Lo Hei is one of those fun things you get to do during Chinese New Year – a significant tradition of tossing food in the air – which goes against everything your mummy has said since you were young. Lo Hei in Cantonese, where “lo” means “rise”, refers to the ritual adopted in Singapore of tossing the Yu Sheng and saying auspicious phrases before eating it. It is also known as the Prosperity Toss.
We all know the higher the toss, the better the prospects and fortune in the year ahead – but do we actually know the right greetings for each ingredient? (Probably not, and you can’t get away with repeating 恭喜发财 gōng xǐ fā cái anymore!)
We’ve put together the typical ingredients that go into the Yu Sheng, along with the auspicious phrases to say, so you’re now one step closer to impressing all your relatives this Chinese New Year. It’s time to HUAT HUAT HUAT!
Step 1: Place the Yu Sheng on the table with everyone gathered and offer New Year greetings.
恭喜发财 gōng xǐ fā cái
Meaning: Congratulations on the new year, may you have abundance wealth.
万事如意 wàn shì rú yì
Meaning: May all your wishes be fulfilled.
Step 2: Place the raw fish (i.e. salmon) onto the shredded carrot and radish.
年年有馀 nián nián yǒu yú
Meaning: May you have abundance ‘excess’ through the new year.
Step 3: Add the pomelo/squeeze lime over the raw fish.
大吉大利 dà jí dà lì
Meaning: May you have good fortune and luck.
Step 4: Dash spices (i.e. pepper and cinnamon) over the ingredients.
招财进宝 zhāo cái jìn bǎo
Meaning: May there be greater wealth in the new year.
Step 5: Pour the oil in a circular motion around the ingredients.
财原广进 cái yuán guǎng jìn
Meaning: May money flow in from all directions.
Step 6: Dust ground peanuts on the dish.
金银满屋 jīn yín mǎn wū
Meaning: May the household be filled with gold and silver.
Step 7: Add sesame seeds quickly into the dish.
生意兴隆 shēng yì xīng lóng
Meaning: May your business prosper.
Step 8: Add deep-fried golden crackers.
遍地黄金 biàn dì huáng jīn
Meaning: Literally the entire floor would be filled with gold.
Step 9: Pour the plum sauce on the dish in a circular motion.
甜甜蜜蜜 tián tián mì mì
Meaning: May you have sweet and loving relationships.
Step 10: Finally, grab your chopsticks to toss the Yu Sheng 7 times with loud shouts of auspicious New Year wishes.
Remember, the higher the toss, the better the year ahead! Huat ah!