Yu Sang: Raw Fish Salad for Abundance

Source: Linda Tay Esposito, Flavor Explosions

Recipe Type: | Seasons:

This recipe was demonstrated at the Foodwise Classroom on January 14, 2023.

One of the traditions in Malaysia (and Singapore) is to gather family and friends to partake in “Lo Hei” – a delicious fresh salad with raw fish – for Lunar New Year, where every element of the salad has an auspicious meaning. In Cantonese, “Lo Hei” literally means growth in business undertaking and “yu sang” means abundance and growth.

Serves 8


2 cups (about 1 large) carrot, finely shredded
2 cups (1 medium) white radish or daikon, finely shredded
2 cups (1 small) kohlrabi, finely shredded
1 cup (1 bunch) green onions, thinly julienned
1 cup (½ bunch) cilantro leaves
½ cup pickled shallots, thinly sliced
½ cup pickled Japanese ginger, thinly sliced
2 cups (½) pomelo, peeled, membranes removed
½ lb fresh fish (tuna, yellowtail, or salmon), sashimi grade
¾ cup Asian plum sauce or apricot jam
½ cup rice bran oil or other neutral flavored oil
1 lime, cut into wedges
½ cup roasted peanuts, coarsely crushed
2 tbsp white sesame seeds, toasted
1 tbsp Asian 5 spice powder
8 pieces wonton skin, cut into thin strips, 1 inch by ¼ inch
1 cup oil for frying
1 red envelope


To prepare the crunchy topping: Cut wonton skin into juliennes. Heat oil in pan. Fry wonton skins until golden brown. Drain.

Shred all vegetables into thin long strips using a Japanese mandolin. Cut green onions into 2 inch long juliennes, and then slice lengthwise thinly.

Slice pickled shallots and pickled ginger finely.

Remove tough stems from cilantro.

Remove skin and membranes from pomelo to obtain the fruit sac.

Arrange all vegetables on a large platter in a circle, alternating colors.

Slice fish about ¼ x 2 x 1 inch and place in the middle.

Dilute the plum sauce or apricot jam with a few tbsp of pickling water from the ginger.

Just prior to serving, drizzle with oil and plum dressing. Sprinkle on peanuts, sesame seeds, wonton skin crisps.

At the table, sprinkle 5 spice (served out of the red envelope). Squeeze lime over fish.

Toss for good luck while saying the auspicious verses below:

  • Wan shi ru yi 万事如意: May everything be good and smooth!
  • Shen ti jian kang 身体健康: May your body stay strong and healthy!
  • Gong xi fa cai 恭喜发财: Wishing everyone great wealth!
  • Huat Ah: To Prosperity

Each ingredient in this salad can correspond to a different auspicious saying for the new year including:

  • Fish – 年年有餘 (nián nián yǒu yú) Always have more than enough
  • Carrots – 鸿运当头 (hóng yùn dāng tóu) May good fortune be upon you
  • White radish/daikon  – 风生水起 (fēng shēng shuǐ qǐ) May your success roar like the wind and waves
  • Pomelo/lime – 大吉大利 (dà jí dà lì) Wish you good luck and good profits
  • Chinese 5-spice powder – 五福臨門 (wǔ fú lín mén) May all good fortune be upon you and your family
  • Sesame seeds – 大小平安 (dà xiǎo píng ān) Peace and safety for all in your family
  • Ground peanut – 金玉滿堂 (jīn yù mǎn táng) May your home be filled with wealth and treasure
  • Fried wonton crisps – 黄金满地 (huáng jīn mǎn de) May wealth and prosperity be everywhere
  • Oil – 家肥屋嫩 (jiā féi wū nèn) Prosperity and harmony at home
  • Plum Sauce – 甜甜蜜蜜 (tián tián mì mì) May your life be sweet like honey!

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