AWC "Let's Do Lunch" event features a traditional feast
– Guest post by AWC member, Lena S.
Lo Hei! And a shout out to Eva Chu and Beth Wagner for organising a delightful Chinese New Year lunch at the Royal China, Bayswater to ring in the Year of the Golden Rat.
We began the meal with the lively tradition of yu sheng in which diners rise up to toss a spectacular dish together, using chopsticks and shouting “lo hei!” – a phrase derived from Cantonese, meaning ‘a toss to prosperity’.
According to an age-old legend, this ritual originated in south China, when a young man and his girlfriend found themselves stranded in bad weather and in danger of starving — but by a stroke of good luck, they found a carp and chanced upon a bottle of vinegar. They stripped the carp and combined the two, and lo and behold, this new dish was born!
Yu sheng is the ultimate ‘prosperity’ dish consisting of a colourful medley of fish and shredded vegetables combined with various tangy, piquant sauces, chopped nuts and spices — to create a delightful dish bursting with flavours and textures. The higher you toss it, the more good fortune you’re destined to bring in!
Although this celebratory yu sheng dish has its origins in ancient China, the modern version arose in South East Asia more recently — in places like Malaysia and Singapore, and is enjoyed on any day during the 15-day Lunar New Year period.
In keeping with tradition, AWC’s yu sheng dish at Royal China was served at the start of a multi-course lunch. It was followed by dim sum, lobster noodles and a host of delectable Chinese favourites. Many of us wore red on the day — the colour of happiness and success.
To all those celebrating, we wish you a happy and prosperous Year of the Golden Rat.