Restaurants 'fully booked' for Chinese New Year's Eve

13:43, January 22, 2010      

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Popular restaurants in Beijing are almost fully booked for Chinese New Year's Eve, with three weeks to go before the most important annual dinner.

"As much as 95 percent of tables were reserved for the Chinese New Year's Eve dinner since we started taking orders in Jan 1," said a press officer at the famous hotpot restaurant Donglaishun. The chain has more than 40 branches in Beijing alone.

"The number of families enjoying their New Year's Eve dinner at restaurants is growing annually. We opened many branches in Beijing during the last three years and they are all now booked out," she added.

Quanjude, the capital's famous 146-year-old Peking Duck restaurant, is suggesting customers book lunchtime meals to guarantee a place.

"We have received almost 500 bookings for the New Year's Eve dinner, and more than 350 seats for lunch," Li Yan, manager of a Quanjude branch in Chaoyang district, told METRO yesterday.

Mao Leiqiu, 25, has already booked a table for her 18-member family at a restaurant in Wangfujing.

They have been frequenting restaurants for their annual dinner since 2005, a breakaway from the traditional custom of cooking at home.

"The Chinese New Year is about family reunion. We have a big family and not enough space to enjoy it together at home. Eating in would bring a lot of trouble to the whole family," Mao said.

Having the Chinese New Year's Eve dinner at a restaurant first became fashionable in 2003, according to He Zhifu, secretary-general of the Beijing Food and Catering Association.

"These days, Beijing families can afford restaurant banquets. Most people work right up till the New Year's Eve, so they don't have time to prepare a large dinner at home," He said yesterday.

The secretary-general noted that the concept of booking a table is catching on.

"Some families have already booked tables for 2011's Chinese New Year's Eve dinner," He said.

Source: China Daily
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