The Symbolic Meanings Behind Yu Sheng

An important ritual during the Chinese New Year, yu sheng is the practice of tossing each ingredient in a salad. We learn more about the meaning behind each ingredient from five hotels.

Usher in the Year of the Ox, and start counting your blessings with each of the ingredients listed in the article below. The yu sheng toss can be referred to as one of the more iconic festive moments during Chinese New Year. The Chinese culture places a heavy emphasis on food and their associated symbolic significance, making yu sheng no less different. From familiar favourites such as abalone slices to seafood delights, we visit some of the best Chinese restaurants on the island to discover what makes each yu sheng special from the rest.

Premium Lou Hei (Image courtesy of Cassia)

Capella Singapore’s Cantonese restaurant, Cassia offers two options. Firstly, the Premium Lou Hei features abalone, lobster, kawahagi and amaebi. In Mandarin, abalone is referred to as baoyu, a homonym for abundance. Their Signature Prosperity Lou Hei sticks to classic ingredients such as salmon with kumquat sauce. Given its alternative name, yu sheng, meaning ‘raw fish,’ it is hardly surprising that salmon is a central ingredient during celebration.

For more information, visit capellahotels.com.

Treasures of Sea Yu Sheng (Image courtesy of Madame Fan)

Madame Fan invites diners to toss up good fortune with sustainably farmed seafood. True to its name, the Treasures of Sea Yu Sheng consists of Alaskan king crab, Boston lobster, Hokkaido scallop, abalone, salmon, bluefin tuna and kombu. Interestingly, crustaceans such as crab and lobster are symbols of good fortune. The distinct redness from the lobster is believed to resemble a dragon, representing strength.

 For more information, visit madamefan.sg.

Prosperity Yu Sheng (Image courtesy of Yan Ting)

The Prosperity Yu Sheng offered at Yan Ting features crispy silverfish and sliced abalone with pomelo, peaches, white radish, cucumber strips and dried orange peels. In Mandarin, pomelo sounds similar to the word, ‘to have’ and ‘to repeat’, attributed to greater wealth. Citrus fruits are said to bring continuous prosperity, hence their customary appearance.

For more information, visit marriottbonvoyasia.com.

Joyful Blessings Yu Sheng (Image courtesy of Min Jiang)

Multi-award winning restaurant Min Jiang offers its artful rendition of yu sheng. With edible flowers, goldfish-shaped Japanese pickles, and even the Chinese character chun, the dish embodies the spirit of Spring. In Chinese tradition, fish equates to wealth, so count your luck with wasabi flying fish roe and salmon slices!

For more information, visit goodwoodparkhotel.com.


15 Stamford Yu Sheng Platter (Image courtesy of 15 Stamford)

The 15 Stamford Salmon Yu Sheng platter features vegetable slaw, plum dressing and crackling fresh skin crisps. The plum dressing in particular, is a traditional ingredient. Pouring the sauce oversignifies a bind to form stronger connections. Additionally, the sweetness represents hope for a good year ahead.

For more information, visit capitolkempinski.com.

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Ann Mary Mathew

Editorial Intern

An explorer at heart and a bit of a dreamer at times, she’s usually found snapping photographs of people and places from her travels. On other days, you can find her curled up on bed reading alternate theories on Reddit about sci-fi shows or hanging around at the latest brunch spot.

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