Yusheng literally means "raw fish" but since "fish (鱼)" is commonly conflated with its homophone "abundance (余)", Yúshēng (鱼生) is interpreted as a homophone for Yúshēng (余升) meaning an increase in abundance. Therefore, yusheng is considered a symbol of abundance, prosperity and vigor.
Typical ingredients include: fresh salmon, daikon (white radish), carrot, red pepper (capsicum), ginger, daun limau nipis (lime tree leaves), Chinese parsley, chopped peanuts, toasted sesame seeds, Chinese shrimp crackers (or fried dried shrimp), five spice powder. The dressing is made primarily from plum sauce.
Lo Hei: How yusheng is eaten today
Today, this dish is served as an appetizer to raise 'good luck' for the new year and is usually eaten on Renri, the seventh day of the Chinese New Year. In a celebration known as "lo hei" (Cantonese 撈起 or 捞起), families and friends gather around the table and, on cue, proceed to toss the shredded ingredients into the air with chopsticks while saying 吉祥话 (Jíxiáng Huà, auspicious wishes) out loud to mark the start of a prosperous new year and it's customary that the higher you toss, the greater your fortunes!
Photo by MaeJJ