HONG KONG (AP) — Tighter COVID-19 restrictions, together with a ban on eating in eating places after 6 p.m., imply many Hong Kong households are consuming their reunion dinner on Lunar New Yr’s eve at house this 12 months.
The standard dish often known as “poon choi,” or “basin meals,” is a big dish full of lotus root, radish, taro and costlier delicacies similar to prawns, abalones and meat layered on high. Every meals is symbolic and having fun with the dish with household is a approach of sharing hope for a very good 12 months.
To make up for misplaced enterprise from the dining-in restrictions, many eating places are providing “poon choi” takeaways. Every ingredient is ready and cooked individually prematurely, often within the early hours of the day earlier than the dish is assembled for purchasers to take house.
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RenRen Heping Restaurant chef Fong Wah-yat has been busy getting ready takeaway “poon choi” for 2 weeks, with the restaurant receiving some 425 orders for the dish.
“Chinese language individuals wish to eat these costly meals like sea cucumbers and abalones at our Lunar New Yr household gatherings as a result of we have now labored very laborious over the previous 12 months,” Fong stated. “We must always eat these delicacies to reward ourselves for our laborious work.”
Every ingredient within the dish carries that means. Fish maw represents a relentless move of fortune, whereas abalone — with its form paying homage to gold ingots — represents abundance, in response to Fong.
“All of the issues that Chinese language individuals eat throughout Lunar New Yr carry good luck, and we hope it can carry us a very good 12 months forward after consuming them,” he stated.
Hong Kong’s tightened restrictions means eating places that rely closely on the festive season have seen their income dip.
“Banning dine-in after 6 p.m. truly massively impacts the enterprise of each Chinese language and Western eating places as a result of the earnings generated from dinner accounts for an awesome proportion of a restaurant’s whole income,” stated Mansfield Hui, proprietor of RenRen Heping Restaurant.
Whereas extraordinary takeaway meals can not offset the losses a lot, costlier dishes like “poon choi” assist, he stated.
For some clients, takeaway “poon choi” is an efficient various whereas the omicron variant is surging within the metropolis.
“For those who eat in a restaurant, there can be many individuals and throughout the pandemic, I don’t wish to eat in a restaurant with so many individuals,” stated Ng Wai-kuen, a buyer who purchased takeaway “poon choi” for six individuals and was planning a dinner at house.