Happy Year of the Tiger! 新年快乐！万事如意 ！
During our trip to Singapore in December and January, my mum ordered yusheng, a popular “salad” that’s supposed to be good luck when eaten during Lunar New Year.
It has lots of different fruits and vegetables like carrots, radish, shallots, pomelo, ginger, yam. Usually these are shredded into long strips. Raw salmon is a popular topping.
The different ingredients are symbolic. The fish (yu) sounds like the “yu” word in the saying 年年有余 (nian nian you yu), which means abundance through the year. The sweet plum sauce is supposed to represent 甜甜蜜蜜 that life will be sweet. In a restaurant, the server will utter all these various auspicious sayings as they place the specific item on the plate.
When the dish is ready, everyone takes a pair of chopsticks, and the “lohei” begins. It essentially is a tossing of the yusheng ingredients, while saying various good luck wishes. The higher you toss, the better.
As a kid, I never liked eating yusheng. There was too much ginger in it for me. I would grudgingly eat a few mouthfuls for good luck and look forward to the next course. But I love it today. It’s fresh and tasty and has a great blend of ingredients!
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[…] as everyone’s birthday. In Singapore, this is the day you’re supposed to have yusheng (see my post on the yusheng and lohei we did when visiting […]
Gosh I never heard of this before. It looks very fresh and nice. Maybe I will make this one day but I am not sure my Chinese students would eat it – I am looking for where I can find it in a London restaurant and it is pretty specialist as we have few Singapore/Malaysian influences here on our cuisine.
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It’s something I’ve not seen in Chinese restaurants in the US, and very rarely in Singapore-style restaurants here too, even during the new year. It’s actually something that can be done at home, but it does need quite a lot of prep to shred the vegetables etc. The veg are common ones like daikon, carrots, ginger, and really, whatever you may like. I’ve seen some recipes that include capsicum, or others that have more fruits like mango and green papaya (usually it’s just pomelo).
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