, this dish must be ordered at least two days in advance.
Toss to good fortune with Racines’ duo of auspicious Yu Sheng. The Traditional Yu Sheng ($108+) features a harmonious dance of pickled chayote, cornichons and kohlrabi that coalesces with shredded celeriac, caviar lime and homemade cured trout. Meanwhile, the Luxe Abalone Yu Sheng ($138+) brings a touch of opulence with generous helpings of premium sliced abalone. You may even pick your own yusheng dressing here – authentic plum dressing, a balanced variant infused with yuzu, or a sweet and spicy Thai-style oriental option. The two yusheng dishes are available for dine-in and takeaway. Many associate the Lunar New Year with pineapple tarts. At Racines, you’ll be happy to know that you can get your hands on executive pastry chef Sam Leong’s best-selling pineapple tarts with a choice of two flavours: subtly sweet and tangy Coconut Malibu or savoury and creamy Foie Gras.
Celebrate Lunar New Year with a twist at V-Dining, a new concept by V-ZUG. Dispense with the traditional in favour of an inventive fine dining experience that brings a fusion of East and West in the best way possible—featuring a new take on the classic yusheng with dehydrated fruit (made specially with V-Zug appliances) and a sumptuous eightcourse menu that includes the delectable Drunken Chicken with wolfberry and shaoxing wine; a savoury and rich Double-boiled Crab Meat Soup with black fungus, tofu, and egg; and perfectly cooked and seasoned Steamed Cod with leeks, Chinese parsley, ginger, and wolfberries. A true standout of the menu is roast pork belly served three ways with mustard, apple sauce, and seafood sauce. Its crispy crackling skin and melt-in-your-mouth layer of fat are absolutely delightful. The menu starts at $128++ per person for an eight-course meal, and goes up to $1,608++ for a 10-course meal for 10 persons.
If you’re a traditionalist, Lunar New Year would be best spent at the famous Grand Shanghai restaurant, with a menu that sticks close to the roots of fine Shanghainese and Cantonese cuisines. Priced from $588++ to $2,888++ for four to 10 persons respectively, usher in the Year of the Rat with an exquisite eight- or nine-course meal of elaborate culinary creations prepared with the finest ingredients from around the world. Feast on standout dishes such as Prosperity Yu Sheng, a classic elevated by fresh and premium seafood like Australian lobster and threehead abalone; six-head Abalone Fortune Pot, a rich and nourishing broth packed with a medley of abalone, sea cucumber, scallop, prawn and pork knuckle; the Crispy Smoked Duck, the restaurant’s signature duck dish infused with osmanthus tea-leaf; and a Shanghainese take on the traditional Nian Gao with Cane Sugar, a sticky rice-cake lovingly hand-pounded, symbolising increasing prosperity each year. Each menu differs according to the price range.
The Square Restaurant
Enjoy an imperial feast at the Lunar New Year buffet at The Square Restaurant at Novotel Clarke Quay. From now till Feb 8, treat yourself and your loved ones to the tantalising spread featuring assorted wok-fried salted egg prawn, roasted meats, poached broccoli with dried oysters and black moss, and Hong Kong-style steamed pomfret. There is even a DIY kong bak pau station. You can also enjoy The Square’s signature and all-time favourites, such as the seafood on ice, as well as The Square signature laksa and chilli or pepper crab. Don’t forget to end your meal on a sweet note – the dessert table is laden with locally inspired delights, such as pandan egg tart, taro butter cake, bak kwa chicken floss roll, golden sesame ball, pan-fried nian gao and many more. Prices start from $48++ for the lunch buffet from Mondays to Saturdays and $68++ on Sundays, while the dinner buffet starts from $68++ from Mondays to Sundays, but $78++ on Jan 24 and $88++ on Jan 25 and 26.
What is Lunar New Year without everyone gathering around a boiling pot of ingredients? Enjoy a hot pot experience that also symbolises wealth year-round with the Yunnans Prosperity Treasure Hot Pot (from $168 for six persons). The hot pot broth here is specially boiled for six hours, using aged hen, aged duck, pork bones and aged dry-cured ham. This sets the base for you to cook the premium-grade ingredients that come with this dish, including Yunnan wheat pumpkin, pig skin, prawn, sea cucumber, abalone and morchella or morel mushrooms. Another winning dish here is the Signature Steam Pot Chicken with Matsutake Mushrooms and Morchella, which is available as part of Yunnan’s Lunar New Year menus priced from $268++. This incredible soup is brewed using a unique technique that does not require a single drop of water. Instead, the chicken is pressure-steamed for three hours, and the highly prized matsutake mushroom lends a spicy, aromatic fragrance and tantalising flavour. It pairs impeccably with the delicate and meaty morchella. The soup is surprisingly clear, delicate, nourishing and robust without any hint of greasiness.
Toast to longevity this festive season with the Longevity Noodles with Baby Abalones and Roasted Iberico Pork Loin ($201.14 nett for six persons) at both Min Jiang outlets in Goodwood Park Hotel and Dempsey. A contemporary twist melding both Asian and Western influences, this dish uses al dente pasta instead of the traditional Chinese egg noodles. The pasta is tossed in an umami-laden combination of soya sauce, shallot oil and chopped dried kombu, topped with braised baby abalones and chopped chives. The tender Iberico pork is marinated overnight before baking. Over at Min Jiang Dempsey, outlet-exclusive dishes are available for takeaway, such as the Min Jiang at Dempsey Five Fortune Takeaway Platter ($104.85 nett), Braised Pork Belly with Tientsin Cabbage Roll and Sea Treasures in Claypot ($318.85 nett, includes claypot) and Fortune Delight Crispy Silver Hill Duck with Glutinous Rice ($211.85 nett). Available for both dine-in and takeaway at Min Jiang Dempsey are the Auspicious Deep-fried Pork Knuckle with Pickled Cabbage ($78++ for dine-in; $83.45 nett for takeaway) and Claypot Reunion Rice (from $78++ for dine-in; from $83.45 nett for takeaway).
Although Lunar New Year is mostly celebrated by the Chinese, Muslim friends can also be invited to celebrate the festivities at Blue Jasmine, which is pork-free. Blue Jasmine brings together Chinese and Thai cuisine for a Lunar New Year Eve buffet dinner($58++) that bursts with flavour. Begin the meal with a prosperity toss with a Thai twist. The Thai Chin Yu Sheng ($68++) features slices of silky salmon gravlax on a bed of vegetables and fruit including the quintessentially Thai green mango and papaya alongside pomelo and pickles. After the yusheng fun is over, the generous buffet awaits. It features festive specials, such as the smashed cucumber salad with seafood, fish maw soup, steamed grouper; spiced braised duck, claypot rice, and the wan tan hor fun from the live station that will cook the noodles upon order. Also, don’t forget to head over to the dessert station, which includes sweets such as mango sticky rice, durian sticky rice, and almond bean curd with mixed fruits, and sweet glutinous rice ball soup.