Mention Chinese New Year food, and lively gatherings over generous feasts always come to mind. Once a year, for 15 days, brimming pots of pen cai, colourful yusheng platters, fragrant roast meats and goodies such as pineapple tarts and nian gao make their tempting appearance. Chinese New Year is on 12 Feb 2021, but celebrations officially begin the night before, on the eve.
While it may seem like we eat the same things for CNY every year, these foods are not banal additions to the table. Many people celebrate the Lunar New Year for its heartwarming traditions, as a community and within the family. It is a time of bonding over gourmet favourites and culinary activity—a comforting anchor especially in these turbulent times.
We ask six F&B insiders from some of Singapore’s best Chinese restaurants to share their favourite food traditions during Chinese New Year, and a dish in their restaurants’ CNY menu that’s inspired by those memories. As you order these items to savour at home, celebrate familial bonds and friendships that have endured through the years!
Executive Chef Ben Zeng, Hai Tien Lo, Pan Pacific Singapore
In Dongbei, dumplings are for homecomings
“My wife Lin Sheng is from Dongbei. In her hometown, dumplings are must-haves during Chinese New Year and when children return home after a long time away from their parents. Dumplings are a form of comfort food. This is especially for those who return home during the Spring Festival and look forward to those wrapped by their mothers. Dumpling making is a regular family bonding activity for our family and we’d make 120 to 150 pieces each time we crave for them.”
CNY food inspiration: Hai Tien Lo’s Premium Wealth Treasure Pot
Chef Zeng presents a unique form of pen cai at Hai Tien Lo with the Premium Wealth Treasure Pot (from $508 for 6 pax). Besides 15 premium ingredients such as eight-head whole abalone, dried fish maw, lobster, goose web and dried scallops, his version includes minced pork dumplings. Chef Zeng says, “It is not usual for pen cai to have dumplings. But to me, they are a strong symbol of reunion and family. I hope diners can bask in the joyous feeling of togetherness and home while eating this dish.”
Credit card promo
Enjoy $10 off with your UOB Card. Valid on all orders fulfilled from now till 15 Feb 2021 with a minimum $80 spend from the entire menu. Apply the Oddle promo code ‘ODDLEUOB’ upon checkout.