Dining In 2 minutes 13 February 2018

Chinese New Year Cheat Sheet: 4 Ready-To-Cook Meals For Reunion Dinner

Rustle up a fuss-free Chinese New Year reunion dinner at home with these nifty takeaway meal packages.

Chinese New Year CNY2018 dining

The house has been spring-cleaned, the decorations are in order and the goodies have been stocked up. All that's left is whipping up the quintessential reunion dinner at home on Chinese New Year’s Eve on February 15.

Too tired to slave around the kitchen? Cook up a feast in a jiffy with these four ready-to-eat food options.
Get a pencai dispensed from the Chef-In-Box VendCafe vending machines.
Get a pencai dispensed from the Chef-In-Box VendCafe vending machines.


Vending machines have been dispensing all sorts of hot meals, from hor fun to chicken rice. So, it isn’t a stretch to have your Chinese New Year meal dished out from a vending machine. Home-grown vending machine purveyor, Chef-In-Box has added three Chinese New Year dishes to its vending machines in five locations in HDB void decks and MRT stations till March 2.

Festive additions include the Pencai or fortune pot ($18), a treasure trove of abalone, prawns, fish maw, dried scallops and oysters, smoked duck and lotus roots slathered in a savoury sauce. Other dishes are the Emperor Chicken ($6.80) that is cooked with Chinese herbs such as dang gui (Chinese Angelica root), yu zhu (solomon’s seal rhizome) and wolfberries, and Lotus Leaf Rice ($8) has lotus leaf-steamed rice studded with Chinese sausages and mushrooms.

These microwave oven-friendly food packs are flash-frozen after being cooked, and can either be heated up in vending machines or brought home frozen. Especially nifty for entertaining last-minute guests or those flying solo during the festive season.

Where: Five locations including Ang Mo Kio & Lakeside MRT Stations, and Blk 766 Pasir Ris Street 71, 01-K1 or order online
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Summer Hill

Craving for chef Anthony Yeoh’s signature French-style roast chicken from the now-defunct restaurant Cocotte in Little India? You can now relive that in the comfort of your home with ready-to-cook meal kits from his latest venture, Summer Hill, a bistro-cum-private meal service provider.

The carnivore-centric menu comprises three dishes complete with all the trimmings and recipe cards. The food, which has either been cooked or pre-cooked, is packed in vacuum-sealed parcels. The meat has been roasted till slightly browned and sous vide to retain its moisture. All you need to do is pop the food in the oven to warm it pronto and put the finishing touches pronto.

The signature roast chicken ($45, serves two to three) comprises an herb butter-scented whole hormone- and antibiotic-free chicken, roasted baby potatoes that can be tucked under the chicken in the oven, and Brussels sprouts with brown butter almonds. The sage and mustard-roasted Kurobuta pork ($99, serves four) is accompanied by kohlrabi and fennel slaw and roasted potatoes. For a meaty centrepiece, there is the roast prime rib beef steak (from $198 for a 1.2kg slab, serves two to three), slathered with creamy green peppercorn sauce and Brussels sprouts with brown butter almonds. All meals can be prepared in under an hour. Order the takeaway kits two working days in advance.
Where: Summer Hill, Blk 106 Clementi Street 12, 01-62
Info: Call 6251-5337 or visit

SEE ALSO: How to Eat Takeaway Yusheng Safely? 

Dish The Fish Pen cai.jpg

Dish The Fish

Pen cai, the perennial festive fortune pot dish, can be rather cumbersome to prepare—from assembling the various seafood ingredients to simmering the goodies in a claypot. Get a pen cai shortcut in the form of local seafood shop, Dish The Fish’s Prosperity Fortune Pot ($188).

The nifty ready-to-cook package contains about 10 types of ingredients such as Boston lobster tails, Japanese scallops, littleneck clams, sea cucumber and abalone. The raw ingredients come in frozen vacuum-sealed packs. Drench the seafood in a fish bone broth that has been simmered for six hours. About 100 sets—double from last year—are available this year, and are available till the end of February.
To fuel your cooking inspiration, choose up to four recipe packs that contains ingredients used in various cooking styles of fish. For example, the Teochew-style pack contains sour plum and tomatoes. Too lazy to cook? At the shop’s West Coast Plaza outlet, which opened in December last year, customers can have their fishes steamed on-the-spot at a counter at an additional fee of $8.80. Choose from more than 30 varieties of fish from threadfin, red snapper and seabass, and pick up your cooked catch home.
Where: B1-22/3/4 West Coast Plaza, 154 West Coast Road and 01-24 38A Beo Crescent Market


If you enjoy impressing guests with elaborate dishes without putting in the hard work, local frozen food company, Fassler has ‘cheat sheets’ in the form of pre-cooked food packages.

Duck is the new theme this year—Grandma’s Braised Duck ($12.80) has two duck legs that have been slow-cooked in a soya sauce-based marinade made with ginger, galangal and garlic. Go French with the Duck Confit ($12.80) that is slow-poached in vegetable oil and an aromatic herb base. Best served with a lemon citrus sauce ($5.80). Also new is the Imperial Chicken with a herb-laden broth ($29.80).
To cook the meat, immerse the unopened pouch into a pot of boiling water. When it is ready, cut open the pouch and serve hot.

Conclude the meal with orh nee or yam paste ($8.80). The velvety dessert is embellished with purple sweet potato, pumpkin and gingko nuts. The best part? This package is microwave-friendly.
Where: 46 Woodlands Terrace, call 62575257 or order online

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