Chinese New Year is typically an extravagant affair. As brand-new outfits are donned, angpaos frenetically packed and days filled with home visits, one thing stands in the centre of it all: the food. It’s an indulgent 15 days, starting with a reunion dinner as the family table is ladened with traditional home-cooked dishes, followed by endless feasts at restaurants, as each establishment whips up exclusive dishes that are only served this time of year. Not forgetting the addictive bite-sized treats that come in the form of pineapple tarts, love letters and mandarin oranges, which we gladly partake in as we flit from one home to another.
Chinese restaurants across our island are meticulously curating delightful menus for you and your loved ones to usher in the Year of the Dragon. The Chairman’s Lounge at Pan Pacific serves an authentic feast in an intimate setting, allowing the chef’s tantalising crispy noodles with Australian lobster and its main seafood star, the soon hock fish to shine. For a more traditional reunion, consider Wah Lok Cantonese Restaurant, with its bountiful prosperity pot and succulent pan-fried scallops. And no Chinese New Year celebration is complete without the fortuitous yu sheng. Yì By Jereme Leung offers a sumptuous one laden with succulent seafood and its signature Yunnan rose dressing.
Below, Vogue Singapore rounds up the best restaurants to celebrate Chinese New Year, for the merriest of feasts with a touch of decadence.
1 / 5
The Chairman's Lounge
An unassuming private dining lounge helmed by veteran chef Leung Wing Cheung (of Si Chuan Dou Hua fame), The Chairman’s Lounge in Pan Pacific Orchard is as exclusive as they come. With a capacity of 16 guests at any one time, it is akin to dining in a good friend’s fancy abode, with attentive servers waiting to take your requests.
You’re really here for chef Leung’s excellent cooking skills though, and his innate ability to draw out the natural flavours of ingredients with minimal seasoning. From Australian lobster to wild-caught soon hock, he sustainably endeavours to use all of the produce he is given. His dishes are wildly impressive, not just visually, but has a lovely richness that is not at all cloying. Call for the Crispy Noodles with Australian Lobster Meat, Ginger and Scallion, perfectly cooked and drizzled with a silky egg gravy infused with lobster broth. It is a match made in heaven. Chef Leung’s double-boiled supreme soup is as nourishing as they come, a marriage of fish maw, sea cucumber and fresh crab claw in a slow boil that draws out all the right flavours. Finally, his Giant Soon Hock—prepared two ways—is not to be missed. The first is a steamed fish head and belly with roasted pork, tofu and preserved vegetables, and the other, a deep-fried fish tail in superior light soya sauce and scallions. It proved challenging picking a favourite from the menu’s broad appeal; I simply could not but would absolutely return for more.
Festive menus are available from 22 January to 24 February 2024.
The Chairman’s Lounge, Pan Pacific Orchard, 10 Claymore Road, Singapore 229540
2 / 5
Wah Lok Cantonese Restaurant
Given its reputation as one of our city’s most celebrated Chinese dining establishments, it’s no surprise that Wah Lok Cantonese Restaurant’s Lunar New Year offerings come as a splendid showcase of traditional Chinese fare. The star of the show this year is the new Prosperity Pot, which combines some of the restaurant’s most beloved items from previous years. Brimming with juicy abalones and tender slow-cooked pork belly, this bountiful dish is one that ushers in a year of abundance and good fortune. Another highlight is the Soon Tak Yu Sheng, which trades the typically sweet flavours of yu sheng for a more savoury relish. A generous helping of hamachi is served alongside vegetables like cucumber and cilantro—a combination that, while unexpected, makes for a wonderfully light and refreshing rendition of the Lunar New Year staple dish.
A traditional Chinese feast isn’t complete without seafood offerings, and Wah Lok definitely does not disappoint on that front. The Steamed Soon Hock with Mandarin Orange Skin is outstanding, but it is in the Pan-fried Scallop with Golden Sauce that shows off the restaurant’s culinary finesse. Scallops are cooked to succulent perfection, but what makes this dish truly stand out is the hint of mustard in the sauce, providing a welcome touch of heat that cuts through the richness of the stock.
The Chinese New Year menus are available from 29 January to 24 February 2024.
Wah Lok Cantonese Restaurant, Carlton Hotel Singapore, 76 Bras Basah Road, Level 2, Singapore 189558
3 / 5
A Lunar New Year feast at Cherry Garden is a simple and authentic affair. To begin, their Prosperity Yu Sheng is served, an abundance of fresh fruit and vegetables lavishly plated with salmon and crispy fish skin. Once tossed together with plum and cherry sauce, the dish is a decadent and refreshing medley.
Next up, the double-boiled chicken soup with sliced abalone, cordyceps flower and wild ginseng, which opens the palate with an easy aroma packed with flavour. Marble goby fish is served next with preserved olive vegetable and scallion oil sauce, steamed to perfection. The flesh of the fillet, plump and bursting with umami, as it subtly absorbs the oil. But the highlight falls on the charcoal roasted goose: exclusively imported from Hungary and only available during festive season, the dish is a delectable paradox. On first bite, you’ll sink your teeth into the crispy and slightly smoked skin before reaching its tender, juicy meat. The feast then comes full circle, ending on a refreshing note with the restaurant’s chilled peach gum dessert, of lemongrass aloe vera jelly and a scoop of lychee sorbet.
Festive menus are available from 22 January to 24 February 2024.
Cherry Garden, 5 Raffles Ave, Singapore 039797
4 / 5
A Lunar New Year feast at Yàn begins in truly spectacular fashion. To start the meal, the Kaleidoscope of Prosperity Yu Sheng in “Shun De” Style With Australian Lobster arrives at the table, a mountain of crispy vermicelli and vibrant vegetables crowned with shredded sweet potatoes, pickled ginger and gold flakes atop a gilded platter. By its side, a serving of fresh Australian lobster is framed by the creature’s impressive head and tail as an ode to the Year of the Dragon (the Mandarin term for lobster translates to dragon shrimp). Its grand appearance gives way to a blend of savoury flavours and delightful textures, making the dish perhaps one of the best yu shengs in town.
This opulence follows through in the rest of the restaurant’s festive offerings, seen in dishes such as the velvety smooth Golden Pumpkin Broth with Dried Fish Maw, Conpoy and Bamboo Pith and succulent Roasted Duck Marinated with Chinese Herbs. Yàn masterfully delivers on the traditional Chinese New Year staples, with a Braised Two Head Abalone with Mushrooms and Seasonal Greens steeped in a scrumptious abalone sauce. The restaurant’s Signature Crispy Roast Suckling Pig, too, is a highlight, served in three ways: its crispy skin with a house-made pancake, as tender carvings of pork shoulder, and oven-baked with lemongrass. But that’s not to say that the restaurant doesn’t also put its fair share of creative twists on recognisable dishes. The Chilled Taro Paste topped with Coconut Ice-Cream, for one, is a refreshing spin on orh nee to end your feast on a creamy, sweet note.
The Lunar New Year menu is available until 24 February 2024.
Yàn, #05-02 National Gallery Singapore, 1 St. Andrew’s Road Singapore 178957
5 / 5
Yì By Jereme Leung
A sumptuous serving of yu sheng—one as luxurious as the one served at Yì By Jereme Leung—is exactly how one should kickstart the Lunar New Year festivities. Drenched in the restaurant’s signature Yunnan rose dressing, the Longevity Yu Sheng made for a startlingly bright appetiser; its abundant mouthfuls of octopus sashimi and sweet, succulent shrimps simply sealed the deal.
The rest of the nine-course meal came in succession, with highlights being a Braised 10-Head South African Abalone dish topped with fa cai black moss and some sweet and sour crispy prawns served with soybean cake, the latter a softer version of tempe if you will. Yet the star of the evening was the afternoon’s sea conch hot soup: a hearty, delightful showcase of what Yì By Jereme Leung does best. Equal parts soothing and comforting, the dish consisted of a tender, double-boiled fish maw and sarcadon aspratus dried mushroom—and it was a bowl I happily wiped clean. If you’ve got room for a heavier dessert, save it for the Salted Egg Yolk Custard Glutinous Rice Balls—for a creamy, starchy-sweet finish to your meal.
The Lunar New Year menus are available from 22 January to 24 February 2024.
藝yì by Jereme Leung, Raffles Hotel, 1 Beach Rd, Singapore 189673