Yee Sang is an integral part of Chinese New Year and would be incomplete without it. You see it offered in restaurants and part of the Chinese New Year course sets in every Chinese restaurant. However, what exactly is it, and what does it symbolise? Every year as the Lunar New Year approaches, stores will stock up on ready-made yee sang and even sell them along with the large plates and chopsticks. What if you forgot to get some for your family? Not to worry as foodpanda offers yee sang delivery for your convenience!
Fun fact, yee sang is not a dish that is found in China, and the practice of tossing and sharing yee sang was unheard of in China. It is said that the conception of the dish began in Malacca as the Chinese came to Malaya through the Malacca port. Interestingly, the recipe initially started as a poor man’s food. That is why the ingredients consist of ingredients that were readily available and found in their garden.
The Legend Behind Yee Sang
It is said that Ren Ri, the Day of Humankind, is celebrated on the corresponding seventh day of Chinese New Year. In celebration of this special day, the Chinese enjoy a unique dish, comprising of seven symbolic elements, which is known to us as “Yee Sang.”
Yee Sang Custom
Yee sang comprises of thin slices of pickled vegetables and various ingredients that are mixed thoroughly before consuming. The highlight of the dish is the plum sauce which gives the dish its signature flavour and fragrance.
Customarily, the dish is placed at the centre of the table and friends, or family members will gather around armed with chopsticks. Everyone then tosses the ingredients into the air while ensuring that the dish thoroughly mixed with the joyful and loud exclamation of “loh hey” which means to toss high. The action of tossing and exclaiming loudly is to wish for an abundance of happiness and good fortune for all.
Ingredients in a Typical Yee Sang
Cucumber, also known as ‘ja kua’ in Chinese, has a similar pronunciation for the word ‘returns.’ Thus, the ingredient symbolises many happy returns in any ventures for the following year.
In Chinese, the term for leek is called ‘qiu tao’ which sounds similar to the Chinese word for ‘ideas.’ Hence, it is consumed in the hopes that one will have more ideas to obtain more knowledge and continue to prosper in relationships, business or life, in general.
I’m sure that you’ve guessed it by now that the Chinese word for ‘papaya’ is mo kua’ which also sounds similar to many returns. Papaya is consumed to ensure the best of profits for your endeavours.
Ginger is one of the popular ingredients in Chinese cooking that is renowned for its medicinal properties. Due to yee sang being raw and pickled vegetables that are often mixed with raw fish, ginger is tossed together to kill bacteria. Besides, it only adds a new component and sharpness to the dish.
Similar to its white counterpart, red ginger has antibacterial properties and helps to reduce the smell of raw fish. Moreover, the red adds a pop of colour and vibrancy to the dish.
Due to its bright orange hue, the thinly sliced carrot resembles gold. Thus, the ingredient signifies mountains of treasure and gold that one wishes to have in their home.
Pomelo symbolises good luck and smooth sailing in everyone’s daily lives. Not only that, but the fruit also indicates more success or auspicious value to one’s life.
Radish is an excellent component as it adds bulk to the dish. It also has a subtle flavour which makes it perfect for adding to the dish. The shredded white radish signifies prosperity at work and promotion. Additionally, it means that one can progress faster in the workplace and reach higher levels with each step taken.
Pok Chui Crackers
This crunchy component symbolises gold bars and taels from ancient China due to its golden-brown colour. The sprinkling and crunch are likened to a floor that has gold spilling over so that we’ll always have money at home.
Sweet Plum Sauce
The sweetness is essential as it signifies that the year ahead will be full of sweetness. Generally, the sweet plum sauce is used, but it may be substituted with apple sauce or sweet walnut sauce.
The oil symbolises liquid gold pouring over your life so that every aspect of your life is prosperous and full of auspiciousness.
Pepper and Five Spice Powder
The sprinkling of these two is likened to inviting more wealth into your life. The five-spice powder also represents the five branches of happiness believed by the Chinese. This includes wealth, health, kindness, family and happy endings at every turn.
Besides adding some zest and tang, lime juice is ‘kat zhai’ in Chinese which means having never-ending luck headed your way (tai kat tai lei).
Where to Get Yee Sang Delivery in KL
If you’re interested in trying out unique recipes of yee sang, you can order from Paradise Dynasty (Bangsar Village). Be sure to check out their yee sang with jellyfish, salmon or sliced abalone!Moreover, if you’re a fan of salmon, you’ll love yee sang from Japanese restaurants. Order from Sakae Sushi for their Money Yee Sang and Sushi King for their Prosperity Yee Sang.
Need more food for a family dinner or gathering with friends? Order now using foodpanda and enjoy various discounts on selected restaurants.