With no restrictions on Chinese New Year gatherings this year, some restaurants in Singapore are once again seeing brisk business.?
Hong Kesheng (transliteration), the manager of Ban Heng at Orchid Country Club in Yishun told Shin Min Daily News that the Chinese restaurant served over 3,000 customers on Chinese New Year Eve, which fell on Feb 9 this year.?
When a reporter from the Chinese daily visited the premises, the dining area had been expanded to accommodate?150 tables — the maximum number the staff can handle. There were two sessions that evening, bringing the total number of customers served to over 3,000.?
Hong said that the restaurant was fully booked about a month ago, and they decided to expand their seating capacity.
"There are about 80 staff working at the restaurant on Chinese New Year Eve, including waiters and managers.
"We realised that there were many people making reservations, so we decided to increase the number of tables. 150 tables is the largest we've had so far," Hong told Shin Min.
To add to the festivities, the restaurant also hired getai singers to perform, and lead customers in lohei session. They also hired a lion dance troupe to entertain customers who were having their meals.
Hong also shared that compared to last year, there were more families who made reservations for two or more tables, the largest being the Zhuo family who booked four tables for their reunion dinner.
Zhuo Xiuqin (transliteration), the third sister in the family, told Shin Min that she has 10 siblings in total.?
Before their parents passed, the family would gather at their home for reunion dinner every year, shared the 65-year-old.?
To keep their family tradition of ushering the Year of the Dragon together, the family decided to have reunion dinner at Ban Heng.?
Foreigners experience?lohei for the first time
Among the 3,000 customers at Ban Heng on that day were also some foreigners who were celebrating Chinese New Year for the first time.?
One patron, Xie Xinhui (transliteration) told Shin Min that this the first time that his family is gathering together after the pandemic, and some members flew in from Australia, China and the UK to join the celebration.?
Skye, an Australian, shared that she followed her boyfriend back to Singapore to spend Chinese New Year with his family.?
When asked for her thoughts about the celebrations, Skye said that she enjoyed the festive atmosphere, and was excited to experience the hospitality in Chinese culture.?
The Xie family was also joined by Stephen, who flew to Singapore from Guangzhou with his wife.?
Stephen, who is originally from the UK, said that he too enjoyed the celebrations and festivities.?