In southern China and throughout the Cantonese-speaking diaspora, the Chinese New Year is often welcomed with yu sheng. Literally a "raw fish" salad, its name is a homophone for "abundance of wealth and long life." Each of its many ingredients, and even the ritual communal tossing of the salad, connotes prosperity and health.
Our party, which featured only a few middling speakers of Mandarin but none of Cantonese, couldn't pin down the identity of the fish itself. It may well have been Cirrhinus molitorella, which has the unfortunate vernacular name of mud carp. In Hong Kong it is also known as dace, which appears on Shun Deck's regular menu; we observed an attractive stuffed specimen elsewhere in the dining room. Unstuffed, and apart from all the trimmings of the plated salad shown here, the flavor was actually quite clean.
Also on our table: fried and baked fish pieces, a fish-skin salad, and fish congee, all of which may have incorporated leftover bits from our yu sheng fish (language barriers made confirmation problematic); a "phoenix lover's wrap" that included, I believe, both shrimp and clam; home-style fish cakes; and two styles of milk pudding. For photos, see the EIT page on Facebook.
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