Friday, February 10, 2017

Lo Hei Yu Sheng 捞起魚生

Yati has never had "Yu Sheng" before ..... That's what she told us when we had it at Sports Solutions earlier today.

A very, very big thank you to Sham for organising it, preparing the ingredients herself and bringing it to the clinic so that we can celebrate Chinese New Year. Chapeu to Sham!

Unfortunately not all our staff could attend. Here's wishing everyone a Happy and Healthy New Year of the Rooster.

Here's what tossing or Lo Hei Yu Sheng means.

History of Yu Sheng (from Wikipedia):

It usually consists of strips of raw fish mixed with shredded vegetables and a variety of spices, sauces and condiments. Yu Sheng means raw fish but since fish (魚 is commonly conflated with its homophone "abundance"  . Yu Sheng (魚生) is interpreted as a homophone for Yu Sheng (余升) meaning an increase in abundance, signifying prosperity, abundance and vigour.

This contemporary version was created and popularised in the 1960's among the Chinese community in Singapore and Malaysia during Chinese New Year.

The tossing action is called "Lo Hei" (Cantonese for 捞起)  which means to rise. This is a reference to a thriving business and thus its popularity with Chinese businessmen and Chinese businesses during Chinese New Year.

The ingredients are mixed by tossing and pushing them towards the centre while saying "fatt ah" (in Cantonese) of "huat ah" (in Hokkien). It is believed that the height of the tossing reflects the height of the participant's growth in fortunes, thus everyone is expected to toss enthusiastically. 

Here's what we normally say. 恭喜发财 (Gong xi fa cai) meaning "Congratulations for your wealth". 万事如意 (Wan shi ru yi) meaning "May all you wishes be fulfilled". 

The fish is added, symbolising abundance and excess through the year. (Nian nian you you) meaning abundance through the year. Then oil is poured out, circling the ingredients and encouraging money to flow in from all directions. 一本万利 (Yi ben wan li) meaning "Make 10, 000 times the profit of your capital". 财源广进 (Cai yuan guang jin) meaning "Numerous sources of wealth", 

Carrots are then added indicating blessings of good luck. (Hong yun dang tou) meaning "Good luck is approaching. Carrots (红萝卜) are used as the first character 鸿 sounds like the Chinese character for red.

Then the shredded green radish is placed symbolising eternal youth. 青春常驻 (Qing chun chang zhu) meaning "forever young". Green radish is used as the 1st character 青 sounds like the Chinese character green. After which white radish is added - propsperity in business and promotion at work.  风生水起 (Feng sheng shui qi). Progress at a fast pace and 步步高升 (bu bu gao sheng) meaning "Reaching a higher level with each step.

The condiments are then added. 金银满屋 (Jing yin man wu) Peanut crumbs are dusted on the dish, symbolising a household filled with gold and silver. Sesame seeds quickly follow symbolising a flourishing business. 生意兴隆 (Sheng yi xing long) meaning "Prosperity for the business". Yu Sheng sauce is usually plum sauce, generously drizzled over everything. 甜甜蜜蜜 "Tian tian mi mi" meaning May life always be sweet.

Deep fried flour crisps in the shape of golden pillows is then added with wishes that literally mean the whole floor would be filled with gold.  满地黄金 (Man ti huang jin) "Floor full of gold".

Don't worry if you can't finish the dish as a small amount is usually left behind to signify abundance.There you have it. Now you know what it all means. 

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