Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Yee Sang

"Yee Sang" is basically a Chinese raw fish salad which is also known as Prosperity Toss. Eating "Yee Sang" is a tradition for the Chinese in Malaysia and it is served as a must-have appetizer during Chinese New Year for its symbolic meaning. It is originally consumed on "Yan Yat" which falls the seventh day of the first month in the Chinese calendar. This is the day when humans were created according to Chinese legends.

The name "Yee Sang" sounds like growing abundance and Chinese love to eat anything with an auspicious sounding name. It is characterized by it’s colorfulness and it is served in a large flat plate with vegetables arranged around a small serving of raw fish in the middle.

The most important thing in eating "Yee Sang" is the tossing of the salad with chopsticks together with everyone around the table. The action of tossing is known as "Lo Hei" which symbolizes increasing prosperity, abundance and vigor. "Toss it high! Toss it for good luck!! The higher the better!" It is believed the higher you toss, the more luck and prosperity will come to you. This explains why this dish is very popular among businessmen.

So where does the yee sang we know today come from? Southern China’s Guangdong province is the place but only a handful knows it. I still remember my childhood days where my grandma used to prepare this for Chinese New Year reunion dinner, on the 7th and also the 15th day of the Chinese New Year. Back then life wasn't easy. Raddish, carrots and turnips were the only main ingredients used...mixed along with some sesame oil, vinegar, plum sauce, honey and not forgetting the nuts and crispy chips...Simple and yet Tasty! Yee Sang + Reunion = Happiness !!!