A Real Toss-Up: Which Yu Sheng To Choose To Usher In The Year Of The Tiger?
STORY: Annette Tan
05 January 2022
Another festive season, another reason to hope that the New Year will bring peace, stability and the ability to gather outside in groups larger than five.
To help those wishes along is a slew of yu sheng, with ever more abundant and unique ingredients.
So book your platter of raw fish salad and gather your loved ones. This is the year you’ll want to lo that hei as high as you possibly can.
For something with a jolt of happy colour, check out the Opulence Three-head Abalone Yu Sheng (from $128) from Crystal Jade.
Group executive chef Martin Foo is dishing it out with fuchsia coins of red dragonfruit, edible gold leaves, fresh flowers, dried yuzu peel, Japanese pickled sweet ginger and homemade pickled cucumbers.
For a touch of gold and added crunch, there are also strips of deep-fried yam, chickpeas and Hsin Chu bee hoon. Besides the tender, lightly torched slivers of abalone, you also get briny salmon roe and plump slices of jellyfish.
Jade Restaurant’s executive chef Leong Chee Yeng is quite the artist, as can be witnessed by the pieces of pottery he’s made dotted across the restaurant’s dining room.
For the Year of the Tiger, chef Leong has parlayed his skills to the Premium Gold Rush Salmon Yu Sheng ($688), which is fashioned on a plate after an adorable image of a tiger. This lavish, intricate creation must be ordered three days in advance.
Less decadent is the Gold Rush Yu Sheng (from $78), presented against a hand-drawing of a tiger on a plate, with an auspicious greeting wrought in Chinese calligraphy.
When you’ve appreciated the artistry of either one of these yu sheng creations, turn your attentions to the champagne jelly, shallot oil and kumquat dressing that brighten the flavours of the swimmingly fresh salmon and shredded vegetables on the plate.
Prosperity Yu Sheng from Jiang-Nan Chun
In the realm of yu sheng, proper abundance comes in the form of the salad heaving with salmon, abalone and lobster. These treasures of the ocean are part of Jiang Nan Chun’s luxurious yu sheng (from $198), set against a bed of shredded root vegetables, melon seeds and sunflower seeds.
This way, you get yu (fish or abundance), bao yu (abalone or guaranteed abundance) and a symbolic dragon (lobsters are known as the dragons of the sea) as you usher in another new year.
If you like your yu sheng with a higher ratio of fish to veggies, modern Chinese restaurant Madame Fan has the Blossom Shun De-style Yu Sheng (from $118), made expressly to that preference with lots of halibut sashimi for added yu.
If you’d rather something more…erm, balanced, opt instead for the Duo Prosperity Salmon and Bluefin Tuna Yu Sheng (from $98) with more vibrant greens. Both yu sheng are served with a zesty plum dressing freshened with lemon juice.
Over the years, yu sheng has been levelled up with everything from many-headed abalones to lobsters, caviar and gold. So, if you and your guests have never tried fugu or pufferfish, then here’s your chance to indulge.
For Lunar New Year, Si Chuan Dou Hua has brought back its Fugu Yu Sheng ($198), this time shaped like the face of a tiger and strewn with ice plant, fresh greens and edible flowers.
What does fugu taste like? Well… it tastes like fish. To be more specific, it’s similar to the flesh of white fish like hirame (olive flounder) or tai (sea bream).
If you’re all about the crispy bits, then Yan’s rendition is for you. Available for dine-in only, the Abalone & Salmon with Gold Foil Lo Hei (from $92) features a mountain of crispy vermicelli crowned with yet more crisp shredded purple and yellow sweet potatoes. For textural contrast, there are pickled ginger and some veggies. Huat ah!