Chinese New Year Survival Guide


From how much hongbao to give to which calorific snacks to avoid, Benson Ang and Yip Wai Yee find ways of navigating the festive season with aplomb.

Where to eat during CNY

Restaurant Home at Rail Mall in Upper Bukit Timah Road will remain open throughout the Chinese New Year period.PHOTO: RESTAURANT HOME

Civil servant Soh Chee Peng, 58, remembers a time when most Chinese eateries were shuttered during Chinese New Year.

"If I wanted to eat out during the first two days, there was only Malay, Indian or fast food," he says.

Now, the situation is different. Instead of taking time off, restaurants, coffee shops and food courts are cashing in on the holiday cheer, staying open for business in what used to be a F&B black-out period: the first two days of Chinese New Year.


How much hongbao to give

Between $8 and $10 seems to be the going rate for hongbaos, or red packets, this Chinese New Year.PHOTO: TAMARA CRAIU

Singaporeans are feeling generous in the upcoming Chinese Year of the Monkey despite the bleak economic outlook.

According to a street poll of 60 people The Sunday Times conducted last week, the going rate for hongbao is $8 to $10, slightly more than last year's average of $8.

That is the amount most people say they would give their relatives or friends' kids. For their own children, parents typically give more.


Looking fresh and fab 


You are visiting the third house of the day. Your hair is limp, your clothes are crumpled and your face feels as oily as a slice of bak kwa.

Looking fresh in hot and humid Singapore can be challenging – especially when one has many places to visit during Chinese New Year.

The Sunday Times asks experts for tips on how to welcome–and survive– Chinese New Year in style.


Hassle-free ways to get around

Motorcyclists weaving through heavy traffic on the Pan-Island Expressway (PIE) during the evening rush hour. PHOTO: ST FILE

For those without a car, transport becomes an issue during Chinese New Year.

No one likes waiting on the side of the road sweating in his festive best.

That is why Mr Lawrence Peer, 55, has been renting a car every Chinese New Year. He uses it to transport his wife and two daughters while visiting relatives.