In the heart of every Chinese New Year celebration lies a cherished tradition known as lo hei 捞鱼生. This vibrant and joyous custom, also referred to as yusheng, is a colorful raw fish salad that holds deep cultural significance in Chinese communities, particularly in Singapore.

What exactly is 'Lo Hei'? 

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Lo hei, which translates to "tossing good fortune" in Cantonese, embodies the spirit of renewal and optimism associated with the new year. The dish typically consists of thinly sliced raw fish, commonly salmon, accompanied by an array of fresh vegetables, fruits, and condiments. Each ingredient holds symbolic meaning, and the act of tossing the salad high into the air is believed to usher in blessings and prosperity for the year ahead.

Origins of the Tradition

The origins of lo hei can be traced back to China, where similar customs are practiced during the Lunar New Year festivities.

The Ritual of Tossing (捞鱼生步骤)

One of the most exhilarating aspects of lo hei is the tossing ritual itself. As the salad is assembled on a large platter, participants use chopsticks to toss the ingredients high into the air while reciting auspicious phrases and well-wishes for the new year. The higher the salad is tossed, the greater the abundance and prosperity believed to come in the year ahead. This communal act fosters a sense of togetherness and shared blessings among family members and friends. So here comes the tossing part! 

1. Raw Fish:  年年有余 (nián nián yǒu yú) Wishing for abundant prosperity every year.

2. Pomelo: 大吉大利 (dà jí dà lì) Wishing for great luck and prosperity.

3. Pepper and Cinnamon: 招财进宝 (zhāo cái jìn bǎo) Inviting wealth and treasures.

4. Oil: 财源广进 (Cái yuán guǎng jìn) May wealth pour in from all directions.

5. Carrots: 鸿运当头 (hóng yùn dāng tóu) Good luck is at your doorstep.

6. Green Radish: 青春常驻 (qīng chūn cháng zhù) Wishing for everlasting youth.

7. White Radish: 风生水起 (fēng shēng shuǐ qǐ) and 步步高升 (bù bù gāo shēng) May business thrive and prosper.

8. Chopped Peanuts: 金银满屋 (jīn yín mǎn wū) May your home be filled with wealth and abundance.

9. Sesame Seeds: 生意兴隆 (shēng yì xīng lóng) Wishing for a flourishing business.

10. Crackers: 遍地黄金 (biàn dì huáng jīn) May gold be scattered all around.

11. Plum Sauce: 甜甜蜜蜜 (tián tián mì mì) Wishing for sweetness and happiness in relationships.

February 09, 2024

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