Even with the recent raw freshwater fish ban in place, you don’t have to toss away your customary Chinese New Year yu sheng dish. We have some alternatives to go with this auspicious must-have for the season.
Craving for something crispy and crunchy? We would go with crispy silver bait, crispy eel, or crispy fish skin.
Tip: If you want to deep fry the ingredients at home, the best way to keep them crispy is to place them on a cooling rack over a baking sheet once they are fried.
Abalone is a popular choice, not only for its quality, but also because it is aptly named “bao yu” in Mandarin, which signifies prosperity. If you are not a fan, scallop and lobster make great substitutes.
Tip: While these may be delectable choices, remember that they cost significantly more than raw fish!
Those looking to jazz up the conventional dish may opt to add some wagyu beef slices, roast beef or even beef sashimi.
Tip: Make sure this caters to all your family members, relatives and guests as some may not be able to consume beef for religious reasons.
For the health-conscious, fruits might appeal to you. Choose auspicious fruits such as oranges, pineapples and apples that offer a burst of colour to your dish.
Tip: If you are preparing the cut fruit ahead of time, consider preserving them for freshness. Wrap your cut oranges and pineapples tightly with plastic wrap before refrigerating. To prevent browning of apple slices, you can soak them in a salt-water mixture or squeeze lemon juice onto the cut surface.
If after all these mouth-watering temptations you still prefer to stick with good ol’ raw fish, we suggest you go with a saltwater variety for now. Think salmon or tuna sashimi.
Tip: While the ban may have been imposed on raw freshwater fish, you need to know that raw saltwater fish comes with an equal risk of carrying infection-causing parasitic diseases. This could easily arise from unhygienic handling practices or even high temperatures while being transported around. Keep your eye out for local health alerts to be sure.