Lo Hei! Lo Hei!

The raw fish salad is a 'unity forging' appetizer eaten together in big groups during Chinese New Year. The higher its freshly prepared ingredients are tossed in the air with chopsticks, the better your luck! 

Yu sheng (鱼生) sounds like the Chinese word “abundance” and eating it is considered a symbol of prosperity and vigour. When the yu sheng is served on the table, New Year greetings like gong xi fa cai (恭喜发财) meaning “congratulations for your wealth” and wan shi ru yi (万事如意) “may all your wishes be fulfilled” are offered. 

Since Malaysia is multi-cultural, restaurants are serving yu sheng with the gustatory traits of Thai, Japanese, Indian and Peranakan cuisines. Halal and vegetarian versions are also available to meet any diner’s requirements.

In welcoming good luck and blessings, here's a 10-step guide to Lo Hei:- 

1. Add the fish, usually thinly sliced local snakehead fish (in Cantonese, it is called sang yue) or if you like, salmon. Nian nian yu yue (年年有余) means “abundance year after year”, as the word “fish” in Mandarin also sounds like “abundance”.

2. Add the pomelo pulp, which symbolises adding luck and auspicious value. Da ji da li (大吉大利) means “good luck and smooth sailing”.

3. Add a dash of pepper, which symbolises the hope of attracting more money and valuables. Zhao cai jin bao (招财进宝) means to “attract wealth and treasures”.

4. Pour the palm cooking oil, circling the ingredients to encourage money to flow in from all directions. Yi ben wan li (一本万利) means “Make 10,000 times of profit with your capital”. Cai yuan guang jin (财源广进) means “numerous sources of wealth”.

5. Add the carrots, which indicate blessings of good luck. Hong yun dang tou (鸿运当头) means “good luck is approaching”.

6. Add the shredded green radish, which symbolises eternal youth. Qing chun chang zhu (青春常驻) means “forever young”.

7. Add the shredded white radish, which symbolises prosperity in business and promotion at work. Feng sheng shui qi (风生水起) means “progress at a fast pace” and bu bu gao sheng (步步高升) means “reaching a higher level with each step”.

8. Add chopped peanuts and sesame seeds, which symbolises flourishing business. Sheng yi xing long (生意兴隆) means “prosperity for the business”.

9. Add the plum sauce, generously drizzle over the entire dish. Tian tian mi mi (甜甜蜜蜜) means “may life always be sweet”.

10. Add deep-fried flour crisps, which come in the shape of golden pillows and symbolises a floor filled with gold. Man di huang jin (满地黄金) means “floor full of gold”.

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