What it is
Lo Hei, 捞起 literally translates to “tossing up good fortune” where a group of people will toss and mix a dish of raw fish and colourful ingredients to have an abundance of wealth and long life. It is also known as Yu Sheng, 鱼生.
Eating 鱼 (yu), fish has great meaning to the Chinese as Yu sounds similar to the word “abundance” 余 (yu) in Chinese.
Lo Hei was brought into Singapore by the Cantonese and Teochew immigrants in the 19th century where fishermen would celebrate the 7th day of Chinese New Year - known as 人日 (ren ri), The Day of Humankind, by feasting on their catches. There are two types of Lo Hei practices:
1) The Cantonese way: Eaten only on the 7th day of Chinese New Year
2) The Teochew way: Eaten throughout the Chinese New Year period
In the past, Lo Hei only consisted of fish, carrot slices, radish slices, ginger slices, onions slices and pepper.
In 1964, the “Four Heavenly Chefs” - Lao Yuke Pui, Tham Yui Kai, Hooi Kok Wai, and Sin Leung who were the disciplines of Hong Kong Master Chef Luo Chen, the Head Chef at Cathay Restaurant improvised the dish by adding in peanuts and flour crisps. Not only that! They standardized the plum sauce added to Yu Shengs instead of leaving the mixing to the customers (many could not mix the ideal sauce for their yusheng!)
Watch the video below to find out more about their inspiration behind the making of Lo Hei
The Lo Hei practice includes calling out auspicious phrases while the ingredients are being added. (every ingredient has a meaning behind it!). Be sure to call them out loudly!
#1 Raw Fish - 年年有余 [nián nián yǒu yú]
Meaning: Abundance throughout the year
#2 Pomelo, Lime - 大吉大利 [dà jí dà lì]
Meaning: Great prosperity and luck
#3 Pepper, Cinnamon - 招财进宝 [zhāo cái jìn bǎo]
Meaning: Attract wealth and treasures
#4 Oil - 财原广进、一本万利 [cái yuán guǎng jìn], [yī běn wàn lì]
Meaning: Bless with numerous sources of wealth and to increase your profits by 10,000 times
#5 Carrot slices - 鸿运当头 [hóng yùn dāng tóu]
Meaning: Indicate that good luck is approaching
#6 Green radish slices - 青春永驻 [qīng chūn yǒng zhù]
Meaning: To wish for eternal youth
#7 White radish slices - 步步高升、风生水起 [bù bù gāo shēng], [fēng shēng shuǐ qǐ]
Meaning: To greater heights in all things and to progress at a face pace
#8 Sesame seeds and peanuts - 金银满屋、生意兴隆 [jīn yín mǎn wū], [shēng yì xīng lóng]
Meaning: To wish for your home to be filled with gold and for your business to prosper
#9 Golden crackers - 遍地黄金 [biàn dì huáng jīn]
Meaning: To wish for the floor to be covered with gold
#10 Plum sauce - 甜甜蜜蜜 [tián tián mì mì]
Meaning: To be blessed with sweet relationships
Can’t remember these steps?! We got you covered. Download these images into your phone!
Now, you are ready to share your knowledge with your family and friends. We wish all our rallyers a Happy Chinese New Year!!! Go forth and impress!
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