Monday, March 14, 2011

Ushering in the Year of the Rabbit at Gold Mine, Bayswater

This is a little late to be posting CNY get-togethers and meals but my US trip was right smack during the 2 weeks festive period. So it is only now that I am able to write it up. I managed to join a friend's reunion dinner right before I left which was at Gold Mine in Bayswater. This was chosen as apparently they do 'Yee Sang' which is a Malaysian/Singapore tradition. I grew up eating this every year during CNY.

What exactly as Yee Sang? I'll let Wiki do the explanation:

"Yu Sheng, yee sang or yuu sahng (simplified Chinese: 鱼生; pinyin: yúshēng), or Prosperity Toss, also known as lo hei (Cantonese for 撈起 or 捞起) is a Teochew-style raw fish salad. It usually consists of strips of raw fish (most commonly salmon), mixed with shredded vegetables and a variety of sauces and condiments, among other ingredients. Yusheng literally means "raw fish" but since "fish ()" is commonly conflated with its homophone "abundance ()", Yúshēng (鱼生) is interpreted as a homophone for Yúshēng (余升) meaning an increase in abundance. Therefore, yusheng is considered a symbol of abundance, prosperity and vigor."We also ordered most dishes from the festive menu.

These are regular dishes that have been renamed to auspicious words or phrases which adds to the festive vibe. These are Chinese phrases that comprises of only four characters. It's not easy using just four characters but it makes it short and sweet while not editing on the meaning. I think that these are ingenious and was what I wanted to write about. I shall try my best to explain each of them through the dishes that we ordered (Photos may not be accodring to names and apologies for the shaky photos).

年年有余 £25

The last character is pronounced as 'Yu' which means fish. It is a homonym for , meaning "surplus”. The fish is a symbol of surplus in Chinese and you can see many posters and paintings of fish in decorations. Therefore the phrase means the wish to have a surplus every year.

风生水起 £6.50

Being prosperous

金凤迎春 £11

"The autumn wind ushers in the new spring". Am not too sure of this but is likely along the lines of spring being the new beginning where all things grow, so greeting of spring is seen as something positive.

求财就手 £9.80
Getting fortune when you wish for it.

发财好市 £19

A prosperous city is a good city

掌握钱财 £16.80

Grasping money and wealth in your hands.

老少平安 £10.30

Peaceful life for both the young and old.

一本万利 £10.30

Making 10,000 times the profit from your capital.
金板玉叶 £13.80

"A tree with golden branches and jade leaves". This is a classical Chinese proverb used to describe aristocratic but unmarried women in feudal Chinese society. The proverb is also used to describe a lady from a privileged or aristocratic background (source wiki).

Isn't it amazing how four words can have so much meaning and add so much more to a celebration? We all enjoyed our meals and had a good time.

I'll say the only killjoy was when paying the bill as we thought that the 'Yee Sang' was £16.88 per dish but it was actually the price per person which was really a rip-off!

Gold Mine, 102 Queensway, Bayswater, W2 3RR

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