Reunion meals at restaurants and last-minute shopping on Chinese New Year's eve

 Office attendant Mdm Siah Choo Ing (third, right; in floral top) enjoyed a reunion lunch with nine other family members at the Swatow Seafood restaurant in Toa Payoh on Feb 4, 2019.
Office attendant Mdm Siah Choo Ing (third, right; in floral top) enjoyed a reunion lunch with nine other family members at the Swatow Seafood restaurant in Toa Payoh on Feb 4, 2019.ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI
Housewife Ms Cynthia Ng (second, left) and family having their reunion lunch at The Orchard Cafe on Feb 4, 2019.
Housewife Ms Cynthia Ng (second, left) and family having their reunion lunch at The Orchard Cafe on Feb 4, 2019.ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG
Shoppers in Chinatown on the eve of Chinese New Year.
Shoppers in Chinatown on the eve of Chinese New Year.ST PHOTO: JOSEPH CHUA
People doing last-minute festive shopping in Chinatown on the eve of Chinese New Year.
People doing last-minute festive shopping in Chinatown on the eve of Chinese New Year.ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN

SINGAPORE - Every year without fail, Mdm Siah Choo Ing, 79, excitedly counts down to Chinese New Year's eve.

"It's my favourite day of the year, better than my birthday and all the other occasions," said the grandmother of four in Mandarin.

"It's our family tradition and the one day when the whole family comes together harmoniously to have a meal."

On Monday (Feb 4), the office attendant enjoyed a reunion lunch with nine other family members at the Swatow Seafood restaurant in Toa Payoh.

The family has had reunion meals at the restaurant for the last four to five years.

Mdm Siah said the family decided to have their reunions at restaurants as it saves them the stress of preparing the meals.

It also allows them to really enjoy the festive atmosphere when the family gets together.

But they were too late to book a table for dinner on Monday and had to make do with lunch.

For the chirpy Mdm Siah, the change came with a bonus.

 
 
 
 

"We still need to eat dinner tonight, so my daughter is cooking a steamboat dinner for the family," she said.

"I am very happy that we have two reunion meals together, I will be very full this year."

At The Orchard Cafe at Orchard Hotel, another family of three generations also gathered on Chinese New Year's eve for a reunion lunch.

Housewife Cynthia Ng, 55, said her family has had meals at the cafe for at least the last five years.

It is one of the favourite dining spots of Ms Ng's mother, Mdm Seah Ah Toa, who is 91.

Mdm Seah has been affected by dementia for the last three years.

"My mum liked the place previously, so we have been bringing her back as it makes her happy," said Ms Ng.

"A lot of the things that they display at the restaurant, like the flower biscuits, seem to bring back her memories. She's very comfortable here."

Elsewhere in Singapore, some opted to use the lunch-hour for last-minute festive shopping for Chinese New Year.


Shoppers in Chinatown on the eve of Chinese New Year. ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN

Shoppers were seen hunting for decorations and snacks at Chinatown, while at Plaza Singapura, some people took the opportunity to buy their new clothes.