Tossing the Chinese New Year salad

by admin on January 20, 2012


I first heard the expression “tossing the salad” when a friend (of my husband, I should like to point out) bought us a salad tosser as a wedding present. We’d put in on our gift list. It came with the message “enjoy tossing the salad”. My husband then explained to me an alternative meaning to the express. (If you don’t know what it means, I’m not going to enlighten you. It’s not a mother’s job. You can look it up yourself.)

6 years later, I received a letter from my daughter’s preschool saying they would be “tossing the traditional CNY salad” at her Chinese New Year party. Obviously, I knew it meant something totally different, but it made me laugh so I looked it up.

Yu Sheng (Yee Sang) is a fish salad eaten only during the Chinese New Year. The tossing ritual (apparently unique to Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong) is significant because it “gathers prosperity” for the upcoming year.

Twelve special ingredients are used in the salad. The guests are then given a pair of big chopsticks and invited to toss the salad as high as they possibly can and make a wish. The higher you toss, the greater your luck and prosperity will be.

So that’s what we did at Miss C’s school today – tossed raw fish salad into the air, with chopsticks. We made a complete mess, but the salad surprisingly tasty. Yet another new experience here.



icyhighs January 24, 2012 at 2:25 pm

How I wish I’d chanced upon this post earlier – I actually commented on somebody’s blog a few hours ago ‘advising’ her to remove the phrase “Go on, toss the salad, and happy new year!” I meant well, but little did I know. I stand corrected (and very embarrassed!)

admin January 25, 2012 at 11:35 am

Ha ha, well at least you know now. I still can’t say it without sniggering!

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