Even among the ever-increasing array of delicacies on offer during the festive Chinese New Year season, the quintessential “Yu Sheng” remains a perpetual favorite. Despite it being the most well-known dish of this festive season, few fully understand the significance of the ingredients this dish typically constitutes.
Fish, the key ingredient, is the symbol of abundance through the entire year. Pomelo and carrot, which are then added over the fish, indicate blessings of good luck, while shredded green radish representing everlasting youth remains an all-time favourite, for apparent reasons. Finally, the condiments are showered over the dish — sesame seeds symbolizing a flourishing business are followed by peanut crumbs, in hopes of having a household overflowing with gold and silver!
With the dish now ready for serving, all present would gather around to toss the salad an auspicious seven times. Boisterous shouts of lo hei (Cantonese for “tossing luck”), wan shi ru yi (may all be smooth-sailing), nian nian you yu (may you have a surplus every year), jin yin man wu (may you obtain abundant wealth) among other New Year well-wishes are often heard when tossing the ingredients into the air — the higher the better!
Enlightened now about the meanings behind each ingredient in “Yu Sheng”, let us look forward to enjoying this dish with our loved ones, and a year of overflowing abundance and frutifulness in all that we do!