Cover Photo: Goh Kwee Jin

Have you ever wondered about the meaning behind the ingredients in a plate of yee sang and the auspicious greetings that often accompany them?

No Chinese New Year meal is complete without the tossing of yee sang. Although it is a Chinese tradition, it didn't originate from China and is mainly observed in Malaysia and Singapore.

Every ingredient on a plate of yee sang carries an auspicious meaning. Fish is usually found as it symbolises abundance. Juice from lime is also a staple as the Cantonese word for the citrus fruit is "kat", which sounds like the Cantonese word for "luck". Then there are the crispy crackers, added to the bounty because they represent an excess of wealth. 

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Auspicious greetings accompany the tossing and most of them have to do with wealth and prosperity. If you've always wondered what the sayings uttered by the waiter as he or she adds various ingredients to complete your plate of yee sang mean, we got Chiou Yean, the restaurant manager of Shanghai, JW Marriott KL's renowned Shanghainese restaurant, to translate them for us in this video. 

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