Four places to get your CNY bites if you want to avoid the festive crowds
SINGAPORE — With the Chinatown festivities launching today, you can expect the already-bustling area to be swamped with crowds. The street markets will naturally be packed like sardines, and getting a bite to eat there will be a phenomenal and next-to-impossible feat.
That said, you do not have to tough it out and queue for hours just to fill yourself with enough strength to endure (we mean, enjoy) the celebrations.
There are many foodie options just off the main scene, so you can get a quick breather without having to venture too far. Just last year, many new eateries opened in nearby areas such as Duxton Hill, Jiak Chuan Road and Amoy Street. These new spots pack a punch with their unique style of cuisine — think Asian fusion food and a menu that changes daily. Here are some of our suggestions for some good, quiet CNY feasting.
PHAT CAT LAUNDRY
Nothing says Chinese New Year more than this up-and-coming bar, which has a fortune cat as its mascot. Opened in late October last year, the laundromat-inspired bar that serves quirky Asian-inspired food and drinks has introduced a full eight-course meal for two at S$88. Start the meal with some salted egg yolk king prawns on a bed of garden salad, then move on to the mains which include a superior braised pork belly with pickled vegetables with deep fried mantou and stir-fried Australian beef slices in black pepper sauce with seasoned rice. End the meal on a sweet note with a pineapple tart crumble with ice cream.
Located at 4 Jiak Chuan Road. The Chinese New Year eight-course meal will be available from Jan 16 onwards. Call 6221 8262.
BIRDS OF A FEATHER
The owners of Good Wood Coffee, a successful cafe chain in Chengdu, China opened this new all-day dining cafe and bar in Amoy Street in November last year. The place exudes calmness with its abundant greenery, making it an ideal place to dine at. Tuck into a Personal Sichuan Mala Hot Pot (S$29) with a choice of Japanese rice or arrowroot glass noodle, and additional ingredients such as prawn and squid. If you are still craving for a sweet treat after, try the glutinous rice pudding (S$16). Complete the festive experience with the Sichuan Style Yu Sheng (S$24 for two pax) served with salmon and Hokkaido scallops, as well as egg crepes.
Located at 115 Amoy Street. The Chinese New Year menu will be available from Jan 15 onwards. Call 6221 7449.
XIAO YA TOU
This trendy restaurant in Duxton Hill serves Asian fusion fare, and might just be the perfect place to get away from the crowds. Opened in August last year, the modern fusion restaurant and bar will be rolling out a special CNY menu that comprises more than 20 dishes. Highlights from the menu include its signature XYT Lu Rou Fan (Taiwanese braised meat rice) with braised hand-chopped wagyu beef on rice and poached egg and the XYT Ngo Hiang (five-spice meat rolls) which contain minced pork and water chestnut. Ring in good luck and prosperity for the New Year with its Lo Hei Yu Sheng with salmon ceviche and crispy fish skin (S$29 for four to six pax).
Located at 6 Duxton Hill. The Chinese New Year menu will be available from 6pm onwards, Mondays to Saturdays only. Call 6226 1965.
THIRTEEN DUXTON HILL
Helmed by chef John-Paul Fiechtner and sommelier Sally Humble, the menu of this contemporary bistro, which launched in late November last year, changes every day depending on what chef Fiechtner picks out from the market every morning. On offer are 13 dishes consisting of 10 savoury options, one cheese, and two desserts priced at S$66. Expect items such as a Corn and Prawn Head dish, as well as a sweet dessert called Hungry like the Wolf where you can smash the “durian” shell to reveal dozens of different textures and flavours made up from traditional CNY ingredients such as tang yuan (glutinous rice balls) and pineapple tarts. Catchy name and unpredictability — what’s not to like?
Located at 13 Duxton Hill. The CNY menu will be available from Jan 27 onwards. Call 9054 1435. Sonia Yeo