Freshwater fish continues be struck out again this year by the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore following several food poisoning cases in 2015, but Singaporeans are not giving up on 'Lo Hei' for the Chinese New Year.
And why should we? After all, the rambunctious 'Lo Hei' session is a long-held Lunar New Year tradition widely celebrated by families, companies and communities. Also, most of the yusheng sold at restaurants do not use freshwater fish, which was more popular at hawker centre stalls before the ban was enforced on freshwater fish in ready-to-eat raw fish dishes.
Overly concerned diners and restauranteurs only have to make minor adjustments, like opting for cooked abalone and seafood. Sashimi-grade raw saltwater fish is generally considered safe to eat if they meet requirements and supplied by sources approved by the health authorities.
Several eateries are doing away with raw salmon over diners' concerns and using the smoked version or cooked abalone instead. Some will serve the fish raw only when it's consumed within their premises, and use the smoked version for takeaways.
Below is a guide to what the restaurants are offering this new year.
No raw deal, a 'cooked' yusheng please
To cater to those squeamish about eating fish that's totally raw, Orchard Hotel's Hua Ting Restaurant has come up with two non-raw yusheng creations this year.
The first is a yusheng with arctic surf clams ($68 for small and $118.00 for large) presented on a platter with mesclun greens, strips of radish, carrot, red ginger and jellyfish and yam crisps.
Once harvested, surf clams are usually blanched in hot water before they are plunged into cold water so that they maintain their juiciness and flavour.
The second creation at Hua Ting is a healthy vegetarian version, using organic seasonal greens ($68 for small and $118 for large) livened up with a sweet-tangy sauce.
Its yusheng menu also includes cooked abalone yusheng ($78 for small and $138 for large) as well as raw versions, using salmon and hamachi (yellowtail).
Regulars at the three Dancing Crab outlets have been chomping on Alaskan King Crab legs with gloves on or with their bare hands. They can do the same to toss the crab leg yusheng, which comes with smoked salmon, crispy fish skin and assorted greens in a honey mustard sauce and olive oil. It costs $48++ for four persons and $88++ for 8.
Erring on the side of caution, the Tung Lok chain of restaurants will serve raw salmon yusheng only if you dine there. For takeaways, smoked salmon will replace the raw version.
Also offered is cooked abalone yusheng which sees fresh vegetables, mushrooms, crispy yam sweet potato shreds and blended plum sauce in the ensemble. $48++ for six persons and $78++ for 10.
Vegetarian yusheng continues to be available at Tung Lok's two Ling Zhi Vegetarian restaurants.
Summer Palace at The Regent Singapore ups the health quotient by including five types of fruit and vegetable lauded for their health properties in its vegetarian yusheng ($88++). Adding to the spectrum of colours and flavours are the selected enoki mushrooms, persimmons, figs, mango, purple potato and a ginger-infused plum sauce.
Also not taking any chances with raw fish is the Paradise Group, which is promoting its cooked abalone yusheng ($39.80++ for regular, serving up to six persons and $59.80++ for large, serving up to 10) at its restaurants. Its takeaway yusheng ($45.80++ for eight) comes with a can of abalone.
Similarly, 9goubuli at Marina Bay Sands and Window on the Park at Holiday Inn City Centre will also offer cooked abalone yusheng.
Over in Katong, Hotel Indigo goes Peranakan with a yusheng ($48) featuring cooked mackerel otah as an alternative to its raw salmon yusheng ($58) at its Baba Chews restaurant.
If you like it a bit raw
This year, Xin Cuisine at Holiday Inn Singapore Atrium rolls out a refreshing concoction that combines salmon sashimi with cooked abalone alongside yam and sweet potato, and flavoured with a fruity dragonfruit dressing ($98 for small, $138 for large).
Fans would be glad to know its classic showstopper - raw salmon yusheng encrusted with edible gold leaves ($63 for small, $83 for large) - is still available.
Also blending raw and cooked ingredients are the four Si Chuan Dou Hua restaurants including its new outlet in Tampines. Its raw salmon yusheng includes shredded cooked chicken and spiced up with a green peppercorn sauce ($68 for small, $88 for large).
To impress guests who relish something a bit raw but lavish, Hua Ting Restaurant's live Australian lobster yusheng is a good option. Cooked abalone and caviar of salmon roe enhances the opulence. The price? $548 for 10 persons.
Capri by Fraser is also downplaying its raw Norwegian salmon yusheng with crispy fried salmon skin and salmon caviar, and flavoured with either a honey truffle dressing or the traditional plum sauce. Takeaways are priced at $52+ for small, $98+ for large. The dish is also available at the hotel lunch buffet throughout the two-week new year celebration.
If you want it in all its rawness
VLV in Clarke Quay will serve salmon and hamachi sashimi yusheng alongside its cooked variety which includes lobster, abalone and vegetarian for dining in or takeaway. Each platter comes with fresh veggies instead of the sweetly preserved ones used in traditional recipes. Prices range from $42 to $168.
The Fullerton Hotel Singapore's Jade restaurant continues to offer its decadent raw salmon yusheng with champagne jelly and gold leaves for takeaways, which require three days of advance notice. Prices: $94.16 for small, $136.96 for large
If you are turned on only by raw fish in its full splendour without a multitude of cooked ingredients, then plonk yourself at a sushi counter for a platter of sashimi.