CNY 2021: The best and most unique yusheng for lo hei

PHOTO: Resorts World Sentosa

It isn’t exactly Chinese New Year until you’ve partaken in one too many lo heis, which translate from Cantonese to “tossing up fortune”.

After all, yu sheng is a quintessential dish when it comes to celebrating the conviviality of reunions and the New Year, with no better way to get all of your well-wishes out (and receive plenty in return) as ingredients are added while reciting their corresponding phrases.

That said, yu sheng has changed with the times. Certain ingredients, like plum sauce, crackers or sesame oil are mainstays to the festive platter – not the least for their auspicious meanings.

Other ingredients, like salmon sashimi that have replaced the now less-popular wolf herring, are modern twists that prove age-old recipes never, ever have to be boring. In recent years, some unusual standouts include different proteins – think uni, pufferfish or parma ham – or forgoing meat altogether.

Here’s our pick of the best yu sheng to toss for a bountiful, abundant New Year.

1. Syun

PHOTO: Resorts World Sentosa

Syun is headed by Kobe-based celebrity chef Hal Yamashita, whose accolades include the World Best Chef Award in 2010 at the World Gourmet Summit. His take on yu sheng, like most of his cuisine, is Japanese nouvelle - a concept he developed with influence from Kobe’s culinary ideology.

The approach emphasises simple, delicate cooking techniques which allow the natural beauty of fine ingredients to shine - ingredients, in this case, like air-flown Kagoshima Wagyu, sesame ponzu and the requisite fresh veggies for a Lunar New Year celebration inspired by Japanese customs.

Available for dine-in only from Jan 18 to Feb 26.

#02-135 & 135A, Resorts World Sentosa Crockfords Tower, 26 Sentosa Gateway. Tel: 6577-6688.

2. Wan Hao Chinese Restaurant

PHOTO: Singapore Marriott Tang Plaza Hotel

Oceanic delights abound with Wan Hao Chinese Restaurant’s lobster, scallop, salmon, tuna and caviar-topped yu sheng, adorned with crispy bits of fish skin.

It’s just one of six the Cantonese restaurant has to offer - other highlights include smoked duck yu sheng, or the pear and avocado rendition of the dish for vegetarians and vegans alike to partake in the festivities.

There’s also the option of an excitingly sweet, yet zesty, mandarin orange sauce instead of the traditional one for a refreshing take on an old favourite. 

Available for dine-in or takeaway from Jan 20 to Feb 26.

Singapore Marriott Tang Plaza Hotel, 320 Orchard Road. Tel: 6831-4605.

3. Feng Shui Inn

PHOTO: Resorts World Sentosa

Hong Kong-born executive chef Li Kwok Kwong brings Japanese influences to the Cantonese restaurant’s yu sheng this 2020, including some of the best ingredients the ocean has to offer.

Briny Japanese sakura dried shrimp, ever-indulgent slices of abalone and sea grapes, also known as umibudo or green caviar, an ingredient popular in Okinawa and parts of Southeast Asia that’s similar to ikura, as it tends to pop in your mouth when you eat them. 

Available for dine-in or takeaway from Jan 18 to Feb 26.

B1M-125 to 127, Resorts World Sentosa, 26 Sentosa Gateway. Tel: 6577-6599.

4. Yan

PHOTO: National Gallery Singapore

Yan’s elegant ‘Shun De’ style yu sheng, so named after a region in Guangdong where the style originated, comes with slices of yellowtail, braised abalone and accompaniments, all arranged in a heaping centrepiece.

The selection of julienned vegetables presented here are also a little unusual - shredded purple and yellow sweet potatoes, kalian and pickled ginger accompany the mountain of crispy vermicelli, which goes to represent soaring achievements in the year of the ox. And to finish, some gold flake - we don’t really have to explain what that signifies. 

Available for dine-in only from Jan 15 to Feb 26.

#05-02, National Gallery, 1 Saint Andrew’s Road. Tel: 6384-5585.

5. Crystal Jade

For something a little different: Crystal Jade is offering their Season of Wealth Golden Scallop yusheng, which comes with a mix of house-pickled condiments, fresh fruits and vegetables, and crispy fried yam strips and Hsin Chu bee hoon.

All this is topped with briny pops of ikura and sweet slices of scallop. The dressing is special too: an olive oil-based sauce with flower blossom syrup and plum sauce. 

Available for dine-in or takeaway from Jan 25 to Feb 23, 2021. Online pre-orders open now.

6. Jade

Fullerton Hotel Singapore's Jade restaurant's executive chef Leong Chee Yeng is known for the artistic streak in many of his creations, and this year's festive offerings are no different.

His Premium Gold Rush salmon yusheng comes with vegetables arranged in the shape of a bull, finished with Chinese calligraphy hand-drawn by the chef himself.

The pieces of fresh fish and salad comes elevated with champagne jelly and shallot oil – all tied together with a kumquat-based dressing.

Available for  dine-in or takeaway from Feb 1 to 26, 2021

1 Fullerton Square, The Fullerton Hotel Singapore. Tel: 6877-8188

7. Madame Fan

PHOTO: JW Marriott Hotel Singapore

Madame Fan at JW Marriott Hotel Singapore South Beach is offering an extra luxurious take on yusheng this year, with its Treasures of Sea yusheng, a creation that features a range of sustainably-farmed seafood that includes Boston lobster, king crab, scallop from Hokkaido, and bluefin tuna. Kombu and caviar add savoury richness to the salad, which comes with an olive oil-based dressing. 

Available for dine-in only from Jan 18 to Feb 26,  2021

32 Beach Rd, The NCO Club. Tel: 6818-1921

8. Xin Cuisine

Xin Cuisine's yusheng creation this year combines succulent Alaskan king crab with an ever-popular flavour: salted egg yolk.

The quintessential Chinese New Year salad comes with crispy fried morsels of Alaskan crab meat, all the requisite shredded vegetables, and a creamy salted egg yolk sauce for a moreish rendition of this classic. 

Available for  dine-in or takeaway from now until Feb 23, 2021

Holiday Inn Singapore Atrium, 317 Outram Road. Tel: 3138-2531

This article was first published in The Peak.