This is the first year being away from the family for Chinese New Year (CNY). I feel nostalgic because this is the time where the family gathers and enjoys the time spent together.
Chinese New Year, in general, is an important festival for the Chinese race, regardless of which country a person is from. Since there are many Chinese around the world, people from different places celebrate CNY very differently too. Honestly, I am not too sure about how other countries celebrate CNY but I am sure about how I celebrate it! I have the hybrid of both Singaporean and Malaysian culture!
What is unique in Singapore and Malaysia is this dish called Yu Sheng (鱼生). During reunion dinners, families will be tossing this raw fish salad while shouting out good wishes to all. Every ingredient in this dish has its meaning, for example, the raw fish symbolises abundance and surplus throughout the year (年年有余) and the cinnamon powder represents the invitation of wealth and prosperity (招财进宝). Although I am unable to celebrate CNY with my family this year, I am glad to be able to share my culture with other people around the world. With the help of friends from the language school, we prepared a modified version of Yu Sheng. In case you are keen to make your own Yu Sheng, I have included the ingredients below:
Red pepper, cucumber, carrot, radish, Chinese parsley and lime
Side dishes/ ingredients:
Smoked salmon, grounded peanuts, toasted sesame seeds, crackers (I used fortune cookies), plum sauce, olive oil, five spice powder, pepper and cinnamon powder.
There were some positive comments on the dish being delicious and interesting. I am happy that people enjoyed the process of preparing and ‘tossing’ the salad!
Apart from Yu Sheng, we have other kinds of food unique to CNY. Pineapple tarts, bak kwa (roasted pork), kueh bangkit (coconut fragrant cookie), kueh baulu (almost similar to Madeleines) etc. Sigh… I am missing all the unhealthy food now! Moving away from food, CNY also means visiting relatives and friends. For the single and unmarried, they get to collect red packets (红包) too!
Missing and loving my family and friends back in Singapore and Malaysia, I would like to wish all of you 恭喜发财, 身体健康, 万事如意!
Signing off with love