Can you believe that we’re just days away from Chinese New Year 2020? As usual, whenever CNY rolls around, besides angpows, the other thing that’s a must-have, or rather, must-eat, is yee sang. Call it louhei, lou sang, yusheng – whichever, but it’s still an essential. A symbol of abundance and prosperity, yee sang can be enjoyed multiple times during CNY. The more you toss, the more you prosper? Maybe. But we’re not here to discuss the frequency of lou-ing. Instead, we want to take a look at the different types of yee sang. Sure, it mostly stays the same with various ingredients and condiments with raw fish strips, but just like everything else, it has evolved with time as well.
1) Fruit Yee Sang
Mostly, yee sang is comprised of shredded vegetables as its “base”, but why use that if you want something different? An upgraded version of a fruit salad, you can even choose your own favourite fruits and prepare it at home exactly according to your liking. To make it festive and “lucky”, all you need to do is choose fruits with a variety of colours, and maybe include “auspicious” fruits like pomelo and mandarin oranges, and you’re set! Some versions still include raw fish strips, but that’s totally up to you.
2) The Usual
Qi cai yusheng, fa cai yusheng, or just yusheng… these are just some of the common versions of yee sang we know and consume regularly. It’s the colourful version of shredded radishes, carrots, ginger and onion slices, crushed peanuts, pomelo, sesame oil, pepper etc. You know those. Walk in to any Chinese restaurant during the CNY period, ask for yee sang without specifying what sort, and you’ll be getting this good ol’ reliable.
3) Vegetarian Yee Sang
More and more people are going for vegetarian food options, and that includes yee sang as well. Most ingredients in yee sang are vegetables anyway, but in this case, the raw fish strips are replaced with soy fish strips instead. A full on vegetarian option! Vegetarian restaurants serve up this version, or you could actually make your own at home if you feel up to the task of selecting, slicing and shredding your preferred vege.
4) Luxurious Yee Sang
Looking to splurge and take yee sang to the next level because why not? Instead of raw fish strips, up your yeesang game by opting for king crabs, octopus, lobster and abalone just to name a few. Some high-end restaurants serve this option, so all you have to do is scout around and find your preferred luxurious yee sang. After all, if it’s just an annual thing, why not go for it, right?
5) Lazy Yee Sang
Can’t be bothered to make your own nor squash with the crowd during the CNY period but still need that yee sang? No worries, because you could always head to your nearest supermarket and pick up some pre-packed yee sang. Not only are they super convenient, but most of them are budget-friendly too, so there’s a win right there. All that’s left to do is invite some family and/or friends over, and you can lou to a great year ahead!
6) Decorative Yee Sang
Food experts and/or enthusiasts will make the most out of the preparations, because why not? When normal piled up yee sang gets too boring, you can get super pretty, decorative yee sang made into works of art. We’ve come across salmon slices arranged into a dress, koi fishes made from shredded carrots and radishes… honestly, it was almost too pretty to eat but everyone’s still gotta lou though!
7) Other Miscellaneous Styles
And of course, the creative juices never stop churning, so every year there will be new styles of yee sang. Sometimes eateries do themed yee sang according to the zodiac year or type of cuisine. For example, there was bacon and pork-themed yee sang for year of the boar, and you could also find yee sang done in the Teochew or Korean style as well. Actually, there’s even a big breakfast yee sang as well! There’s actually no limit on how to make yee sang, so if you have some time to spare, why not experiment and see what other yee sang you could come up with?
With that, how many yee sang have you had so far, and which is your favourite? Tell us in the comments below, and Gong Xi Fa Cai!