Shanghai leads rest of the country for New Year's Eve dinner reservations
Retailers and delivery services are banking on a Chinese New Year spending frenzy with lavish festival offerings and signature delicacies for family reunions.
As the Lunar New Year's Eve dinner is regarded as the most important gathering of the year, local and global brands have come up with plenty of new dishes and pre-cooked dinners.
Shanghai has the highest New Year's Eve dinner reservation orders at restaurants, followed by those in Beijing, Hangzhou and Guangzhou, according to Meituan's online booking data.
Meituan's food review site, Dianping, said that searches for New Year's Eve dinner restaurants were up 169 percent from the week before.
Jasmine Miao, who will be spending the holiday in Shanghai with her parents, two children and other family members, revealed that she has already reserved precooked seafood, meat, and pork dishes from Freshippo.
"It saves me the trouble to get the food materials from the wet market, and we plan to gather for dinner at home," she said.
Alibaba's grocery chain Freshippo said it finds over half of the shoppers tend to purchase ready-to-eat or precooked dishes when they plan for family gatherings during the new year.
Over one third of customers liked to cook at home, while about a fifth chose set menus.
Along with regional logistics operation centers in Chengdu and Wuhan, Freshippo also plans to set up food processing lines in Shanghai to increase operational capacity.
Babaofan, or "eight treasure rice" made from sticky rice and various ingredients, has been a traditional New Year's dish. Freshippo said it added over a dozen new babaofan flavours by bringing together local specialty flavours such as chestnut and yellow rice from southwestern provinces.
This year, the grocery chain's New Year menu features a sizable percentage of delicious delicacies from Yunnan and Fujian.
Since late December, Walmart has been offering pre-cooked meals created by 18 leading restaurant chains that feature a variety of culinary styles.
In addition to adding more capacity to ensure the delivery of fresh and frozen food, over 70 new dishes have been added to the shelves.
Pre-cooked dishes created in collaboration with Jin Jiang Restaurant and other time-honored brands are also part of ALDI's New Year's offerings.