The sheer number of goodies available each Chinese New Year can overwhelm. To help you cut through the noise, here are five recommendations I have tried and loved.
Racines (Sofitel Singapore City Centre, Tel: 6428-5000) is having an impressive first Chinese New Year.
There are two standouts: The Treasure Pot ($198, good for six to eight people) and the slow-cooked French corn-fed chicken (only available with the set menu, from $780 a table).
The Treasure Pot is laden with ingredients such as abalone, Hokkaido scallop and roasted French duck breast, simmering in an umami brown sauce. It is also available for takeaway.
The chicken is the opposite - it is light, tender, aromatic and makes a pretty Instagram post.
The food served at the Tok Panjang at Folklore (Destination Singapore Beach Road, Tel: 6679-2900) was so good, that right after the media preview of the meal, I booked my return. It was that good.
The dishes served are what you would find in a Peranakan home. Do not miss the soups (Bakwan Kepiting, Itek Teem and Fish Maw Soup), Grandma's Chicken Curry and Sambal Belimbing.
The Tok Panjang is available for dinner from Feb 15 to March 2 at $68 a person. Don't bother trying for a walk-in, make a reservation.
The a la carte menu will not be available during this period.
Wah Lok Cantonese restaurant
It is no surprise that Wah Lok Cantonese Restaurant (Carlton Hotel Singapore, Tel: 6311-8188) delivers. It is one of the most reliable restaurants and ups its game during the festive season.
The new offering - Marinated Fortune Chicken with Eight-head Abalone ($245) - is great for those tired of the usual pen cai. This has abalone and chicken in superior stock. This dish calls for rice, so it is good for filling up the stomach too.
Old Seng Choon
Old Seng Choong (Clarke Quay Central) offers one of my favourite yam cakes ($24.80).
Everything works for me: The texture (firm yet soft, with bits of yam), the aroma and the taste.
You can grab one from the new outlet or order it online (www.oldsengchoong.com).
My current obsession is the Hebi Hiam from Oui Ooi (www. ouiooi.com) at $16 a bottle.
I love the subtle yet persistent taste of the dried shrimp and the mild saltiness.
It is the perfect one-bite treat, though I have already taken many bites.
The Chinese New Year flavours include Pineapple, Sesame, and Peanut ($16 each).
It is also sold in sets, starting from $48 for three bottles.
This article was first published at The New Paper.