Yu sang – prosperity salad
Happy Lunar New Year ! This post is dedicated to the star of our Chinese new year dinner – yu sang, or prosperity salad, which we started our dinner with at the Red House at Robertson Quay.
Yu sang (also called lo hei in Cantonese) is essentially a raw fish – usually salmon or mackerel – mixed in a salad of shredded vegetables and a variety of sauces and condiments. As with most special Chinese dishes, the dish is named after the key ingredient – in this case, fish – which, when pronounced, has another meaning – abundance. So the serving of yu sang during Chinese new year is to wish everyone an abundance of prosperity, vigour, health…all the good things to start a new year with.
Steamed razor clams with garlic and glass noodles
The salad ingredients are presented and as the server proceeds to add ingredients such as the fish, the crackers and the sauces, they say auspicious wishes as each ingredient is added, typically related to the specific ingredient being added. For example, the sweet sauce they add is meant to wish all at the table sweetness and harmony in their lives, the oil that is added wishes a smooth year ahead, and the fish wishes abundance.
All the diners at the table then stand up and on cue, proceed to toss the shredded ingredients into the air with chopsticks while saying their own wishes for the year out loud. It is believed that the height of the toss reflects the height of the diner’s growth in fortunes, thus diners are expected to toss enthusiastically.
It’s such a fun way to celebrate the lunar new year. And it helps that the salad is delicious !
Braised tofu topped with seaweed and mushrooms
Red House is quite unique in it’s interior design – it felt as if we had walked in to a restaurant that was housed in a large warehouse and that had started to fit it with the usual Chinese restaurant design – lanterns, wooden tables and chairs etc, but had only completed the fish tanks and the private rooms. The main dining area felt almost unfinished with industrial steel fans on the ceiling. The acoustics of the place are not great for the large tables they have in there, meaning you have to really shout and also making hearing your friends/family difficult. The food is not bad – I think there is a pretty decent standard for seafood restaurants and the dishes they prepared were good, but no greater than any other Chinese seafood restaurant available around Singapore.
We ate the set menu on offer, which consisted of stir-fried asparagus, steamed razor clams with garlic and glass noodles, steamed prawns, chilli crab, braised home-made tofu topped with seaweed and mushrooms and lobster noodles. All good. Although nothing that stood out.
The benefit of eating at Robertson Quay is all of the bars that have popped up around that area, where you can take a slow stroll by the river to get to. If you’re lucky like we were last night, there will be a lovely cool breeze, making it even more pleasant.
All in all a wonderful way to herald in the lunar new year. Gong xi fa cai everyone !
Red House at The Quayside
#01-13/ 14 The Quayside
60 Robertson Quay
Tel: +65 6735 7666