QuickCheck: Is it true that yee sang originates from Seremban?


EVERY Chinese New Year, families and friends gather around the table to "toss in" the new year with a plate of yee sang.

Is it true that yee sang is actually a Malaysian dish created in Seremban?

Verdict:

TRUE

While it is true that the tradition of having raw fish for the lunar new year does stem from Guangdong, China, the yee sang presented and served is unique.

Yee sang is a type of salad served with raw fish, its exact recipe has been changed and adapted over the years, with each chef and restaurant having their own take on the dish.

The ingredients are usually elaborately arranged on a large dish which is placed in the middle of the table whereby diners, chopsticks in hand, will toss the ingredients in the air for good luck and prosperity.

The recipe for the festival favourite was first created by Loke Ching Fatt for his Seremban-based catering business, called Loke Cheng Kee, in the 1940s.

Though Loke was Cantonese, he also found inspiration for the dish from both Teochew and Hokkien traditions when he developed the recipe.

Singaporeans do disagree with this history of the dish as they believe the recipe originates from the island nation.

But according to their version of the story, four chefs developed the recipe in the 1960s.

Loke's timeline however predates that date with many Seremban folk adamantly siding with him.

In the past, Grass Carp or Wolf Herring was used though these days salmon is the fish of choice.

References:

1. https://www.sinchew.com.my/?p=2025363

2. https://www.thestar.com.my/opinion/letters/2012/02/01/pay-no-heed-to-frivolous-claims/

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