Pushing through the tough times


RESTAURANTS and caterers in Penang are gradually receiving orders for the Chinese New Year (CNY) Eve reunion dinner.


Koo Soo Choon Tong Restaurant and Teahouse Association chairman Vinah Yee said that although the orders received were not comparable with the previous years when dine-ins were allowed, these orders could help the businesses earn some income during this trying period.


“I believe that the orders will increase in the next few days.


“In the past, reunion dinner packages were priced between RM1,688 and RM2,188 on an average.


“But now, people are going for dinner packages which are affordable. We can hardly see or perhaps there is no longer any reunion dinner package that is priced above RM1,000.


“The average price for CNY Eve dinner package (takeaways or deliveries) is between RM200 and RM800 now,” she said, adding that the packages were normally categorised into a few types; namely for four, six, eight or 10 pax.


“The customers can also arrange with the restaurant and tell them their budget,” she said.


Vinah Yee.


Yee said that ordering from restaurants could be a better choice for the customers as it could save time and effort.


She said there were about 400 association members in Penang.


Meanwhile, hotels and even the well-known local convenience store 24 Xpress were seizing sales opportunities that came along with the Chinese New Year.


Eastern & Oriental (E&O) Hotel general manager Alison Fraser said the re-implementation of the movement control order (MCO) had completely disrupted the hotel’s business direction this CNY.


Fraser at the E&O Hotel.


“We have adapted by focusing on takeaways of our E&O Classic CNY dishes, cakes and cookies.


“We have been receiving great response on our CNY Takeaway; with cookies, cakes and signature E&O Roasted Duck being the most popular picks.


The signature E&O Roasted Duck with the hotel’s homemade sauce.


“In addition to the CNY dishes, our Takeaway Menu also offers our guests’ favourite dishes such as the E&O Duck Rice and fish head curry, among others.


“Our CNY Takeaway is available until Feb 28 and we also tailor-made reunion set dinners,” she said.


The Mandarin Orange Butter Cake.


Fraser added: “While we may not be able to have our guests celebrating CNY with us this year, we take this opportunity to wish everyone good health, safety and happiness as they commemorate this auspicious at home.”


Shangri-La’s Rasa Sayang Resort & Spa is also promoting its Prosperity Yee Sang and Premium Poon Choy to mark the festive season. The hotel also has the Ox-picious Sets for Takeaway.


Local convenience store 24 Xpress founder Chuah Chun Lim said he collaborated with restaurants to launch the Poon Choy delivery service.


“I believe that this is the first convenience store in Penang to have such a service – selling Poon Choy for CNY.


“We are receiving very good response for the Poon Choy. I believe we will be receiving more orders as the CNY approaches,” he said.


He added that there were 16 outlets in Penang.


One of the 24 Xpress outlets in Penang.


“The stores in Macallum Street Ghaut, Bandar Baru Air Itam, Perak Road and Relau also sell vacuum-packed seafood and hotpot dishes,” he said.


Meanwhile, the public were quite anxious to know the Chinese New Year standard operating procedure (SOP).


Photographer S.T. Law, 39, said his family was still patiently waiting for the Government to draw up the SOP for the CNY celebration.


“We will be paying respect to our ancestors at home and having a simple meal among our family members,” he said.



Story by Christopher Tan