The 'lucky raw fish' you should try this Chinese New Year
Alixandra Caole Vila (The Philippine Star) - January 30, 2015 - 2:50pm

MANILA, Philippines – Embrace the good luck and celebrate the Year of the Wooden Sheep with a happy stomach and a healthy heart.

The whole world has different ways of celebrating Chinese New Year. One of the cultural activities of Chinese people living in Singapore and Malaysia is serving the “flying salad” or popularly known as the “yu sheng salad."

Yu sheng, meaning “raw fish” is a Chinese New Year’s dish traditionally served on the seventh day of Chinese New Year or Ren Ri (every man’s birthday). It is a salad dish made of thin slices of raw fish, shredded green and white radish, shredded carrots, pickled ginger, crushed nuts and pomelo.

Ancient Roots
The  roots of the dish extend all the way back to Southern China, the homeland of the Cantonese and Teochew Chinese who migrated to Malaysia and Singapore. The Cantonese people ate a similar raw-fish dish on the 7th day of the Chinese New Year and started developing its significance in festivities.

Modern Yu Sheng Salad
The modern yu sheng served in Malaysian and Singaporean restaurants today can be traced from a group of chefs known as the "four heavenly kings,” who trained together under a Hong Kong master chef. They opened their own restaurant and innovated the salad, tagging it as the “lucky raw fish” and popularized it as a New Year delicacy.

Significance of the Ingredients
The Chinese phrase for "raw fish" homophonically resembles the Chinese phrase for "rising abundance.” While sheng literally means “raw,” it also means “life.” Thus, yu sheng  means “abundance of wealth and long life.”
Carrots represent blessings and good luck. Pomelo is for luck and a smooth journey throughout the year while the shredded green radish symbolize eternal youth. Lastly, the crushed nuts represent golden pillows that litter the floor.

The Chinese phrase for "raw fish" homophonically resembles the Chinese phrase for "rising abundance.”

Tossing the salad as a ritual
The ingredients are served on a platter. In Cantonese, yu sheng is also known as lo sheng with lo meaning “tossing up good fortune.” The tossing action is called lo hei, which means to “rise” (hei), again a reference to a thriving business. As the ritual begins, the diners start tossing the salad  with their chopsticks while crying out auspicious sayings. Supposedly, the higher you toss, the more luck you’ll have for the new year.

As the ritual begins, the diners start tossing the salad  with their chopsticks while crying out auspicious sayings. Supposedly, the higher you toss, the more luck you’ll have for the new year.

Steps in doing the ritual:

  1. Gather everyone at the table. Say these words: Gong xi fa cai (congratulations for your wealth) or wan shi ru yi (may all your wishes be fulfilled).
  2. Add the fish for abundance and excess. Say these words: Nian nian you yu and you yu you sheng
  3. Add the pomelo over the fish for luck and auspicious value. Say these words: Da ji da li
  4. Dash the pepper over the ingredients to attract more money and valuable. Say these words: Zhao cai jin bao
  5. Pour the oil on a circular motion to increase all profits 10,000 times and to encourage money to flow in all direction. Say these words: Yi ben wan li and cai yuan guang jin
  6. Add the carrots to the fish for more blessings. Say these words: Hong yun dang tou
  7. Add the shredded green radish on the fish for eternal youth. Say these words: Qing chun chang zhu
  8. Add the shredded white radish for prosperity in business and promotion at work. Say these words: Feng sheng shui qi and bu bu gao sheng
  9. Add the condiments, peanut crumbs, for household filles with gold and silver and longevity and eternal youth. Say these words: Jin yi man wu
  10. Add sesame seeds quickly follow for a flourishing business. Say these words: Sheng yi xing long
  11. Add deep-fried flour crisps in the shape of golden pillow to literally translate to mean the whole floor would be filled with gold. Say these words: Pian di huang jin
  12. Toss the salad while shouting lo hei and other wishes!

Where to eat the best tasting Yu Sheng Salad
Catch the dish at Xin Tian Di restaurant at Crowne Plaza Manila Galleria. The delightful salad is prepared by Chef Andy Fung. Aside from the yu sheng salad, his specialties include an array of authentic Hong Kong-styled dishes which he describes as “healthier option” in Chinese cuisine as it uses less sugar and less oil.


Check out his other dishes on the slideshow below:

 

 

CHINESE CHINESE NEW YEAR COM HONG KONG SALAD SHENG WORDS
  • Latest
Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?
X
Login

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

SIGN IN
or sign in with