Lou Hei – with a twist

It is that time of the year once again when the incessant “dong long long chiang” of festive tunes ring throughout shopping malls all over the city and queues for the unattainable Kim Hock Guan and Lim Chee Guan ba kwa (barbequed pork slices) spill across the streets, ushering in the Lunar New Year in grand style. Chinatown becomes a flood of festive shoppers, fighting through the crowd to stock their kitchens and living rooms with the must-have Chinese New Year goodies like mandarin oranges, pineapple tarts, love letters (thin, rolled wafers) and kueh bangkit (coconut biscuits). The holiday presents Chinese people all over the world with a legitimate excuse to eat their fill, drink, and make merry.

And among the many traditional foods that come along with the season, there is one dish that you can be sure will grace the tabletops of every Chinese household. Representing an auspicious start to the new year and implying “abundance of wealth and long life”, this dish is shared by families on the seventh day of Chinese New Year, or Ren Ri (“Everyman’s birthday”). This dish is none other than Yusheng, the Teochew style raw fish salad that we look forward to every year.

While we are much too familiar with the usual Yusheng that comprises strips of raw fish (most commonly salmon), mixed with shredded vegetables, crackers and a variety of sauces, some restaurants in Singapore have cooked up their own rendition of this traditional mainstay. If you’re looking to spice up your reunion dinner this year, look no further.

1. Tropical Fruit Yusheng with Lobster and Abalone, Peach Blossom restaurant

Marina Mandarin Singapore, 6 Raffles Boulevard, Marina Square, tel: 6845-1111, open: noon to 2.30pm, 6.30 to 10.30pm daily

Feast for a king

 

Possibly the most luxurious of them all, prices for this dish go from $40 nett for a small portion to $168 for a large portion. Doubling up as a dessert and appetizer with a mix of tropical fruit such as rambutan, passion fruit, kiwi, mango and jackfruit, this unique offering will satiate any sweet tooth.

 

2. Thai Yusheng, Carousel

Marina Mandarin Singapore, 6 Raffles Boulevard, Marina Square, tel: 6845-1111, open: noon to 2.30pm, 6.30 to 10.30pm daily

Thai salad with a difference

Replace the usual radishes and carrots with Thai ingredients such as pomelo, mango and green papaya and drizzle with a generous serving of spicy tamarind-based sauce with gula melaka, lime juice, fish sauce and chilli padi, and you’ll get this delectable dish. Try this for a more savoury and tangy lou hei.

 

3. Yusheng Pizza, Trattoria Singapore

313@Somerset, 313 Orchard Road #01-16/17/18, Singapore 238895
Tel: +65 6834 4833 | Facebook

Not a pizza topping you'd see every day

The most radical of the lot, Trattoria Singapore serves up the traditional Yusheng – on their signature pizza crust. It’s not clear how one does the lou hei off a crust, so you might want to bring your less traditional friends or relatives if you’re planning to give this dish a try.

 

4. Tandoori Salmon Yusheng, Song of India

33 Scotts, Road, tel: 6836-0055, open: noon to 3pm, 6 to 11pm daily

Yusheng, Tandoori style

Tuck into Indian yusheng with slices of tandoori salmon fillet. Other ingredients include broccoli, pineapple, masala peanuts, date and tamarind chutney, coriander and mint chutney.

 

Where will you be having your reunion dinner lou hei this year? Share your recommendations and reviews in the comments below.

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