It is auspicious to indulge in certain types of food during the Lunar New Year. Lo hei yusheng is an example.
In Cantonese, lo means to mix/toss. Hei means up. Yu or fish sounds like the Chinese word for abundance. Sheng is shredded vegetables; it can also mean raw. Loosely translated, it is a salad of raw fish with shredded vegetables.
Polaris Fine Foods’ (tel. 0908-8123462; @polarisfinefoods on Instagram) lo hei is perhaps one of the most luxurious, made only with the finest ingredients, like sashimi of chilled bluefin tuna belly (otoro and chutoro) flown in from Japan and salmon from Norway. Ikura, unagi, wakame, pomelo, crunchy vegetables and tempura flakes for texture complete the salad. A special dressing completes the dish.
For best results, toss the salad as high up in the air as you can with your chopsticks, while professing your wishes for the new year. It is said that the louder you shout and the higher you toss, the greater your fortune will be!
Raw abalone, yellow chicken and Chinese duck to complete your Chinese New Year feast are also available at Polaris. Crabs for success in business
At the Marriott’s Man Ho Restaurant (tel. 89889999), live Alaskan king crab can be enjoyed two ways, steamed or prepared Singapore-style. It is served with braised e-fu noodles with black truffle sauce. It is available for dine-in and takeout from Feb. 12.
Tikoy is handed out as gifts for its shape. Being round, it connotes good and never-ending relationships.
Eng Bee Tin (tel. 82888888; @iloveengbeetin on Instagram) delights with their new flavors of tikoy each year. To welcome the Ox, they concocted the limited-edition Dulce de Leche. Add to that the Tikoy Supreme with bits of salted duck egg and minced pork. Both flavors are to my liking. The Supreme, I love! It’s both sweet and savory. Radish is a symbol of good fortune and good beginnings. As such, Radish cake is another Chinese New Year staple.
The recipe of Tim Ho Wan’s Superior Radish Cake (@timhowanph on Instagram) is from their Michelin-star kitchens in Hong Kong. It is made with premium ingredients and capped with cured pork and dried scallops.
It is best served as suggested by the Tim Ho Wan chefs below:
Panfried radish cake: Slice cake thinly. Heat oil in a pan. Fry to desired doneness.
Stir-fried: Cut cake in cubes and fry. Stir-fry egg and wansoy. Add radish cake cubes, egg, bean sprout and wansoy. Season to taste.
Steamed: Steam 10-15 minutes. Serve with special soy sauce made by combining and simmering in a saucepan: 80 ml light soy sauce, 150 ml water, 30 g sugar, 2 g chicken powder, 12 g oyster sauce. Chef Buddy Trinidad made lucky cat and mahjong tile pralines. He even has a sugar cookie DIY CNY kit. Available at Park Avenue Desserts (tel. 0927-1128427; @parkavenuedesserts on Instagram).
A Chinese Valentine
Eventique Manila (@eventiquemanila on Facebook and Instagram) has perfected the art of theme arrangements. Their Chinese Valentine arrangement is a red hat box filled with gold coins, chocolate hearts, fish-shaped tikoy, fruits and flowers big and small in orange hues. Each and every element that went into it was so well-thought-out, even the lemons. For after all, ain’t love and life a blend of sweet and sour?
Feng shui food tips
Geomancer master Aldric Dalumpines (tel. 0999-3128168; Aldric Luck on Facebook for private consultations) proclaimed chicken (an ally of the Ox) as the lucky dish of the year, cooked as you please. It must, however, be served whole with its head and feet intact as feng shui dictates, to bring unity and harmony.
Food products made from carabao (milk, pastillas, etc.) are auspicious, too.
Have you tried Chicha-rabao? This chicharon is made from carabao skin. Unlike chicharon as we know it, carabao skin, when dried and fried, transforms into light, crisp, airy puffs that crumble then melt in the mouth. Its faint gamy aftertaste is quite pleasant and makes it unique.
Made by Lighthouse Cooperative (tel. 0917-7733325), it comes in garlic, onion and vinegar, and hot and spicy. Are you ready to take on the 28 Fish Ball Challenge? If you wish to have a steady cash flow from multiple income streams this year, then eat 28 fish balls, said Dalumpines.
Why? Fish is a symbol of cash flow. In numerology, two means easy money coming in, even while asleep, while eight means double prosperity. Therefore the reward for eating 28 fish balls is 24/7 excellent cash flow!
To achieve two aspirations in one, eat pancit with 28 fish balls for easy double prosperity and long life!
He urges home-based food businesses to add fish balls to their menu.
Lucky food for the year by zodiac
Rat: Wintermelon soup
Ox: Chicken egg, raw
Tiger: Pork steak
Rabbit: Vegetable salad
Dragon: Barbecued chicken
Snake: Beef steak
Horse: Tofu steak
Monkey: Fish head soup
Rooster: Beef stew
Dog: Bone marrow soup
Pig: Rice porridge
Prosperity Fruit Basket
The Prosperity Fruit Basket for the year consists of eight oranges and one pineapple, eight for double prosperity. Oranges, being gold and very round, symbolize money. Pineapple is the traditional feng shui symbol of wealth, fortune and prosperity.
Leave the fruit baskets on the dining table and another in the reception area of your business office on New Year’s Eve.
Dress yourself or your new year table in white. The color is symbolic of metal, thus harnessing luck by law of attraction. White improves your well-being and purifies your immune system.
Known as a color of mourning, for 2021 Dalumpines said, “This is superseded by the luck it brings.”
Kung Hei Fat Choi! I wish you all good health, peace, love and good fortune, in abundance.
INQFollow @iamreggieaspiras on Facebook and Instagram; reggieaspiras.com