Since the Chinese are celebrating Chinese New Year, this post will be about Yee Sang. Similar to Turkey on Thanks Giving and Ketupat and Rendang on Hari Raya Aidilfitri, it is a food of Chinese tradition nearing Chinese New Year.
It is a Teochew style, raw fish salad. It usually consists of strips of raw fish,usually salmon, mixed with shredded vegetables and a variety of sauces and condiments, among other ingredients.Many believed that the Yee Sang seen today originated from China it self. Versions of it is thought to have existed in China, but the contemporary version is created and popularised in Singapore in the 1960s amongst the ethnic Chinese community and its consumption has been associated with Chinese New Year festivities in Singapore as well as here in Malaysia.
Fishermen along the coast of Guangzhou traditionally celebrated Renri, the seventh day of the Chinese New Year, by feasting on their catches. The practice of eating raw fish in thinly sliced strips can be traced back to ancient China.
The modern yusheng dish originated during the Lunar New Year in 1964 in Singapore's Lai Wah Restaurant and was invented by master chef Than Mui Kai (head chef of the restaurant) as a symbol of prosperity and good health amongst the Chinese.
Yee Sang contains fish (usually Salmon) served with daikon (white radish), carrots,red pepper (capsicum), turnips, red pickled ginger, sun-dried oranges, daun limau nipis (key lime leaves), Chinese parsley, chilli, jellyfish, chopped peanuts, toasted sesame seeds, Chinese shrimp crackers (or fried dried shrimp), five spice powder and other ingredients, laced with a sauce using plum sauce, rice vinegar, kumquat paste and sesame oil, for a total of 27 ingredients.
Upon eating,all diners at the table will stand up and on cue, proceed to toss the shredded ingredients into the air with chopsticks while saying various "auspicious wishes" out loud. It is believed that the height of the toss reflects the height of the diner's growth in fortunes, thus diners are expected to toss enthusiastically.
It is, today, not only enjoyed by Chinese but also the Malays, Indians and many other races.
Here is a video of how it is tossed before eating.