Gong Xi Fa Cai! Happy Chinese New Year!
Two years since moving back to the US, we are back in Malaysia to visit during Chinese New Year. It is good to be back!
We have soooo been looking forward to this trip! We have missed all our family and friends here. In addition, we have missed all the great food that Malaysia has to offer.
The first thing we ate at our reunion dinner? Yee Sang.
What is Yee Sang?
Yee Sang, written 鱼生 in Chinese, literally means “raw fish”. It was a dish traditionally eaten by Cantonese fishermen on the 7th day of the Lunar New Year. The modern version is a shredded salad that was invented in 1964 by four master chefs in Singapore (then a part of Malaysia). Many Chinese families in Singapore and Malaysia eat this dish during Chinese New Year, but it is not so well known among Chinese in other parts of the world.
Although originally a restaurant dish, you can purchase prepared yee sang boxes to take home from restaurants, grocery stores and markets. All you need to do is assemble and eat.
The ingredients for yee sang include strips of raw fish or jellyfish, peeled pomelo, and shredded vegetables like daikon, carrots, and pickled ginger. Other ingredients could include jicama, dried orange peel, or dried lime leaves. You begin by assembling the ingredients on a large platter.
Assembling the Yee Sang
Various toppings are added, such as fried noodles, fried crackers, crushed peanuts, sesame seeds, a sweet sticky plum sauce, and finally some Chinese five spice powder. Each ingredient has auspicious meanings attached to it, such as good luck, good health, and especially more wealth.
Topping the Yee Sang
The final step before eating is to “lo” or toss the salad. Instead of one person doing it, the whole family gathers around the table, grabs a pair of chopsticks, and tosses the salad all together while calling out various good wishes. Here’s our toss:
As you can see, we have a lot of fun doing it! I only wish that Malaysian restaurants in America would start serving it.
Have you had yee sang? Leave a comment below!
Read other bloggers’ posts about yee sang / yu sheng:
Yu Sheng (CNY Raw Fish Salad) recipe by NoobCook
Yee Sang Chinese New Year Salad recipe by Not Quite Nigella
Yee Sang recipe by My Kitchen Snippets
A Chinese New Year Dish called Yu Sheng recipe by The Asian Grandmothers Cookbook
Yu Sheng Worth Eating by EatingAsia