Yee sang (also known as ‘Yusheng’, ‘Yuu Sahng’ or ‘Lo Hei’) is a specialty Chinese New Year dish and is one of the VIVE Team’s favourite traditions because it’s a fun meal to create and gets the whole family involved.
Yee sang is a delicious raw fish salad that has a mix of shredded vegetables and a variety of condiments and sauces. It’s typically served before any main dish and is a great way to get each person around the table to connect and make a wish for the Chinese New Year.
This tradition is a multi-dish dinner that symbolises prosperity. ‘Yu’ translates to bounty/prosperity in Chinese, so to promote this, fish (also called ‘yu’) is added to the dish. The fish in this salad is raw, which is ‘sang’ in Chinese, as this means to grow and prosper.
Yee Sang is believed to have originated from the coast of GuangZhou in China, then brought to Malaysia by Chinese immigrants. Although Yee Sang is a popular Chinese New Year tradition in Malaysia and Singapore today, it has also spread to other Chinese-populated countries.
To begin Yee Sang, usually one member of the group prepares the base of the dish, which consists of fish and crackers. Then, as each ingredient is added, “auspicious wishes” are said for each one. These sayings represent what each ingredient means – to learn more about each saying, watch this video by SAYS on Youtube.https://youtu.be/Ub3_m4AJq4g
After the ingredients have been added, it’s time to get everyone involved! Every person around the table grabs a set of chopsticks and the salad is tossed by everyone, at the same time.
To replicate this tradition with your family and friends, we highly recommend Malaysian Chinese Kitchen’s recipe, which you can find here.