Many consider lohei to be a crucial part of the Chinese New Year festivities. The ritual involves tossing yu sheng as high as possible with one’s chopsticks, and exclaiming well wishes for the year. It is believed that the higher the yu sheng is tossed, the more prosperous you will be in the year ahead.
While it was once a simple dish consisting of raw fish and vegetables, yu sheng today has taken on more complex and gourmet forms. However, ingredients with auspicious associations still remain at the heart of the dish. The dish plats on the Chinese word for abundance, raw fish is added, while radish remains a staple for symbolising eternal youth. Other common toppings include golden pillow-shaped crisps and sesame seeds for their associations with wealth and prosperity.
To usher in the Year of the Rat, we’ve rounded up 10 restaurants for you and your loved ones to enjoy this festive dish.
Innovative Yu Sheng by Forest
Helmed by local celebrity chef Sam Leong, Forest reinvents the wheel with its Signature Fruit Smoked Salmon yu sheng (S$88++ for small, S$108++ for medium and S$128++ for large). Jackfruit, green papaya and green mango form the core of the dish, while crispy white bait and lashings of home-made yuzu honey-lime dressing make welcome additions.
Forest, 16 Sentosa Gateway Equarius Hotel Lobby, #01-521 & 522, Singapore 098133, +65 6577 7788
Luxury Yu Sheng by Monti
Renowned Tuscan restaurant Monti might surprise some with its luxurious spin on traditional yu sheng. A part of the Chinese New Year menu, this variant sees freshly-smoked salmon carpaccio and salmon roe topped with brilliantly coloured caviar made from pomelo, mango, orange, sake, yuzu, and mangosteen. Those looking for something more lavish can opt to add succulent carabinero prawns. (+S$8 per pax)
Monti, 82 Collyer Quay, Singapore 049327, +65 6535 0724
Thai Chin Yu Sheng by Blue Jasmine
Blue Jasmine’s Thai Chin Yu Sheng marries quintessential Thai flavours with the traditional Chinese dish. While the dish retains its roots with slices of silky salmon gravlax and a bed of vegetables, Thai green mango, papaya, pomelo and pickles promise tangy and refreshing flavours. Enjoy this as part of the Chinese New Year Reunion Dinner Buffet (S$58 per adult) or as a takeaway platter (S$68).
Blue Jasmine, 10 Farrer Park Station Road Level 5 Park Hotel, Farrer Park, 217564, +65 6824 8851
Healthy Yu Sheng by Auntie’s Wok and Steam
Chinese New Year celebrations don’t have to disrupt your healthy eating resolutions. A more nourishing variant, the Healthy Yu Sheng (S$68) at Auntie’s Wok and Steam is packed with kale, beetroot, Japanese cucumbers, apples, and pomegranates. Superfoods such as sunflower seeds, chia seeds, and almond flakes provide an extra kick of nutrition. The Healthy Yu Sheng is for dine-in only.
Auntie’s Wok and Steam, 5 Fraser St, Level 25, Singapore 189354, +65 6408 1288
Premium Yu Shengs by Tien Court
This Chinese New Year, diners at Cantonese restaurant Tien Court can expect reunion set menus featuring premium ingredients.The Abundance set menu includes a Sliced Abalone yu sheng (S$288 per table), while the Salmon yu sheng is on the Celebration menu (S$588 per table). If you’re looking to impress, the sumptuous Abalone and Birds Next variant on the Auspicious set menu (S$1188 per table) is bound to please even the most discerning eaters.
Tien Court, 403 Havelock Rd, Singapore 169632, +65 6318 3193
Japanese Yu Sheng by KOMA
Japanese restaurant and sushi bar Koma’s two festive offerings read more like sashimi platters rather than the traditional salad. The Koma Lo Hei (S$138++) sees slices of maguro, hamachi, sake (salmon), and tai (sea bream) topped with ikura alongside a mounds of grated radish, carrot, and seaweed. Seafood enthusiasts will savour the Koma Signature Lo Hei. This bountiful option is loaded with fresh awabi (abalone), fugu (puffer fish), and an entire portion of kodai (baby sea bream).
KOMA, Marina Bay Sands, 2 Bayfront Ave, #B1-67, 018972, +65 6688 8690
Prosperous Yu Sheng by yì by Jereme Leung
Distinguishing Chef Jereme Leung’s take on this festive dish is the addition of a homemade Yunnan rose dressing: a testament to how Chinese New Year is usually celebrated at the beginning of spring. Diners can choose between smoked salmon (S$168 for 7-10 people) or live lobster (S$198 for 7-10 people). The yu sheng is also available for takeaway in advance.
yì by Jereme Leung, 328 North Bridge Road #3-02 Raffles Arcade, Singapore 188719, +65 6412 1331
Fortune Yu Sheng at Shang Palace
With Chef Mok Kit Keung (who was previously in charge of the 2-Michelin starred Shang Palace in Hong Kong) at the helm of Singapore’s Shang Palace, one can expect nothing but an opulent reunion dinner. The 8-course set menu opens with the Fortune Yu Sheng, which is full of smoked lobster and Norwegian smoked salmon. In celebration of the Year of the Rat, the radish is also arranged to resemble a rat.
Shang Palace, 328 North Bridge Road #3-02 Raffles Arcade, Singapore 188719, +65 6412 1331
Teochew-style Yu Sheng by Chui Huay Lim Teochew Cuisine
Although most yu sheng dishes in Singapore are rooted in Cantonese tradition, diners can expect something a little different at Chui Huay Lim Teochew Cuisine. The Teochew Style Prosperity Salmon Yu Sheng consists of salmon sashimi and sweet plum dressing on a bed of fresh greens, such as romaine lettuce and starfruit. Mandarin orange zest, ginger, and fresh garlic add piquancy to the dish. The dish is available as part of the Reunion Sets (S$468++ – not all Reunion Sets).
Chui Huay Lim Teochew Cuisine, 190 Keng Lee Rd, #01-02 Chui Huay Lim Club, Singapore 308409, +65 6732 3637
Abundant Wealth Yu Sheng by Hai Tien Lo
Hai Tien Lo’s Abundant Wealth Yu Sheng (S$388) can be considered a work of art. The dish is inspired by the serene landscapes of traditional Chinese painting as the shredded vegetables are arranged to depict a scenic mountain range. The paper boats carry deep-fried flour crisps cruising along a river of peanut crumbs — emblematic of wealth and prosperity. The dish comes with lobster and abalone adorned with gold and silver flakes.
Hai Tien Lo, 7 Raffles Blvd, Singapore 039595, +65 6826 8240