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7 restaurants where you can enjoy auspicious CNY meals

Celebrate the Year of the Dragon with your family by feasting on sumptuous dishes rich in significance and flavour at these restaurants, some of which offer discounts for HomeTeamNS members.

PHOTOS: SWATOW CITY; ORCHID SEAFOOD; XIAO MU DENG; SUM DIM SUM; BAN HENG; KENG ENG KEE (KEK) SEAFOOD; YAN PALACE

TEXT: THERESE TAY

Chinese New Year (CNY) feasting is a joyous tradition celebrated by families to usher in prosperity and good fortune for the coming year. In Singapore, symbolic dishes and treats such as yu sheng (raw fish salad) and nian gao (sweet glutinous rice cake) — which denote abundance, prosperity, and happiness — are shared among loved ones amid a convivial atmosphere.

We’ve rounded up restaurants — including some that offer delectable discounts for HomeTeamNS members — for a communal dining experience replete with the usual symbolism-laden suspects, as well as lesser-known dishes.  

Swatow City

Located at HomeTeamNS Bukit Batok, Swatow City is well known for its authentic Teochew-style seafood dishes. Their use of light seasoning is one of the hallmarks of Teochew cooking, which seeks to bring out the natural flavours of the ingredients. Signature offerings include Teochew Cold Crab, Steamed Pomfret, and Braised Superior Shark’s Fin, which are all CNY mainstays. For a truly sumptuous feast, order their Grandeur Reunion Prosperity Fortune Pot Takeaway Combo Set which includes a dish containing premium ingredients such as abalone, sea cucumber and dried scallops, along with prawns and pig’s trotter— as well as yu sheng with smoked salmon and kampung chicken in Teochew bean sauce. Don’t forget to bring home the restaurant’s Delicious Crafted Pineapple Tarts ($20+ for a box of eight).

HomeTeamNS members enjoy 20% discount for dine-in ala carte, dim sum, and non-promotional items (Not applicable on 9, 11, and 12 February 2024). 

Orchid Live Seafood

Famously known as the home of the original Lobster Porridge — which is more a pao fan (rice steeped in a rich seafood broth) rather than congee — Orchid Live Seafood’s HomeTeamNS Khatib branch offers several signature dishes that customers keep returning for. These include the Steven Chicken, which is marinated with marmite and honey and deep-fried with a crispy batter. Also don’t miss their Abalone Yu Sheng and Boston Lobster Yu Sheng, which will elevate your lou hei sesson.

 HomeTeamNS members enjoy 10% off the total bill (applicable for regular menu only).

Xiao Mu Deng

Sharing a hotpot meal with loved ones is a quintessential Singaporean CNY tradition. What’s not to love about cooking and enjoying your food together over a bubbling pot of nourishing soup with all the fixings? At Xiao Mu Deng, you can partake in this delicious ritual without having to fuss with clean-up. The restaurant at HomeTeamNS Bedok Reservoir offers interesting Chongqing-style side dishes such as Pickled Pepper Kidney, Knife Slap Cucumber (cucumber salad with a tangy sauce), and Tin Foil Roasted Pig Brain Flower (grilled pig brains).

HomeTeamNS members enjoy 15% off the bill (applicable for non-promotional items).

Sum Dim Sum

Though not a conventional CNY dining destination, you can certainly create your own traditions with family and friends at the popular Sum Dim Sum restaurant, which is located at HomeTeamNS Bedok Reservoir. It boasts a large variety of tasty handmade dim sum, including their signature Tiffany Blue XL Prawn Dumplings as well as branch-exclusive items such as Century Egg Prawn Paste, Jin Qian Bao (mushroom-filled steamed dumplings), and Steamed Fresh Leopard Grouper.

HomeTeamNS members enjoy 15% off the bill (applicable for non-promotional items).

Ban Heng

Established in 1972, the Ban Heng group of restaurants has gained a reputation for serving some of the best Teochew and Cantonese cuisine on the island. Its large range of reunion dinner and CNY celebration packages — currently available for bookings — include traditional favourites such as Steamed Live Soon Hock with Superior Soya Sauce in Hong Kong Style, Buddha Jumps Over The Wall, and Sweetened Yam Paste in Teochew Style.

Keng Eng Kee (KEK) Seafood

This popular zi char (cooked food) restaurant is rightfully beloved for its no-nonsense, boldly flavoured stir fries that are full of wok hei (smoky) goodness. Must-order dishes include their Coffee Pork Ribs and Moonlight Hor Fun, which is topped with a raw egg yolk. KEK is offering more elegant dishes for CNY, which are no less delicious. Items on the CNY set menus include Premium Collagen Soup and Tobiko Seafood Ee Fu Noodles.

Yan Palace

This Chinatown mainstay has been operating at Hong Lim Complex for decades, where it made a name for itself with its delicious Cantonese cooking and Hong Kong-inspired dim sum. Its CNY set menus, which will be offered at both the Hong Lim Complex and Warren Golf & Country Club branches, feature down-to-earth dishes and premium items such as Roasted Suckling Pig, Roasted ‘Pi Pa’ Duck, Stir Fried Scallop with Broccoli & Macadamia Nuts, and Double Boiled Hasma with Dried Longan & Lotus Seeds.

Auspicious CNY Dishes

Learn the significance behind these Chinese New Year delicacies.

Pen cai: Also known as “fortune pot”, this dish symbolises good fortune and prosperity. A labour of love, it features eight stacked layers of premium seafood and other ingredients, such as roasted pork belly, prawns, and large mushrooms.

Yu sheng: Essentially a raw fish salad, the communal dish denotes prosperity and good tidings in the way it is eaten: besides adding the dish components in a specific sequence while shouting meaningful Chinese couplets, diners also spout various auspicious sayings and wishes as they toss it before eating.

Nian gao: Pronounced in Mandarin, nian gao also sounds like “a higher year” which is loosely translated to mean “a better year”. Legend has it that the sweet and sticky glutinous rice cake was created to seal the mouth of the Kitchen God shut to prevent him from bad-mouthing households to the Jade Emperor.

Tang yuan: The round shape and mandarin pronunciation of the filled glutinous rice balls allude to a reunion with loved ones. Thus, it’s said that eating tang yuan brings good luck to families.

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