Chinese New Year reunion dinner: The hotels feasts you should try
Eating out for your annual reunion dinner? We check out the best meals to keep festive foodies satisfied
Hotels are a safe bet when it comes to meals for a large group, as they have the experience and the manpower.
So during the Chinese New Year period, when almost everyone is out for a meal, I'll go with those who can handle the rush.
Here are some of the better ones I've tasted so far to usher in the Year of the Monkey.
FESTIVE BUFFET LUNCH
Till Feb 19, Plate (Carlton City Hotel, tel: 6632-8922) serves a weekday Chinese New Year buffet lunch at $48.
Besides the usual items (seafood on ice and salted egg prawns), you'll get Chinese roasts and desserts such as nian gao and pineapple tarts.
And if you're in a group of four, you'll also get a yusheng to toss for luck.
Man Fu Yuan (InterContinental Singapore, tel: 6820-8519) has yet to fail me.
Till Feb 22, it's serving a $688 set for five diners, and the menu includes its Deluxe Treasures Pot.
Add the luxurious and delicious double-boiled Sakura Chicken and Bird's Nest Soup with Black Truffle, Abalone and Fish Maw (left, $408, good for five).
The meal won't be cheap but you're paying for quality.
DINNER FOR TWO
For a small party, two can dine at Hai Tien Lo (Pan Pacific Singapore, tel: 6826-8240). The set menu begins from $168.80.
But if you have a small appetite, make space for the Classic Auspicious Treasure Pot (above, $238, good for six), with ingredients such as abalone, chicken and sea cucumber.
This is available till Feb 22.
If you like living it large, you'll like this huge pencai from Cherry Garden (Mandarin Oriental, Singapore, tel: 6885-3500).
It weighs more than 25kg and measures up to 45cm in diameter, and is filled with luxe ingredients. It comes with a special set menu at $138 per diner, and you'll need six diners to order this.
The set is available from Feb 1 to 22.
HALAL CHINESE SPREAD
From Feb 7 to 9, halal-certified buffet restaurant Aquamarine (Marina Mandarin Singapore, tel: 6845-1118) offers a Chinese New Year spread.
Besides the seafood, you'll get dishes such as Four Treasure from the South China Sea (above) and Eight Treasures Sticky Rice. There will also be a do-it-yourself yu sheng station.
This is for both lunch and dinner, from $60.
FESTIVE FUSION FEAST
Chinese New Year at Mandarin Orchard Singapore is celebrated at Shisen Hanten (Tel: 6831-6288) with the usual set menus, starting with the six-course Prosperity menu (minimum two to eat).
And when you're there, add the Foie Gras Chawanmushi with Crab Roe Soup (above, $32) found on its festive menu.
TOO PRETTY TO EAT AT?
I would ask you to head to Summer Pavilion (The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore, tel: 6434-5286) just to gawk.
The restaurant went through a revamp and it's more beautiful than before.
A meal there won't be cheap but it'll be worth it. The pencai - with ingredients such abalone, fish maw and sea perch - starts from $380 (above, serves up to six), but factor in the service and ambience and it'll be money well spent.
TRENDY AND DRAMATIC
Since Mitzo (Grand Park Orchard, tel: 6603-8855) is one of the trendier restaurants, its yusheng offering is suitably fancy too.
The Pearls of Prosperity Kingfish Yusheng (above, $68, for six) has crispy lotus root, toasted pistachios, kanpachi kingfish and beads of lychee caviar.
For added drama, a sauce made of ginger, sesame seeds and spices is mixed in a cocktail shaker before it's poured over the yusheng.