Monday, February 2, 2009

7th day of lunar new year & yusheng

the seventh day of the lunar new year is renri or yan-yat (meaning "birthday of man", "day of man", "day of humanity" or "everyman's birthday"). in early times, the urban chinese based their forecast of the country's condition for the year on this day's weather. customs in celebrating the day vary from place to place. the people from the fujian province are fond of preparing a special soup with seven health-promoting ingredients to counteract ill health, while those in chekiang eat peace dumplings to bring peace to the country. in singapore and malaysia, yu sheng or "raw fish" is served.

yu sheng is served as an appetizer to raise 'good luck' for the new year and is usually eaten on renri. in a celebration known as "lo hei", families and friends gather around the table and, on cue, proceed to toss the shredded ingredients into the air with chopsticks, while saying auspicious wishes aloud to mark the start of a prosperous new year. the belief is that the higher you toss, the greater will be your fortune!

typical ingredients include: fresh salmon, daikon (white radish), carrot, red pepper (capsicum), ginger, daun limau nipis (lime tree leaves), chinese parsley, ground peanuts, roasted sesame seeds, chinese shrimp crackers (or fried dried shrimp), five spice powder. the dressing is made primarily from plum sauce.

today, we fish-head steamboat dinner at hong kong cuisine restaurant at 7th mile upper bukit timah road. we had the yusheng (raw fish salad) as a starter. some side dishes we had included the pig trotters with mantou and the speciality of the restaurant, "chow tarr (burnt) bee hoon".

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