Yu Sang Lo Hei

Does anyone know what ‘Yu Sang Lo Hei’ mean? It is a Cantonese term and one hears this often during the Lunar New Year. This is a dish that many people enjoy. Throughout the fifteen days of the celebration of the Chinese New Year, one finds the dish very popular with most people. There are good reasons for this. The first is that it brings alot of joy to one’s heart. Even as one feasts one’s eyes on the various ingredients placed on a large place, one already begins to smile. Then there is the waitress like the one in the photo who gave excellent service, making our time of eating such a pleasure. She was thoughtful and smiled often even though she was so  busy. Wonderful! Another reason is that one has to go through the ritual of tossing the pieces of thinly sliced raw fish, carrots, deep fried yam etc. after the ingredients like crushed nuts, oil, sesame seeds etc have been added, into the air. There is then the chance that some pieces of food will fly onto a part of the table, but in such a situation, no one seems to mind. It is truly a dish of good cheer.

Yes, there is the ritual for all participants to stand up and with their chopsticks do their best to toss the whole combination, and as one does that, there is also the need to call out all kinds of blessings. For us Christians, we may say Praise the Lord! Peace to the World! A Blessed and Prosperous Year ahead! May God grant us peace of mind! More conversion of hearts and minds! In fact, it can be any blessing or petition that comes to mind.

This very popular dish can be eaten before the actual celebration of the Lunar New Year, and throughout the fifteen days. Many places cash in on this seasonal dish and some charge exorbitant prices for poor fare. While I have eaten at quite a few places, especially in the past week with friends from overseas, I cannot say that I am able to participate fully. At such times, I always wish I had been more diligent in learning Chinese. If only. . . If only I had mastered Mandarin well, would I then not be able to shout aloud and join in the cries of those who so skilfully use Chinese idioms and sayings to wish everyone? Still, our Lord hears the cries of those who can only mutter in English, and that too is fine. Alleluia!

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