Lunar New Year is not complete without mixing the auspicious yusheng (raw fish salad), a tradition known as lo hei (Cantonese for tossing to great heights). We share the origins of this dish and where to get the picks of the season.
It began as a simple raw fish salad eaten on the seventh day of Lunar New Year, a practice that early settlers from Guangdong, China, brought to Singapore. Thanks to some creative tweaking – think colourful ingredients and a piquant dressing – by four local Cantonese chefs in the 1960s, the tradition of lo hei yusheng has evolved into an elaborate dining must-have at every festive gathering throughout the 15 days of Chinese New Year.
As ingredients such as raw fish slices and lime juice are added to the platter, auspicious sayings such as “nian nian you yu” (abundance every year) and “da ji da li” (great fortune and wealth) are called out by the server and often echoed by diners. When the process is complete, everyone picks up their chopsticks to toss the salad together, a lively and often amusing scene with strands of shredded vegetables flying in every direction – all in the hopes of a year of prosperity and happiness ahead.
SEE ALSO: Chinese New Year: Culture and Traditions
1. Cassia’s Prosperity Lou Hei – Capella Singapore (January 14 to February 11)
To signify a prosperous new year ahead, Cassia’s Prosperity Lou Hei comprises a generous serving of fresh greens, salmon and homemade passionfruit sauce for a citrusy kick. Each ingredient has been meticulously handpicked by the Cantonese fine-dining restaurant’s executive chef Lee Hiu Ngai.
2. Fortune 3D Fiery Rooster Yu Sheng – Conrad Centennial Singapore (January 10 to February 11)
Golden Peony’s executive Chinese chef Ku Keung has fashioned a chocolate rooster standing tall amid a nest of julienned vegetables, tossed in a zesty homemade sauce. The dish’s full name, Fortune 3D Fiery Rooster Yu Sheng with Kanpachi, Abalone, Salmon, Crispy Fish Skin and White Bait, may be a mouthful to recite, but this tossed salad is surely a mouthful worth savouring.