Weaker ringgit boon for JB seafood restaurants

JOHOR BARU - Popular seafood restaurants here are benefiting from the weaker ringgit as they have received more bookings for the Chinese New Year reunion dinner especially from those working in Singapore.

The restaurants are enjoying brisk business with most of them already fully booked a month ahead of the Lunar New Year, which falls on Feb 19.

Taison Restaurant supervisor William Lee said they experienced some 40 per cent increase in reservations from those working in Singapore as well as Singaporeans.

"It is cheaper here compared to what they have to pay in Singapore for similar dishes like abalone, fresh fish and lobster," he told The Star here yesterday.

Lee said the restaurant's pun choy set, a dish consisting mainly of seafood braised with fish maw, mushroom, dried scallops, chicken, carrot, sea cucumber and yam, was a popular choice this year.

"I think this is due to the number of bookings made by companies who want to have their Chinese New Year dinner at our restaurant. Pun choy symbolises good fortune," he added.

Grand Straits Garden Seafood Restaurant manager Jenica Yong said the restaurant saw a 20 per cent increase in customers who were locals working across the Causeway compared to the previous years.

"Maybe they felt that it was worth their money this time due to the higher currency exchange and decided to have their reunion meals at restaurants instead of cooking at home," she said.

Yong added that all 180 tables have been fully booked since the second week of January for reunion dinners while 50 per cent have been booked for the lunch slot.

She said the most popular meal package is the RM1,388 eight-course menu, which included live performances and shows by local celebrities.

Johor Jaya Pekin Restaurant supervisor, who declined to be named, said the outlet had to turn down bookings for reunion meals as all 100 tables for lunch and dinner have been fully booked.