撈起财运亨通! 發呀! – Let’s Prosper!
There are several Kimly Seafood around the Island, I suspect they are part of a chain. Anyway, we had dinner at Kimly Clementi and Hougang several times before and have always enjoyed their Assam Fish, Brinjal (in mini wok) and Tofu with Dou Miao as well as their competitive pricing (on normal days, I found the set to be rather pricey for the items we had but hey, it’s CNY).
In last year’s post, I mentioned that one of the must eat dish during Chinese New Year (CNY, also known as Spring Festival) is Yu Sheng, literally raw fish. Lo Hei ‘撈起’ is a term for eating Yusheng ‘鱼生’ during the CNY. Traditionally, the sale of this auspicious salad dish commences on the 7th day (Ren Ri – 人日) of CNY but people are eating it way before Spring arrives. My first Lo Hei this year was at Tonny Restaurant organised by Makansutra.
Yesterday, my sister hosted a dinner for us at Kimly Seafood in Clementi. The meal started with Lo Hei, of course! After all, this is the only period of the year to eat the colourful raw fish salad (sale of this dish ends on the last day of CNY which is Chap Goh Mei, literally meaning the ’15th night’ a.k.a. Yuan Xiao Jie or The Lantern Festival which should not be confused with the Mid Autumn Festival where we carry lanterns, too). Have I boggled you? Lol… In case you are not familiar, CNY is celebrated for 15 days.
Eating Yu Sheng during Chinese New Year is a cultural activity for Chinese living in Singapore and Malaysia, but not so much in other Chinese-populated countries such as Hong Kong, where the practice is almost unheard of. This may be due to the origins of the dish, which was created by 4 master chefs in a Singapore restaurant kitchen way back in 1964, then still part of the Federation of Malaya.
It made its debut during Lunar New Year of 1964 in Singapore’s Lai Wah Restaurant (established in Sept. 1963). The 4 master chefs were Than Mui Kai (Tham Yu Kai, co-head chef of Lai Wah Restaurant), Lau Yoke Pui (co-head chef of Lai Wah Restaurant), Hooi Kok Wai (Founder of Dragon-Phoenix Restaurant) and Sin Leong (Founder of Sin Leong Restaurant) who, together created that as a symbol of prosperity and good health amongst the Chinese. All four Chefs were named as the “Four Heavenly Culinary Kings” of Singapore some 40 years ago for their culinary prowess and ingenuity. – Info credit: Wikipedia
I have blogged about Master Chefs Sin Leong and Hooi Kok Wai before, click here to see post on Red Star.
Yu Sheng Platter consists of the following shredded salad:
Carrots to indicate blessings of good luck. 鸿运当头 (Hong Yun Dang Tou) meaning “Good luck is approaching”. Carrot (红萝卜) is used as the first character “鸿” also sound like the Chinese character for “红” (red).
Green Radish to symbolise eternal youth. 青春常驻 (Qing Chun Chang Zhu) meaning “Forever young”. Green radish is used as the first character “青” (youth) also sound like the Chinese character for green.
White Radish is added to wish prosperity in business and promotion at work. 风生水起 (Feng Sheng Shui Qi) meaning “Progress at a fast pace” and 步步高升 (Bu Bu Gao Sheng) meaning “Reaching higher level with each step”.
When putting the Yu Sheng on the table, the server offers New Year greetings with a “恭喜发财” (Gong Xi Fa Cai) meaning “Congratulations on your wealth” and “万事如意” (Wan Shi Ru Yi) meaning “May all your wishes be fulfilled”!
Next, when the fish (nowadays, you can have lobster, abalone and/or jellyfish instead) is added, it is to symbolise the abundance and excess throughout the year for the diners. The server chants the following auspicious sayings as s/he sprinkles and pours the condiments onto the salad starting with the fish: 年年有余 (Nian Nian You Yu) meaning “Abundance through the year”, as the word “鱼” (fish) in Mandarin also sounds like “余” (abundance).
The pomelo or lime is added to the fish, adding luck and auspicious value. 大吉大利 (Da Ji Da Li) meaning “Good luck and smooth sailing”.
Pepper is then sprinkled over in the hope of attracting more money and valuables. 招财进宝 (Zhao Cai Jin Bao) meaning “Attract wealth and treasures”.
After that, oil is poured out, circling the ingredients and encouraging money to flow in from all directions. 一本万利 (Yi Ben Wan Li) meaning “Make 10,000 times of profit with your capital” and 财源广进 (Cai Yuan Guang Jin) meaning “Numerous sources of wealth”.
The condiments are finally added.
Peanut crumbs are dusted on the dish, symbolizing a household filled with gold and silver. 金银满屋 Jin Yin Man Wu meaning “Household filled with gold and silver”.
Sesame seeds quickly followed symbolising a flourishing business. 生意兴隆 (Sheng Yi Xing Long) meaning “Prosperity for the business”.
Yu Sheng sauce, traditionally sweet plum sauce, is generously drizzled over everything. 甜甜蜜蜜 (Tian Tian Mi Mi) meaning “May life always be sweet”.
Deep-fried flour crisps in the shape of golden pillows is finally added with wishes that, literally the whole floor would be filled with gold. 满地黄金 (Man Di Huang Jin) meaning “Floor full of gold”.
The 9-course set dinner my sister ordered was aptly named 财运亨通套餐 (cai yun heng tong tao can), where “财运亨通” means “to be overwhelmingly fortunate in moneymaking”. Yes, prosperity is a big thing in Chinese culture. Let’s take a look at our menu with more auspicious and prosperous names for the dishes.
1) 风生水起 (Feng Sheng Shui Qi) meaning to progress at a fast pace.
2) 龙王鸿图 (Long Wang Hong Tu) meaning to achieve excellence and realize one’s ambition.
3) 福如東海 (Fu Ru Dong Hai) meaning to have a long life (especially when there’s older folks at home and a must when wishing them on their birthdays).
4) 好市发财 (Hao Shi Fa Cai) meaning to be in a good trade or market so as to prosper easily.
5) 喜气满堂 (Xi Qi Man Tang) meaning to have a cheerful and joyous environment always.
6) 嘻哈大笑 (Xi Ha Da Xiao) meaning to have hearty laughter.
7) 名利丰收 (Ming Li Feng Shou) meaning to achieve good reputation and have bumper harvest, in short to have fame and fortune.
8) 鸿运吉祥 (Hong Yun Ji Xiang) meaning to be lucky now and in future, success henceforth!
9) 富貴绵绵 (Fu Gui Mian Mian) meaning to be continuously rich and wealthy.
The set we had cost S$298 (not sure if there’s GST or SC) not inclusive of rice and drinks. Everyone was very hungry by the time dinner started and we ate rather quickly. After dinner, we adjourned to my sister’s house where the children had a game of mahjong. They didn’t know how to play and I was the supervisor, lol…
Thanks Sissy for hosting us! 😀
I hereby wish everyone 财运亨通! 發呀!
Kimly Seafood 金味海鲜
(Inside 881 Coffee Station)
Address: Blk 345, Clementi Avenue 5.
Operating hours: Daily
Lunch: 11.30am – 2.30pm
Dinner: 5pm – 10.45pm
Terms of Payment: Cash Only.
Happy eating and bonding 🙂
Information credit: Wikipedia and online resources.