With just a few days left before Chinese New Year, we’re already stocking up on the likes of pineapple tarts and bak kwa (barbecued pork), and readying our stomachs for the intense feasting that awaits. Some of us are also bracing ourselves for the inevitable grilling from nosey relatives. (Sample questions include: “When are you getting married?”, “Have you gained weight?”, “What are you working as?” etc.)
Apart from these aspects — and having our eardrums assaulted by festive songs being played ad nauseam in every store or supermarket we enter — another iconic element of the Lunar New Year is yu sheng, a salad composed of raw vegetables and fish. Often shared between large groups of friends and family members, the dish requires diners to “lo hei”, where chopsticks are used to mix and toss the ingredients in the air. Depending on who you’re eating with, this process may or may not be a chaotic affair that leaves food all over the floor… or even the ceiling.
Yu sheng is usually served with raw salmon, but a number of restaurants here have created some jazzed up renditions featuring unconventional ingredients such as sea urchin, poached lobster and Alaskan king crab. There also some eateries offering beautifully-plated options that won’t look out of place in your Instagram feed. If you still haven’t made plans for your upcoming “lo hei” session, here’s a guide to 5 establishments offering mouthwatering versions of yu sheng. We’ve included a mix of dine-in and takeaway options, so you can take your time to decide. Just don’t make a mess if you choose to dine in.
If you adore anything with truffle in it, try Man Fu Yuan’s yu sheng, which is topped with the prized fungus and filled with an assortment of delicious ingredients such as Hokkaido crab meat, silver bait fish and fresh fruits. It is presented in the form of an adorable rooster, so be sure to take some Instagram-worthy photos before the “lo hei” begins. The dish is available for takeaway until 11 February.
Man Fu Yuan, Level 2, Intercontinental Singapore, 80 Middle Road, Singapore 188966, +65 6825 1007/1224
This one-Michelin-starred Cantonese restaurant puts a luxe spin on the traditional yu sheng by adding delicacies the likes of bluefin tuna and uni (sea urchin) from Japan. The result is a refreshing mix of vegetables, fish and nuts punctuated by the meltingly-soft texture and slightly briny flavour of the uni. The dish is part of the establishment’s dine-in menu.
Summer Pavilion, The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore, 7 Raffles Avenue, Singapore 039799, +65 6434 5286
Jade restaurant at The Fullerton Bay Hotel Singapore has created an Eight Happiness Gold Rush Yu Sheng with fresh salmon and champagne jelly, which are drizzled with olive oil and honey pineapple dressing. The ingredients are painstakingly arranged in the shape of a rooster, and, for added festivity, placed alongside auspicious calligraphic greetings. This is available for dine-in and takeaway until 11 February.
Jade, The Fullerton Hotel Singapore, 1 Fullerton Square, Singapore 049178, +65 6877 8911 / 8912
Available for takeaway until 11 February, Li Bai’s yu sheng is a mouthwatering mix of Alaskan crab meat with pomelo, yam, sweet potato, carrot, white radish and pickled ginger. The crab meat is served without its shell, so you can savour your food without getting your hands dirty.
Li Bai, Sheraton Towers Singapore, 39 Scotts Road, Singapore 228230, +65 6839 5755
For this Lunar New Year, Shang Palace has put together four different types of yu sheng, including a vegetarian version. Our pick is its new Prosperity Yu Sheng, which comes with smoked salmon and poached lobster, and is drizzled with a zesty grape vinegar dressing. The salad also contains healthy ingredients such as beetroot, arugula and purple sweet potato chips, so you can indulge without guilt. It is available for dine-in until 11 February.
Shang Palace, Shangri-La Hotel Singapore, Orange Grove Road, Singapore 258350, +65 6213 4473 / 4398