Today’s happiness quota was fulfilled by attending this Chinese lunch at the Crystal Jade restaurant with the office colleagues. Singapore, as you all know, is a healthy mix of diverse cultures and just recently celebrated the Lunar New Year with all gung-ho. This year is the Year of the Horse and all around the place; you could see cutouts and miniature red and gold horses in a galloping frenzy, especially around the Chinatown area here. You can read more about the Chinese New Year / Lunar New Year here.
Coming back to the topic of today’s lunch – before the lunch, we started out by commending the New Year with the “traditional Lo Hei”, also known as “Prosperity Toss.” Yusheng (same thing in Chinese) is often served as part of a multi-dish dinner, usually as the appetizer due to its symbolism of "good luck" for the New Year.
These are the ingredients used and this is the meaning of the usage of each ingredient – directly and blatantly copied from Wikipedia.
When putting the yu sheng on the table New Year greetings are offered. “Gong Xi Fa Cai” meaning “Congratulations for your wealth” or “Wan Shi Ru Yi” meaning “May all your wishes be fulfilled”.
The fish is added, symbolizing abundance and excess through the year. “Nian Nian You Yu” meaning “Abundance through the year”, as the word "fish" in Mandarin also sounds like "Abundance".
The pomelo or lime is added to the fish, adding luck and auspicious value. “Da Ji Da Li” meaning “Good luck and smooth sailing”
Pepper is then dashed over in the hope of attracting more money and valuables. “Zhao Cai Jin Bao” meaning “Attract wealth and treasures”
Then oil is poured out, circling the ingredients and encouraging money to flow in from all directions. “Yi Ben Wan Li” meaning “Make 10,000 times of profit with your capital” or “Cai Yuan Guang Jin” meaning “Numerous sources of wealth”
Carrots are added indicating blessings of good luck. “Hong Yun Dang Tou” meaning “Good luck is approaching”. Carrot is used as the first character also sound like the Chinese character for red.
Then the shredded green radish is placed symbolizing eternal youth. “Qing Chun Chang Zhu” meaning “Forever young”. Green radish is used as the first character also sound like the Chinese character for green.
After which the shredded white radish is added - prosperity in business and promotion at work. “Feng Sheng Shui Qi” meaning “Progress at a fast pace” or “Bu Bu Gao Sheng” meaning “Reaching higher level with each step”
The condiments are finally added.
First, peanut crumbs are dusted on the dish, symbolizing a household filled with gold and silver. “Jin Yin Man Wu” meaning “Household filled with gold and silver”
Sesame seeds quickly follow symbolizing a flourishing business. “Sheng Yi Xing Long” meaning “Prosperity for the business”
Yu Sheng sauce, usually plum sauce, is generously drizzled over everything. “Tian Tian Mi Mi” Meaning “May life always be sweet”
Deep-fried flour crisps in the shape of golden pillows are then added with wishes that literally the whole floor would be filled with gold. “Man Di Huang Jin” meaning “Floor full of gold”…
Everyone then tosses the salad an auspicious seven times with loud shouts of Lo Hei and other auspicious New Year wishes. The ingredients are mixed by pushing them toward the center, an encouragement to push on the good luck of all at the table.
Interesting eh? :-) So that’s what we did today.
It was my second time participating in this (the first time was around 2 years back at Citibank)… This one was fun :-) :-) really enjoyed the tossing of the ingredients… hopefully, luck will favor me better than last year! :-)
Ladies and Gentlemen, the Year of the Horse is upon us…
So…. Saddle up, Canter on and Gallop towards a year filled with Happiness, Peace and Prosperity ….
“Gong Xi Fa Cai” all you lovely people…