2023’s Chinese New Year (CNY) comes in January, which is much earlier compared to the past two years.
It’s also the first CNY without Covid-19 restrictions since the Covid-19 pandemic started.
Personally, I really enjoy the CNY festive period, not just for the angbaos (red packets), but also because of all the reunion dinners where I get to kick back with my family.
So when I was asked to shop for CNY gifts to prepare for upcoming celebrations, I was all too enthused to jump in (must. prepare. for. hotpot).
Enter Yue Hwa, a six-storey departmental store in the heart of Chinatown.
Established in Hong Kong over 50 years ago, Yue Hwa is Singapore's only department store that specialises in Chinese food, medicine, silk, and other gift items, which makes it a convenient one-stop destination for all CNY shopping.
I visited Yue Hwa for the first time, accompanied by my colleague.
The building was very accessible, as it is conveniently located right across from Chinatown Point and adjacent to Chinatown MRT station.
I also found the shopping at Yue Hwa to be a very enjoyable experience, as the departmental store was not only well-stocked, but comprehensive in the variety of goods it had curated.
The CNY decorations that adorned the building also added to the festive vibes, which made shopping in-person a lot more fun.
First order of business: Buying Chinese herbs
Because my grandma is big on preparing soup dishes for the new year (yes, we’re Cantonese), I decided that getting some Chinese herbs would be the first order of business.
I immediately gravitated towards the discount aisle.
A variety of Chinese herbs, including red dates, goji berries, and peach resin, were going at 20 per cent off for any three items, till Jan. 21, 2023.
I got some, as each packet cost about S$5 to S$30.
I also browsed some Caulis Dendrobii, a type of herbal medicine used in tea or soup, which had a “buy 1 tael get 1 tael free” promotion.
A tael is a traditional measurement of weight that was historically used in the Chinese system of weight and currency, and is roughly equivalent to 37.5 grams.
The Caulis Dendrobii begins from S$100 per tael for a second-grade version of the herb, to S$370 per tael for the most premium version, with the promotion lasting till Jan. 21, 2023.
Alternatively, hampers are available for those looking for a classic and fuss-free gift, with premium items such as mushroom and bird's nest included.
Hampers range from S$168 to S$628, with the grade of the individual items determining the price.
A good back-up plan if one runs out of gift ideas.
Shopping for CNY house decorations
The second floor comprises household and lifestyle items, so I decided to peruse some pretty CNY house decor for my mum.
With my family expecting to host guests this CNY, I was drawn to some vivid red butterfly cushion covers, as well as tissue boxes and table runners, because there’s nothing quite like a splash of colour to spruce up the house and bring in the huat for CNY.
Knowing my mum enjoys putting out her best china to welcome guests to the house, I also browsed some new porcelain crockery.
Some of the tableware, including the ceramic pots, were going for 50 per cent off, while the porcelain plates cost approximately S$49 to S$799 (before discount).
The dinnerware is available in both blue and red.
Qipao for CNY OOTDs
Then, I came across some glamorous-looking qipaos on the third floor.
Qipaos are traditional Chinese gowns often worn during CNY celebrations.
Yue Hwa offers a comprehensive selection, as there are not only qipaos for women, but changshans (the male equivalent of the qipao) for men and even children’s wear too.
Up to 50 per cent off kid’s wear (U.P. S$14.50-S$64.50), men’s wear (U.P. S$39.50- S$110) and women’s wear (U.P. S$15-S$199) was offered for certain qipaos and changshans, and this promotion will last until the end of CNY, while stocks last.
We flocked to the up to 50 per cent section, and were able to find several qipao designs that looked both elegant and modern.
My favourite picks were a bright red silk cheongsam and a sultry-looking wine red qipao, which were too gorgeous to resist trying on.
Pro-tip: for those who wish to accessorise with their CNY wear, there’s also a selection of floral and sequin handbags on sale that pair well with the qipaos, and vibrant cloth shoes for kids on the second floor.
Stocking up on hotpot food items and CNY snacks
Then it was on to the most important level of the building – the fourth floor – where the food mart is located.
My dad is a foodie, and also fits the stereotype of the Asian dad who expresses his love for the family through food.
So I went big on the shopping in this section, as I felt that buying my dad’s favourite food and snacks would be the best way to show my love and appreciation for him.
I got some pineapple tarts (S$9.30) and love letters (S$6.80) first because no CNY is complete without these snacks, as well as some yusheng for prosperity.
The friendly staff manning the food mart also highly recommended Golden Sesame Balls, which they shared were specially made for CNY and unique to Yue Hwa.
Each packet of two cost S$7.
I also stocked up on soup bases and quintessential hotpot ingredients.
There was a wide selection of soup bases available, from Haidilao’s popular tomato and mala soup flavours (S$3.80 each, with a “Buy 3 for S$9.90” offer), to Little Sheep Hot Pot’s mushroom and pig bone soup bases (S$5.20 each).
Beancurd rolls were also available for just S$4.80.
Yue Hwa’s candy section also had a rather impressive range of items, ranging from S$1.29 to S$4.80 per 100g.
Lastly, I bought some fruit liquor for my family to try.
You can also get packet drinks for those who prefer non-alcoholic beverages.
There’s even a tea corner, where one can select their tea of choice from a vast assortment on display.
CNY promotions at Yue Hwa from now to Jan. 21, 2023
All in all, I was able to find what I needed within a couple hours, but the scale and space of the entire store could have easily warranted shopping for at least half a day.
In celebration of CNY 2023, Yue Hwa will be offering various CNY promotions across its stores, from now to Jan. 21, 2023.
During the CNY festive period, Yue Hwa will also have additional in-store promotions with a minimum spend for every transaction. These promotions are limited to one redemption per shopper per day. It includes:
- Receiving an exclusive pack of Yue Hwa red packets (8 pcs) with a minimum spend of S$38
- Receiving an exclusive pack of Yue Hwa red packets (8 pcs) and a limited edition Year of the Rabbit doll with a minimum spend of S$108
- Receiving an exclusive pack of Yue Hwa red packets (8 pcs), a limited edition Year of the Rabbit doll, and a chance to win S$100 Yue Hwa vouchers, Marvis premiums, and Nanyang Old Coffee vouchers, with a minimum spend of S$188. This promotion is limited to the Chinatown store only, from Friday to Sunday.
For more information of exclusive CNY activities at Yue Hwa’s Chinatown departmental store, you can click here.
Aside from its location in Chinatown at 70 Eu Tong Sen St, Yue Hwa also has physical retail stores at Heartland Mall in Kovan, Northpoint City in Yishun, and Jurong Point.
You can also shop online here, with free delivery for purchases over S$80, or self-collection at the Chinatown outlet.
All images via Lean Jinghui
This sponsored article by Yue Hwa Chinese Products made the writer want to buy a qipao.