Labelled by Singaporeans as “something we only do in Singapore” and defined by Wikipedia as something whose “consumption has been associated with Chinese New Year festivities in Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore”, the Yusheng or Prosperity Toss is something that, either ways, will force me to go back to South East Asia to find out more.
Believed to have Chinese roots, Yusheng literally means “raw fish” and it is associated to the word “abundance” as both are pronounced in a similar way in Chinese. This salad, which obviously has as one of its main ingredients some raw fish (nowadays mainly salmon I’ve been told), represents a wish for luck and prosperity to all the people seating at the table for New Year’Eve elebrations.
In fact, even if made following the most different recipes, according to family tastes and traditions, the Prosperity salad usually features a conspicuous number of symbolic ingredients, such as shrimp crackers, Calamondin or Pomelo, sesame seeds, plum sauce and a lot others which have all in common the fact that, in Chinese culture, are all metaphorically related to the concept of wealth, abundance, longevity and luck in all different situations of everyday life.
it’s not just about piling up random stuff on a plate and making cool chromatic choices,
but there are actually a couple of things you should take into account when preparing this dish.
One thing i loved is that Yusheng is a real interactive dish. Everybody is involved from preparation to tossing. Usually all the ingredients are added, one by one, into a communal large plate placed in the centre of the table.
Final question: why Prosperity toss?
What’s this toss all about?
Well, clearly enough tossing is the best part and it only comes at the end. After the salad has been dressed and it’s ready to eat everybody has to get their hands dirty and start tossing the salad with his/her own chopsticks. While throwing the salad all over the place you have to tell New Year Greetings such as Gong Xi Fa Cai or Nian Nian You Yu and many others which are all equally good as wishes for wealth and longevity. If you are not particularly strong in Mandarin, no worries, just stick with Gong Xi Fa Cai (as I did). It’ll do.
Anyway, whatever you say, the most important thing is that you toss and you really gotta toss like a pro as the higher you throw your salad the better luck you will attract to your future.
Don’t get too much enthusiastic though or who is in charge of the cleaning up won’t wish such luck for sure!
I don’ know whether Yusheng will actually bring me luck and money this year (btw the way we have a few tickets left for next event) but surely, after throwing in the air pieces of carrots and salmon in different houses during my Singaporean escape, I can firmly tell that Yusheng is an incredible ritual to bring people together and make you feel part of an enlarged Yusheng family.
Then if you get to become the luckiest man in town, well, don’t forget your friends!
Following a short informative video on Yusheng. I apologise to all the Final Cut Pro ravers i’m just a humble wanna be Martin Scorsese chef.
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