The most auspicious activity this Chinese New Year: How to plan your office Loi Hei or Yu Sheng like a Pro

The most auspicious activity this Chinese New Year: How to plan your office Loi Hei or Yu Sheng like a Pro

Why we start Chinese New Year with this dish, Yu Sheng (aka Lohei)

The custom of Yu Sheng (raw fish salad) originated in Guangdong, Cantonese and Teochew immigrants brought the custom over. Yu Sheng gained popularity in Singapore in the 1960s during the Chinese New Year celebration through the work of 4 Chef apprentices later named the four heavenly kings. It is a dish that consists of various ingredients such as raw fish, shredded vegetables, pickled ginger, plum sauce, and various condiments. The dish is usually tossed by diners at the table using chopsticks while shouting well-wishes and blessings for the new year. it is typically eaten by the family on the eve of Chinese New Year at the reunion dinner, on the 7th day on Ren Ri 人日, now a days Singaporeans are so hungry for luck they eat it anytime during the 15 days of CNY. The act of tossing the ingredients is believed to bring good luck and prosperity for the coming year. The Yu Sheng has become an integral dish to the CNY Feast. It is not just unique to Singapore but also celebrated in Malaysia.

Step-by-step guide on which ingredients to include and what lo hei sayings go with it

Here's a list of must have ingredients for your Lo Hei, and what they symbolize needed to Lohei like a pro, each ingredient has a specific meaning. 

Most Yushengs come set with Radish, Carrots and Green Radish and other ingredients like mandarin oranges are included to complete the 7 coloured yusheng 七彩鱼生 that we are used to seeing. 

To get started, arrange the fish slices and say Nian Nian You Yu 年年有余: May every year be full of abundance! Abalone or crispy fish skin is often used in place of fish slices. 

After the addition of each ingredient, all the rest will say Shou Dao 收到. Representing that they have received the good wishes

Add in a citrus ingredient and say da ji da li  大吉大利: Good Luck and good prosperity. Chefs may choose limes, orange peal, pomelo. 

Sprinkle pepper and cinnamon (or five-spice powder) powder and say Zhao Cai Jin Bao 招财进宝 : May you attract wealth and have much success.

Pour the oil and say Yi Ben Wan Li 一本万利: May your fortunes and investments multiply

Pour the sweet sauce and say Tian Tian Mi Mi 甜甜蜜蜜: May your life be sweet and full of love.

Pour in the peanuts and say Jin Yin Man Wu 金银满屋: May your home be filled with gold and silver, and many treasures.

Pour in the sesame seed and say Sheng Yi Xing Long 生意兴隆: May your businesses prosper.

Finally, everyone's favourite ingredient, the Golden Crackers. Request for extra bags for more good luck, and only open just before the Lohei to ensure they remain crisp! Man Di Huang Jing 满地黄金: May your floors be covered with cold coins!

Once done, all that's left is to Lo (Toss) the ingredients into the air! It is customary that the higher you toss the ingredients, the better your luck, so toss the salad as high as possible! Now, what to say when tossing! We'll start by saying, have fun with it! Some common auspicious sayings are:

Huat Ah! Meaning, good fortune for everyone!

Gong Xi Fa Cai 恭喜发财 translates to Congratulations and may your wealth grow and grow.

Xue Ye Jing Bu 学业颈部 may your studies continue to improve (said when there are children doing the prosperity toss with you, 

Zao Sheng Gui Zi 早生贵子 when a couple is recently married and you want to be cheeky and wish them a kid this new year. 

Xin Xiang Shi Cheng 心想事成. This is my favourite phrase, may all your dreams and wishes come true this year ahead. 

Thinking of a grand celebration, check out our Dragon Yu Sheng and CNY Buffet Catering

If your office is thinking of splurging for a more festive and abundant welcome to the new year, many have taken to recreating the most legendary of all the zodiac, the Dragons! If you are planning a large scale Lo Hei, be sure to consider a few things:

  1. How many people are you trying to feed, and how long a Yu Sheng can you fit in your office. 

  2. Which day of Chinese New Year are you planning on having it on? 

  3. Remember to book far in advance as most caterers traditionally have a limited capacity and it books up fast!

  4. If you have carpet as flooring, remember to ask for plastic sheets to line the floors. 

  5. Request for Hong 红 table cloths for extra good fortune. 

  6. Contact Shiok Kitchen Catering for all your Lo Hei needs. 

Here's to a tossing good time!

Back to blog