Thursday, 18 February 2010

Lou Hei know-how

Happy New Year! How has everyone's CNY been? Angbao collection doing well so far? =D I haven't opened mine! I only opened last years red packets this year!!!! Lol~ Some good luck thing la~

Thought I'll share some interesting CNY knowledge with you guys~ =D
p/s. May come in useful on Saturday~

Do you know? The 7th day of the lunar new year is an additional birthday for us if we are Chinese.

According to long ago belief, the first 8 days of CNY were birthdays for specific animals:
First day: Chickens
2nd day: Dogs
3rd day: Pigs
4th day: Sheep
5th day: Cows
6th day: Horses
7th day: Humans
8th day: Grains (don't ask me how this got here~ it just is...)

No creature was to be killed on its birthday. No wonder every year on 初一, luan lor NEVER included chicken meat! Food was mostly seafood and pig parts.

FYI butchers do not slaughter pigs from NYE to New Year's Day~!

On the 7th day, which is 人日, we eat uncooked lettuce and raw fish, reason being the Chinese word for fresh or raw (生)also means "life" or "grow". Therefore eating fresh vegetables and live fish is symbolic of a long and prosperous life~ Hence we have the raw fish salad known as yusheng (鱼生).

The Chinese word for fish - 鱼 has the same pronounciation as the word for "excess" - 余, and since 生means life, yusheng is eaten for a long life and abundant wealth.

The act of tossing the raw fish is also known as lou hei (捞起) - "tossing up good fortune", and during the act of lou-hei-ing, I'm sure many of you know we have to say all the nice and auspicious things for good luck in the new year. And before the lou hei is done, you know it comes with things like white vinegar, honey, pepper and what-nots right? Here I shall share with you what to say when you pour the specific condiment or "liao" in, just in case you don't have a waitress to do all these things for you. ;)

Before you say or do anything after yusheng is being served, everyone exchanges auspicious words or phrases to each other. Here's a list to help you -

恭喜发财 gong xi fa cai
万事如意 wan shi ru yi
身体健康 shen ti jian kang
事事顺心 shi shi shun xin
学业进步 xue ye jin bu
岁岁平安 sui sui ping an

Then, you add the fish,  in Singapore, it should be salmon. =) Fish symbolises abundance and excess.
年年有余! (nian nian you yu)

Next, the pomelo is added for luck. Sometimes this may be replaced by kumquat paste.
大吉(橘)大利! (da ji da li)

Pepper and cinnamon powder is then dashed over the ingredients to attract more wealth.
招财进宝! (zhao cai jin bao)

Oil is added (usually sesame oil), circling the ingredients to increase profits 10,000 times (万) and to encourage money to flow in from all directions.
一本万利! (yi ben wan li)
财源广进! (cai yuan guang jin)

Plum sauce is added for laughter and happiness, as well as for couples to be forever loving.
眉(梅)开眼笑! (mei kai yan xiao)
甜甜蜜蜜! (tian tian mi mi)

Carrots are added indicating blessings of good luck.
鸿(红)运当头! (hong yun dang tou)

Shredded green radish is added symbolising eternal youth.
青春常驻!  (qing chun chang zhu)

After which the shredded white radish is added - prosperity in business and promotion at work.
风生水起! (feng sheng shui qi)
步步高升! (bu bu gao sheng)

Chopped peanut bits 花生 are dusted on the dish symbolizing a household filled with gold and silver. As an icon of longevity, peanuts also symbolize eternal youth
金银满屋! (jin yin man wu)

Sesame seeds quickly follow symbolizing a flourishing business.
生意兴隆! (sheng yi xing long)

Deep-fried flour crisps in the shape of golden pillows is then added with wishes that literally the whole floor would be filled with gold.
偏地黄金! (pian di huang jin)
All toss the salad an auspicious 7 times with loud shouts of "lo hei" 捞起 and other auspicious New Year wishes.
Lo hei 捞起 is Cantonese for "tossing luck".

The ingredients are mixed by pushing them toward the centre, an encouragement to push on the good luck of all at the table. If you can't finish the salad, don't worry, as usually a small amount is left behind to signify abundance.

Every restaurant serves a slightly different yusheng. But this post here can serve as a guide for you~
Hope you'll find this information useful!

Love me not? ;)


1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the detailed explanation of the meaning of each ingredient. I could never remember them. Wishing you a very prosperous new year!