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Reunion-dinner slots running out

BUSY DAYS AHEAD: Masterchef Chung Lap Fei (left) working with an apprentice in the kitchen of Hua Ting Restaurant, which is fully booked for reunion dinners on the eve of Chinese New Year on Jan 30.


    Jan 07, 2014

    Reunion-dinner slots running out

    IF YOU are planning to eat out for your reunion dinner on Chinese New Year Eve, you may want to book a table now.

    A check with 10 restaurants here found that space is running out fast. Of these, all are more than 90 per cent booked up for Jan 30 - the eve of Chinese New Year this year, when reunion dinners are traditionally held.

    And it looks like people are "choping" tables earlier too.

    At Hua Ting Restaurant in Orchard Hotel Singapore, tables for the eve were fully booked six months ago, with several tables booked as far back as a year ago.

    "Some regulars booked a year ago when they had their last reunion dinner," said its spokesman, adding that last year, the restaurant was fully booked only four months ahead of the reunion dinner date on Feb 9.

    Ms Victoria Li, director of Old Hong Kong Group with two restaurants here, said both are "90 per cent booked" for the two allotted reunion-dinner time slots.

    Last year, they were fully booked about two weeks before Chinese New Year. She said: "I think customers had experienced not being able to get seats (at the) last minute, so they booked earlier this year."

    Likewise, all the tables at Soup Restaurant's 14 branches islandwide are close to fully booked. Its spokesman noted: "This year, people seem to have started making reservations earlier compared to last year, when the restaurants were fully booked maybe only about two weeks before Chinese New Year.

    "It could be because it's close to Christmas; there is the festive mood so they start inquiring early."

    The situation is the same at Putien restaurant, which has eight branches here. Customers started inquiring as early as October last year; prompting the chain to add another dinner round - up from three time slots to four - to cater to them, its spokesman said.

    Over at Peach Blossoms in Marina Mandarin Singapore hotel, over 90 per cent of the tables have already been snapped up, a response that "is stronger this year", said Ms Patricia Yong, the hotel's director of marketing and communications.

    Dragon Phoenix Restaurant in River Valley Road is also full for its first time slot.

    Those with bigger families may find it a hassle to cook at home and, perhaps, having cooked for the recent Christmas festivities, they would choose to have their reunion dinners at restaurants instead of at home, said its executive director, Mr Chris Hooi.

    Operations executive Patrick Chng, 25, whose family booked a table at roast-duck restaurant Dian Xiao Er last week, said: "Preparing food is a hassle. It's expected that restaurants will be super packed. We've had the experience of not getting a table before and had to get takeaways, so we book early now."