What used to be a simple dish featuring a julienne of vegetables and fresh fish has over the years evolved to not only include different types of seafood but also meat for the fun affair of tossing the ingredients together.
Not only has the appetiser developed taste wise, there has been a shift in its presentation with chefs and cooks using creativity in presenting the dish.
With the “camera eats first” phenomenon apparent worldwide, it is common to see diners fishing out their mobile phones to capture food shots for social media.
This practice has been egging chefs on to create eye-catching yee sang platters which has inadvertently caught on with “foodographers” hence the emergence of imaginative yee sang presentations.
Instagram-worthy yee sang are common these days but some are just too pretty or cute to be eaten.
It is no different this year with some restaurants presenting unique yee sang ideas, most of which pay tribute to the Year of the Rat.
Aloft Kuala Lumpur Sentral executive Arfizan Abdul Rahim said his idea for a quirky and playful yee sang design best represents the hotel’s sassy personality. The mouse design is by request only (at no extra cost) and at least one day booking in advance is needed.
Smoky Chicken with Rice Krispies Yee Sang in the form of a smiling mouse with buck teeth is at Chynna in Hilton Kuala Lumpur.
The yee sang is different from the usual fare as it is served without fish. Instead the appetiser has grilled chicken, vegetables, pickles, crunchy crackers and is topped with sweet plum sauce.
Rice crispies are added for extra crunch, said executive Chinese chef Lam Hock Hin.
He said while raw fish was still popular or a must-have in yee sang, he opted for grilled chicken as there were diners who were allergic to seafood or unable to consume raw fish. It also comes in half portion.
Also offering a smiley-faced mouse yee sang is Pasar Baru at New World Hotel Petaling Jaya.
The mouse design yee sang is upon request and there is no extra charge if ordered together with the set menu.
Chef de cuisine Chai Chun Keong has used Norwegian smoked salmon for the yee sang. The salmon is arranged like a rose in bloom and garnished with quartered strawberries.
The yee sang has fragrant hints of orange, and a blackcurrant fruit concentrate is added to the plum sauce giving the sweet and sour concoction extra tang.
Grand Imperial Restaurant’s Whole Abalone Yee Sang comes with rat-shaped glutinous rice dumplings with peanuts known as lo mai chi. The mochi-like dumplings, which are arranged around the yee sang platter, add a chewy texture to the appetiser.
Look out for a mini mouse bun when tossing the Mighty Mouse “Yu” Sang at Ruyi in Bangsar Shopping Centre, Kuala Lumpur.
To commemorate the Year of the Rat, chef James Ho’s impressive yee sang has a pair of mice dusted in gold to signify harmony and togetherness.
The mini mouse bun, baked in-house, is added into the yee sang for that additional fun element.
The yee sang also has salmon, crispy fish skin in salted egg yolk, pickles and radish.
At Vogue Lounge, Kuala Lumpur diners will literally eat gold when placing an order the Golden Yee Sang as it comes with edible 24k gold flakes.
The yee sang features an artfully-designed female silhouette with the gold flakes, salmon, jellyfish, mixed nuts and fresh vegetables like lettuce, cabbage, cucumber, radish and more, drizzled with olive oil and yee sang sauce.