Reunion dinner during Chinese New Year is just about the most important part of the entire holiday.
In Mandarin, the occasion is named Tuan Yuan Fan, which loosely translates to “gathering around the family hearth”, and describes a yearly tradition to take time off and reaffirm the love and respect that binds the family.
This year, celebrations are bound to be different. What used to be hearty, loud affairs have now been scaled down to a maximum of eight guests per table, and even the usual tossing of the Yu Sheng has to be done with masks on and guests not allowed to shout the auspicious phrases too.
Even so, we’re not discouraged. After all, we’re counting our blessings that we’re still able to hosts guests (up to eight a day) and head out to celebrate with some sense of normalcy even amidst a worldwide pandemic. Perhaps you’re even starting to plan for scrumptious reunions throughout the entire 15 days.
Here, the ultimate hitlist of the best CNY reunion dinners to usher in the Year of the Ox.
(Hero and featured image credit: Jade)
Chinese Executive chef Leong Chee Yeng is bringing mouth-watering Cantonese offerings to the reunion dinner this year. Besides the visually-captivating Gold Rush Salmon Yu Sheng, served with Champagne Jelly, Shallot Oil and Kumquat Dressing, other highlights on the menu include The Cornucopia of Wealth, a lavish pen cai that’s quite literally lip-smackingly good. It’s filled with a bounty of braised delights that include premium whole abalone, fish maw, sea cucumber, dried scallops, braised pork trotters, deep-fried pork balls and more.
Jade’s Lunar New Year menus start from S$118++ for a Family Style Set Menu of 5 pax and S$98++ per person for the Individual Set Menu.
Usher in the Year of the Ox at Min Jiang, Goodwood Park’s very own contemporary Sichuan and Cantonese restaurant. There’s nothing like a bowl of heartwarming soup for Chinese New Year, and the Double-boiled Abalone Soup and Eel Fish Maw with handmade Prawn Dumplings and Minced Pork Balls in Claypot here will really hit the spot. A treasure trove of goodies, it features tender Australian 10-head abalone that’s first boiled in a three-hour simmered chicken broth and other ingredients like the collagen-packed Eel Fish Maw, a cleaner-tasting alternative compared to other fish varieties.
Celebrate CNY at Wan Hao, complete with a menu that seeks to the locale for all your heartwarming celebrations this joyous season. Apart from a decadent Yu Sheng of Lobster, Scallop, Salmon, Tuna, Caviar & Crispy Fish Skin (or take your pick from five other types if you’d like), we were thoroughly impressed by the Crispy Pork Trotters with Fermented Red Rice Sauce. The auspicious-coloured trotter comes with a beautifully crackled skin that houses its tender meat, and then served with a rainbow moat of perfectly sliced fruits and vegetables.
This Lunar New Year, Cassia welcomes diners to celebrate a renaissance in Chinese fine dining by taking inspiration from the age-old spice routes in Southern and Western China and the seas around Singapore. From the Fortune Reunion Set Dinner comes decadent dishes like the Braised Bird’s Nest with Duo Caviar in Supreme Broth and the Stewed Ee-Fu Noodle with King Prawn in Superior Stock, perfect for those looking to really treat themselves during this time. If you’re looking for something more casual, the restaurant is also hosting a special Dim Sum lunch menu during this festive occasion, complete with highlights like the Steamed Prawn and Dried Scallop Dumpling with Gold.
Feast on an enticing array of timeless dishes here at Cherry Garden. Besides tossing up some good fortune with the black truffle and black caviar laden Triumph Yu Sheng, the Luxurious Pen Cai is definitely a jaw-dropping item on the menu that’ll usher in the Year of the Ox in style. Served in an actual metal basin, guests will indulge in treats like whole head abalone, lobster, scallop, king prawn, sea cucumber, roasted duck and more with each serving.
A private dining space and a reunion dinner packed into one? Yes please. For gatherings of five persons or more (no more than eight, mind you), guests can choose to celebrate in the privacy of the Hotel’s spacious Residence Suite with a choice of their preferred Lunar New Year set menu at an exclusive supplementary rate of S$500++. What’s on the menu, you ask? Stuff yourselves silly with Lunar New Year favourites such as the Yu Sheng, Baked Lobster with XO Sauce and Cheese, Braised Pork Belly with Dried Oysters, as well as Crispy Glutinous Rice Cake with Shredded Coconut.
Kickstart your reunion dinner at Yan, home to six (dine-in only) set menus that feature classic Cantonese fare and premium auspicious ingredients. Here, sumptuous dishes await. Roasted Duck Marinated with Mandarin Peel Sauce, for instance, sees an entire duck marinated in Xin Hui mandarin peel, shallots, garlic, Chinese liquorice root and white peppercorns before it’s basted, air-dried and roasted. The result? Tender meat that’s laced with hints of citrus flair. Other highlights include the wholesome Double-boiled Fish Maw, Chicken with Cordyceps Flower, a nourishing, collagen-heavy broth that’ll warm you up from the inside out.
Guests will be spoilt for choice with the delectable dishes here at Hai Tien Lo. For guests of six or ten, The Premium Wealth Treasure Pot is set to take centre stage at your dinner table this year. Packed with 15 stellar ingredients that include Eight Head Whole Abalone, Dried Oysters, Sea Cucumber, Dried Fish Maw, Pork Knuckle, Lobster and Goose Web, you’re definitely off to a year of abundance with this dish alone. If you don’t like to be confined by the formality of sit-down dinners, Hai Tien Lo is also home to an extravagant Lunar New Year Weekend Buffet, featuring dishes like the Crispy Abalone Pastry with Fragrant Yam and other dim sum dishes like the steamed Charcoal Barbecue Pork Bun with Black Truffle. Every table at the buffet (minimum 2 pax) will also receive complimentary Abundance Yu Sheng with Smoked Salmon and Crispy Silver Whitebait.
Step into a world of decadence here at Madame Fan. The restaurant’s take of modern Cantonese cuisine has always impressed: think dishes like the Kurobuta Pork Belly with Bourgogne blanc & green pepper sauce, Braised South African 6 Head Abalone and Steamed Chilean Seabass with kombu and homemade black bean sauce to really delight your tastebuds. Here, intimate gatherings and joyous celebrations are welcome — lunch (S$98++) and dinner (S$148++) sets are available with a minimum seating of 2 persons.
Perhaps you’re thinking of spending your reunion dinner at home. Yet, prepping the ingredients, slaving over the stove and cleaning the dishes after can put many off when it comes to hosting. Besides ordering takeaways from the establishments above, one might consider getting your dinner feast catered by a private chef. The Feast Boxes at Esseplore are a series of curated Chinese New Year course menus that’ll kickstart your New Year to a good start, sans the fuss.