It is the time of the year again as Chinese New Year is just round the corner. Having worked at Chinese restaurants in my previous career as a Hotelier, I often get questions from both family members and friends about how to organise a Lo-Hei/Yu Sheng and what the various ingredients represent and mean.
Yu Sheng, also known as lo-hei is a Teochew-style raw fish salad. It usually consists of strips of raw fish [most commonly salmon], mixed with shredded vegetables and a variety of sauces and condiments, among other ingredients.
Hence, I present to you the 11 Steps to organising a Lo-Hei/Yu Sheng session [in the event that you have been arrowed/sabo-ed to conduct the Lo-Hei.
Disclaimer: Do note that in Singapore, there are many variations of Yu Sheng with different ingredients and what I have written here is for a simple classic Yu Sheng that you can buy from most stores. Some stores may even substitute the carrots with red ginger or orange peels.
Step 1: Add in the Salmon Slice/Raw Fish and say 年年有余 [Nian Nian You Yu]
年年有余 [Nian Nian You Yu] “means abundance throughout the year”
Step 2: Squeeze the Lime and/or add in the Pomelo & Pomelo Leaf and say 大吉大利 [Da Ji Da Li]
大吉大利 [Da Ji Da Li] means “good luck and smooth sailing”
Step 3: Sprinkle both the Pepper Powder and Cinnamon Powder and say 招财进宝 [Zhao Cai Jin Bao] 五福临门 [Wu Fu Lin Men]
招财进宝 [Zhao Cai Jin Bao] means “to attract wealth and treasures”
五福临门 [Wu Fu Lin Men] means “five blessings to arrive”
Step 4: Pour the Peanut Oil in a circular motion and say 一本万利 [Yi Ben Wan Li]
一本万利 [Yi Ben Wan Li] means “making a 10,000 fold profit with your capital”
Step 5: Add in the Carrots and say 鸿运当头 [Hong Yun Dang Tou]
鸿运当头 [Hong Yun Dang Tou] means “good luck is coming”
Step 6: Add in the Green Radish and say 青春常驻 [Qing Chun Chang Zhu]
青春常驻 [Qing Chun Chang Zhu] means “be forever youthful”
Step 7: Add in the White Radish and say 风声水起 [Feng Sheng Shui Qi]
风声水起 [Feng Sheng Shui Qi] means “progress at a fast pace and reach greater heights”
Step 8: Add in the Chopped Peanuts and say 金银满屋 [Jin Yin Man Wu]
金银满屋 [Jin Yin Man Wu] means “a house filled with gold and silver”
Step 9: Add in the Sesame Seeds and say 生意兴隆 [Sheng Yi Xing Long]
生意兴隆 [Sheng Yi Xing Long] means “prosperity for the business”
Step 10: Add in the Pok Chui Biscuit/Crackers and say 满地黄金 [Man Di Huang Jin]
满地黄金 [Man Di Huang Jin] means “a floor full of gold”
Step 11: Pour the Plum Sauce/Honey/Raw Fish Sauce and say 甜甜蜜蜜 [Tian Tian Mi Mi]
甜甜蜜蜜 [Tian Tian Mi Mi] means “to have sweet and loving relationships”
After completing all the 11 steps, everyone will then take their chopsticks and shout auspicious wishes as they toss the Yu Sheng as high as they can. It is believed that the height of the toss reflects the height of the person’s growth in fortunes, thus everyone is expected to toss enthusiastically.
[Image Credits to Camemberu]
Some auspicious wishes that everyone can use when tossing the Yu Sheng/Lo-Hei:
1. 恭喜发财 [Gong Xi Fa Cai] means “Congratulations on your wealth”
2. 万事如意 [Wan Shi Ru Yi] means “May all your wishes be fulfilled”
3. 步步高升 [Bu Bu Gao Sheng] means “Reaching higher level with each step”
4. 身体健康 [Shen Ti Jian Kang] means “Good health”
5. Huat Ah! [The most classic and epic Hokkien term we always use and it means “To prosper”]
Hope this yu sheng/lo-hei guide will be useful for you if you are ever called upon to organise one!