How To Lou Hei Yu Sheng Like A Real Pro

(TL;DR) No one remembers how to lou hei, so we teach you how. You’re welcome.)

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Chinese New Year is here, and with it comes the age-old tradition of eating Yu Sheng, a salad with raw fish that has a very precise way of serving, called lou hei, where the addition of each ingredient comes with an associated greeting.

Let’s face it, no one ever remembers how to lou hei, and we all breathe a sigh of relief when the waitress offers to read the greetings for us. Little do we know, the ingredients and greetings that we use are filled with rich Chinese history and culture, and remembering what ingredients go in and the greetings we use with them will actually help us better appreciate the tradition behind this yummy dish.

 

Here’s a breakdown of the sequence of ingredients, and tips to remember what greeting comes with it.

Before you begin, offer new year greetings to everyone at the table. You could just go for the classics, like 恭喜发财 (Gong Xi Fa Cai): “Congratulations for your wealth”, and  万事如意 (Wan shi ru yi): “May all your wishes be fulfilled”.

1rawfish

Words: 年年有余 (nian nian you yu): Inviting abundance, excess throughout the year

How to Remember: 余 (excess) and 鱼 (fish) are both pronounced yu.

 

2pomelo

Words: 大吉大利 (Da ji da li): Great luck and prosperity

How to Remember: 大利 (big luck) sounds like 大粒 (large round object), as the pomelo’s round shape symbolises a whole and complete family.

 

3pepper

Words:  招财进宝 (Zhao cai jin bao): Invite in wealth and money

How to Remember: Think of the spices as a precious resource (宝), as they were in Chinese history.

 

4oil

Words: 财源广进 (Cai yuan guang jin): Wealth and good fortune to flow in

How to Remember: The pouring of the oil supposed to represent the wealth and good fortune literally flowing into your home.

 

5carrots

Words: 鸿运当头 (Hong yun dang tou): Good luck approaches

How to Remember: 鸿 (hong) sounds like 红 , which corresponds to 红萝卜 (carrots)

 

6greenradish

Words: 青春常驻  (Qing chun chang zhu) May you stay forever young

How to Remember: 青 in the phrase means green, as in green radish.

 

7whiteradish

Words: 风生水起 (Feng sheng shui qi) exponential growth like the wind and waves

步步高升 (Bu bu gao sheng) growth at every step (relating to job promotion).

 

8Peanuts

Words: 金银满屋 (Jin yin man wu): May your home be filled with gold and silver

How to Remember: Imagine sprinkling gold and silver throughout your home the way you’re sprinkling the peanuts, a popular snack that was eaten exclusively by the rich Chinese.

 

9sesame

Words: 生意兴隆 (Sheng yi xing long): May you have a great and booming business.

 

10flourcrisps

Words: 遍地黄金 (Bian di huang jin): May you see gold wherever you look

How to Remember: The flour crisps are shaped like golden pillows.

 

Once you’ve put all the ingredients together, everyone come together to toss all the ingredients together 7 times with loud shouts of 捞起 (lou hei) and other auspicious New Year wishes. The higher you toss it, the “higher” the luck!

If you still can’t remember which comes first and what comes after, here’s a quick infographic to help you remember!

Save this in your phone right now ^^

lou hei sequence

 



Author: Annie Teh

Passionate about web-based content, I get excited about creating platforms for conversation through social media and the potential it holds for culture-crafting. I believe in working for a cause, and hope to one day contribute to the creation of a more cohesive and integrated culture in Singapore. Until then, I am writing my way through digital life, one foreboding online trend at a time.


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