Yusheng Idioms and more Chinese New Year Favourites

January 23, 2015

Starting to prep for Chinese New Year (CNY) coming up on 19 February? With CNY night markets popping up in the heartland and stores selling CNY décor and goodies (Hello Daiso and your delightful selection of CNY décor!) – we decided to hop on the bandwagon with a list of 8 MUST HAVE auspicious foods you definitely need on your reunion table.




Trivia: Did you know that Chinese New Year is known as Spring Festival in China?






1. Mandarin Oranges


Represents: Luck and Prosperity



Every CNY, the Chinese exchange pairs of mandarin oranges between people. Whether it’s the young paying their respects to their elders in exchange for a red packet (hong bao), or between families and friends as they do their new year visiting (bai nian). Do note that leaves on mandarin oranges represent longevity as well.  






2. Raw Fish Salad (鱼生 – Yu Sheng)


Represents: Prosperity, Good Fortune, Increasing Abundance



A seasonal favourite, raw fish salad consists of strips of raw fish (obviously), along with different vegetables, sauces and toppings like peanut crumbs and crisp crackers; and each ingredient in the salad symbolises different things.


Fish: Abundance, Excess (年年有余 / Nian Nian You Yu)

Pomelo: Luck, Good Fortune (大吉大利 / Da Ji Da Li)

Pepper: Prosperity, Wealth (招财进宝 / Zhao Cai Jin Bao)

Oil: Prosperity, Wealth (财源广进 / Cai Yuan Guang Jin)

Carrots: Good Luck, Fortune (鸿运当头 / Hong Yun Dang Tou)

Green Radish: Youth, Longevity (青春常驻 / Qing Chun Chang Zhu)

White Radish: Prosperity, Good Career Fortune (步步高升 / Bu Bu Gao Sheng)

Peanut Crumbs: Prosperous Home (金银满屋 / Jin Yin Man Wu)

Sesame Seeds: Good Business Fortune (生意兴隆 / Sheng Yi Xing Long)

Plum Sauce: Sweet life (甜甜蜜蜜 / Tian Tian Mi Mi)

Crisp Crackers: Prosperity, Good Fortune (满地黄金 / Man Di Huang Jin)


It can be found in almost every restaurant and coffeeshop during Chinese New Year, and is available pre-packed at major supermarkets. And when you're finally ready to have your yusheng, make sure to toss it, the higher the better!






3. Sea Moss (Fatt Choy / 发菜)


Represents: Prosperity, Wealth, Good Fortune



Usually included in auspicous dishes of braised oysters, mushrooms and more, the Chinese/Cantonese name of this ingredient literally means to prosper.







4. Rice Cake (Nian Gao / 粘糕)


Represents: Prosperity, Soaring to Greater Heights



A popular dessert, these sticky rice cakes have a rich sweetness and can be served in many ways – sliced and fried with egg, flour or sweet potato slices; or cubed and steamed. Its round shape is also symbolic of family reunion.






5. Fish


Represents: Luck, Abundance



Heard of the Chinese idiom Nian Nian You Yu (年年有余)? Basically, having a whole fish served during CNY represents a good and lucky year.






6. Longevity Noodles (Chang Shou Mian / 长寿面)


Represents: Longevity



Make sure to serve these noodles uncut. Symbolic of longevity, the noodles should be kept as long as possible – longer the noodles, the longer our lives!







7. Egg Rolls


Represents: Fertility, Wealth



Eggs are symbolic of fertility in the Chinese culture, and egg rolls also look like gold bars, hence the symbol of wealth.






8. Dumplings


Represents: Wealth, Prosperity



Another food that resembles riches in the form of silver ingots used in ancient China, dumplings are also said to help usher in wealth!






Make sure to enjoy this auspicious number of 8 auspicious dishes for you to HUAT this CNY!

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