Chinese For New Year

Singapore is buzzing with Chinese New Year anticipation and we can’t help but get caught up in it.

We decided we would go to the Chinese restaurant recommended by a colleague and try a reunion set. All over Singapore, families are celebrating the new year with reunion dinners and lunches. Chinese New Year this year is February 3, this Thursday. Thursday and Friday are public holidays and I’m sure part of the excitement I’m feeling is the thrill of a short working week.

Darling Man and I were discussing our Chinese food options, the whens and wheres and whats. Suddenly we decided we just couldn’t wait. We needed a Chinese food fix immediately.

Luckily there’s a Chinese restaurant a short stroll from our house. So off we set.

I love having so many food options within walking distance and I love love LOVE having a dining partner who will try anything.

It’s a dumpling restaurant so we ordered some dumplings, confident the baby could eat these.

Northern Chinese cumplings

We ordered some vegetables – spinach with garlic. And then we ordered something neither of us had ever seen before – braised pork with pickled vegetables.

Oh, and Chinese beer!

Bin Han Beer

The restaurant was noisy with people speaking Chinese LOUDLY. There were two family groups and an old couple. They were eating, they were laughing, they were talking. I felt like I was in China. Especially because the older waitress who took our order couldn’t speak English.

She kept turning to Darling Man and asking him questions and trying to explain things in Chinese. Embarrassed, he just shook his head. I tried to explain he’s Vietnamese, not Chinese but she couldn’t understand. The last time we ate here the same thing happened, but that time another customer translated for us. This time the confusion centred on the beer. One big bottle, two glasses. With fingers and nods and smiles we confirmed one and two. When the waitress left we shrugged. We either get one beer or two, no problem.

We got one beer, two glasses. Apparently a couple sharing a big bottle of beer is cross-cultural.

For the first time ever, Miss M sat calmly in the high chair. Usually she starts struggling after a few minutes. But this time she was happy playing with the plastic chopsticks and bowls, tapping and organising things with a scientific frown.
The food began arriving. The dumplings, dipped in a vinegar and chilli dipping sauce, were lovely.

Northern Chinese dumplings

The spinach was crispy and fresh and garlicky.

Spinach with garlic

And then the pork arrived. A strange glistening pillow of pork in a red-brown sauce.
Tentatively we tested it. The pork, cut like bacon but less salty, melted in the mouth. The sauce was sweet with a hint of five spice.

And underneath the pork were the pickled vegetables. They weren’t a very appealing colour but they were delicious

Chinese braised pork with preserved vegetables

Darling Man said the dish was a typical Asian dish, using the sour to balance the oiliness, the sweet to balance the salt. We made short work of the pork and vegetables.

Then, as we were still licking our lips and ushering the last crumbs into the baby’s mouth and downing the final swigs of our beer, we discussed what we’d order next time. Then I told Darling Man about the special Singapore Chinese New Year dish, apparently not available in China and only available in Singapore at Chinese New Year. It’s a raw fish salad, purple and green and white, which apparently must be tossed in the air as the waitress recites traditional Chinese good luck sayings. I cannot wait for our reunion lunch!

Eastern and Northern Dumpling Restaurant
220 East Coast Road
PH: (65) 6344 7002

9 years ago

By: Barbara

A career girl who dropped out, traveled, found love, and never got around to going home again. Now wrangling a cross-cultural relationship and two third culture kids.


  1. Jozef Maxted says:

    I love Chinese food! Can’t beat a nicce trip to China town in London, and there like you said here most of the waitresses don’t speak english and you’re forced to eat with chopsticks! The food is great though. I have to say that pork looks amazing ;p
    Jozef Maxted recently posted..Focus On Chile

  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Beside The Sea and Jozef Maxted, dropoutdiaries. dropoutdiaries said: Chinese New Year is getting closer! A new #foodie post about eating Chinese in #Singapore #CNY […]

  3. robin says:

    That’s not a meal that’s a food parade!! I am literally seething with envy…
    robin recently posted..Confundido

  4. inka says:

    Who does the tossing of the good luck dish? The customer or the waitress? That I must experience. Pity I will have to wait until next New Year.
    inka recently posted..The world’s weirdest gym

    • The Dropout says:

      I think everyone sticks their chopsticks into the dish and gives it a bit of a lift and a stir. “Tossing” in an Asian way.
      I’ve been told that mainland Chinese (said with a bit of a down-the-nose sniff) waitresses may not know this tradition. So the good luck recitations may be a bit hit and miss.

  5. This post has me craving Chinese food and I’m really not a big fan of it usually. This all looks wonderful. I’d especially like to be in Singapore sampling Chinese food. But I need to practice with chop sticks — I’m not very good with them.
    Cathy Sweeney recently posted..Life is Sweet in Buenos Aires

  6. The NVR Guys says:

    I don’t know you but I hate you for this. I just licked my screen, and it was a little dusty.
    The NVR Guys recently posted..Awesome Adventures – Antarctica Edition

  7. Adam says:

    YUM!! Now that is some real Chinese food there, not the crap we get here in America. Your pictures are awesome. Photographing food can be tricky, but you made it look delicious!!

    “I love having so many food options within walking distance”

    That’s the thing I love most about big, huge cities and always question why I don’t live in one. The variety is just great.

    • The Dropout says:

      Adam, this is the first time I’ve ever lived within walking distance of “proper” food places. And there are so many!
      In Ho Chi Minh City there’s food stalls on every corner but our neighbourhood here is on a completely different level.

  8. Kelly says:

    YUM! I’m near a Chinese restaurant too, but nothing like this! Lucky lucky! Send me some!
    Kelly recently posted..Can I Get Birth Control in Buenos Aires

  9. Following a trip recently to India, Chinese food has taken a back seat – not now though. Those descriptions and photos are fantastic!
    John in France recently posted..Of Words and Sounds

  10. Theodora says:

    Yum! I love pork and pickled vegetables Vietnam style — sans sauce. And congrats on the site redesign, too. It looks fantastic!
    Theodora recently posted..A Walk in the Rice Fields

  11. […] did we know that dumpling heaven lurked just three doors down from Peranakan […]

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