Yee sang

Yee sang

Have You Eaten
Billy Law

Yee sang, or yu sheng, means ‘raw dish’, but is also a homophone for another Chinese word meaning ‘an increase in abundance‘. Thus, yee sang is considered a symbol of prosperity and is usually only served on special occasions, especially during Lunar New Year.

Yee sang is a refreshing salad that consists of different shredded vegetables and slices of raw fish mixed with sauces and condiments, and is usually served as a starter to a Chinese banquet. What makes this dish so special is the interaction between all the diners. As it’s served, everyone stands around the table with chopsticks at the ready. The host adds condiments and sauces, then everyone tosses the ingredients into the air, making wishes for a prosperous new year. It’s believed the higher you toss, the greater your fortunes.


Quantity Ingredient
vegetable oil, for deep-frying
1/2 packet wonton wrappers, cut into 1 cm strips
100g dried rice vermicelli noodles
1/2 daikon
1 cucumber
2 large carrots, peeled
250g sashimi-grade salmon fillet, thinly sliced
1 grapefruit, segmented and cut into small bite-sized pieces
200g japanese red pickled ginger

Sauces and condiments

Quantity Ingredient
200ml plum sauce
1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
70g unsalted peanuts, toasted and roughly chopped
2 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted
2 teaspoons five-spice powder
1 teaspoon ground white pepper
1 spring onion, thinly sliced
a few wedges of lime


  1. Pour the vegetable oil into a medium saucepan until about one-third full, then heat the oil to 180°C over medium–high heat. Test to see if the oil is hot enough by dipping a wooden chopstick into the hot oil — if the oil starts steadily bubbling around the chopstick, it’s ready. Working in batches, deep-fry the wonton strips until crispy and golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towel.
  2. Working in batches and using the same hot oil, deep-fry the vermicelli noodles. The noodles will puff up within seconds; remove the crispy noodles with kitchen tongs and drain on paper towel.
  3. Using a serrated vegetable peeler, shred the daikon, cucumber and carrots into thin strips. Lightly squeeze the water out of the cucumber strips with both hands, then lay them on paper towel to dry.
  4. Arrange the salmon slices in the centre of a large platter. Surround the salmon with the fried wonton strips and crispy noodles, then arrange all the vegetable ingredients, the grapefruit and pickled ginger around the plate like a wheel of fortune.
  5. Place all the sauces and condiments in small bowls on the table. Then invite everyone to use their chopsticks to toss the yee sang into the air!
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