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Friday, February 15, 2008

Yummy Yee Sang @ Melia Hotel, KL

On Wed, I was invited together with 2 other secretaries of my company to taste and enjoy the lunch buffet at Melia Hotel. The lunch buffet starts at 12noon and ends at 2.30pm on Mondays - Fridays. It is priced at RM45++ per head. It was a pleasant suprise to see that there was a DIY Yee Sang on the buffet table.

What is Yee Sang? Yee Sang (Cantonese) or Yusheng (Mandarin) is chinese styled raw fish salad. This dish originated from Malaya in the part that is now known as Singapore. At first, I thought that Chinese all over the world celebrate Chinese New Year with a mixing of the Yee Sang but I was really surprised that only Singapore and Malaysia does it. My then Hong Kong housemates back in Perth had never even heard of it. However, nowadays, the other Asian countries have also adopted this dish into their culture.

Yee Sang is served as an appetizer to raise good luck for the year. The salad usually consists of strips of raw fish, mixed with shredded vegetables, crackers, ground peanuts, plum or kumquat sauce, lime juice and oil. The traditional raw fish slices used was mackeral but nowadays some of the most common fish slices used are salmon, fresh water carp, jelly fish, scallops and if you can afford it, abalone. The mixing or tossing of Yee Sang is known as "Lo Hei" and families and friends will gather around the table and on cue toss the raw fish slices and shredded ingredients together with the sauces and condiments while saying good luck for whatever one does. The higher one tosses, the more luck one will have. However, if you are too overzealous, half the salad may end up outside the plate instead!

We used to mix Yee Sang during the 7th day of Chinese New Year which is "Yan Yat" meaning everyone's Birthday day. This is the day when every Chinese turns 1 year older in the Chinese Calender. To my understanding, if we base our age on the western calendar, we only start counting how old we are from the time we are out of our mother's womb. Based on Chinese calculations, our age is based from the time we are conceived. Therefore, making us 1 year older than the Western calendar. There are exceptions for babies born in Jan & Feb around the Chinese New Year period as that is an in between period and sometimes they are calculated in the Chinese Calender as 2 years older but I am not really sure how that one goes as I am a June baby.

Nowadays, with commercialism and restaurants who capitalize on the Chinese New Year celebrations start serving Yee Sang as early as 2 weeks before Chinese New Year starts and all the way till the end of Chinese New Year. I for one have loh-sang as many as 5 times so far and this is only the 10th day of Chinese New Year. It'll be another 5 more days before the Chinese New Year celebrations end.

The Sales Manager from Melia Hotel who was handling my company's account picked up the ingredients and condiments to go with it. The Yee Sang was really yummy as we could control and pick what we want in it and the ingredients were really fresh. So far, this is the best Yee Sang that I have eaten this year.

The DIY Yee Sang with lots of raw fish (Salmon & Carp)

After mixing...yummy...many slices of raw fishes... The taste of this salad was heavenly. It was tangy and sweet, the sesame oil and peanutty oil was fragrant without being too oily and the raw fish slices were fresh without the fishy smell and each mouthful was pleasant with mixed textures of soft, chewy,'s hard to describe this heavenly feeling. Hence, this is the best Yee Sang I have tasted so far.

The rest of the food comprises of salads, cold meat cuts, sushi, mini seafood tapas, fresh mussels on the shell, soup, Yee Sang, Rice and Fried Rice, Lemon Chicken, Beef Patties (that tasted of Ramly Burger patties), Grilled fish with garlic sour cream sauce, tempura, cakes, kuih, jellies and fruits.

A selection of Appetizers to start off my lunch buffet

We were also given a fortune cookie each.

I think they need to employ a proof-reader for this job...

The overall food was okay but at RM52 nett, I won't be going back there anytime soon unless there is a special occasion...afterall...I am addicted to my cheap Malay Economy Rice now...



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