Your Guide to the Lunar New Year “Lohei” Tradition in the Lion City

Celebrate the Year of the Pig with these six exquisite yusheng platters, which symbolize prosperity and wealth.

The higher you toss, the better your fortune!

Celebrated in many parts of Asia, Lunar New Year is a Chinese festival marking the beginning of a new year on the traditional Chinese calendar. While the festival is synonymous with red envelopes, lion dances, and glutinous rice cakes, the way it’s being observed differs vastly from country to country.

In Singapore, you’ll find families tossing a giant plate of yusheng (literally raw fish in Chinese) salad while shouting out phrases associated with luck and prosperity. For the curious, the tradition of a “prosperity toss,” also known as lo hei, is a Cantonese-style raw fish salad with rather interesting origins.

A common festive activity for families in Singapore and Malaysia, the prosperity toss is believed to be first created by four master chefs in 1964 in a restaurant kitchen in Singapore, then a part of Malaysia. Another legend has it that the practice of eating raw fish can be traced back to ancient China when fishermen celebrated the seventh day of Lunar New Year by feasting on their freshest catch.

Nonetheless, raw fish remains a standard ingredient in the yusheng, as “fish” phonetically sounds like “abundance” in the Chinese language. As such, tossing it with gusto represents an increase in abundance and vigor.

Aside from raw fish, the other ingredients in the yusheng also correspond to various auspicious phrases. For instance, pomelo represents good luck and a smooth sailing year ahead; pepper is for attracting wealth and treasures, while green radish symbolizes eternal youth. Even the crunchy bits of golden crackers scattered over the yusheng at the end, stand for a floor filled with gold.

If you’re spending Lunar New Year in the Lion City this year, be sure to try out these six yusheng platters for yourself.

Photo: Sky22

1. Signature Golden Fortune Suckling Pig Lo Hei

To celebrate the Year of the Pig, executive chef John Chye of Sky22 has created the Signature Golden Fortune Suckling Pig Lo Hei, which features pork in place of the traditional raw fish. Textural and flavorful, the yusheng platter features roasted suckling pig skin, bak kwa flakes, crackling puffed pigskin, orange, and pickled ginger. For a refreshing touch, shredded red carrots and white radish have been added, alongside a generous drizzle of orange and plum sauce.

Available at Courtyard by Marriott Singapore Novena.

Photo: Cassia

2. Cassia Premium Lou Hei

Impress your guests with the Cassia Premium Lo Hei, which is served with a carved pumpkin sculpture of a pig looking out from a cliff, signifying a year of smooth sailing. Aside from the usual sliced vegetables and crackers, the yusheng platter also comes with luxurious ingredients including lobster, abalone, black truffle, and fresh salmon slices. Before tossing, add in the chef’s homemade passion fruit sauce for sweetness and harmony.

Available at Capella Singapore.

Photo: Jade

3. Special Piggy Edition Gold Rush Yu Sheng

Served at Cantonese restaurant Jade, the lavish Special Piggy Edition Gold Rush yusheng is beautifully plated and delicious to boot. Before tossing, take a moment to admire the platter, which features the image of an adorable piglet formed by pink radish (a masterpiece that takes the chef 1.5 hours of work). The exquisite ingredients include Australian abalone, lobster, house-made champagne jelly decorated with edible gold leaf, and more.

Available at The Fullerton Hotel Singapore.

Photo: Forest

4. Design-Your-Own Signature Salmon Yusheng

If you fancy designing your very own yusheng platter, with all of your favorite toppings and sauces, then this yusheng from Forest is perfect for you. The contemporary Chinese fine-dining restaurant is offering celebrity chef Sam Leong’s Signature Salmon Yusheng with a twist, allowing diners to pick their own preferred flavor mix and portion to create a unique platter to enjoy. For the final touch, pour in the homemade citrus yuzu honey lime dressing and you’re all set to usher in the new year.

Available at Equarius Hotel.

Photo: Summer Palace

5. Chocolate Piglets Yu Sheng

Bound to draw squeals of delight from both young and old, the Chocolate Piglets Yu Sheng at Summer Palace features eight tiny piglets crafted from white chocolate. To counter the sweetness from these adorable critters, the rest of the yusheng platter features savory options ranging from unusual bird’s nest and pear to the flavorful marinated Hokkigai clam with jellyfish. There are also options to customize the platter with additional ingredients like poached lobster and salted egg yolk crispy fish skin.

Available at Regent Singapore.

Photo: Summer Pavilion

6. Crispy Pork and Caviar Yu Sheng

Start the Year of the Pig on an auspicious note with the Crispy Pork and Caviar Yu Sheng, created by Chinese executive chef Cheung Siew Kong of the one-Michelin-starred Summer Pavilion. Expect plenty of crunch from the slices of crispy roasted suckling pig skin, brininess from the orbs of caviar, and sweetness from the jellyfish. Colorful shredded vegetables, yam, and sweet potato, as well as a sweet and sour dressing, complete the platter.

Available at The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore.

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