Monday, March 08, 2010
not taipei/snapshot: Singapore
I hadn't been to Singapore in over five years, but once I got there, it all came back to me. Humidity, humidity, humidity. Not that Taipei doesn't have its share of humidity- because it does- but even in the cool wintertime it feels like July. But the good weather made it perfect for people watching and eating seafood by the beautiful skyline.
After we landed, my relatives wanted to eat some seafood and we were whisked over to No Signboard Seafood Restaurant at the Esplanade.
There was live music, tons of Chinese New Year crowds and I had a good view of the cotton candy vendor who made huge balloon like bundles of pink sugar clouds for kids and adults alike.
Of course, there was too much food, including huge platter of crab...
But also new to me was the Chinese New Year treat, yu sheng, which was like a mixer at the beginning of the meal to ring in the new year, literally. As you're tossing up the multitude of julienned vegetables, sauce and ingredients together with your chopsticks with the rest of your table, you're supposed to say "auspicious wishes" out loud while tossing it high for height in your fortunes.
We had it a couple times over the trip- the first time that night and again in Malaysia- often with raw salmon. In Malaysia, the yu sheng was also prepared with abalone and we tossed it with super long chopsticks.
Truth be told, the sticky plum and ginger flavor and mysterious elements were not my thing.
Wikipedia says the ingredients often include: "daikon (white radish), carrots, red pepper (capsicum), turnips, red pickled ginger, sun-dried oranges, daun limau nipis (key lime leaves), Chinese parsley, chilli, jellyfish, chopped peanuts, toasted sesame seeds, Chinese shrimp crackers (or fried dried shrimp), five spice powder and other ingredients, laced with a sauce using plum sauce, rice vinegar, kumquat paste and sesame oil, for a total of 27 ingredients."
I can't think of another dish that's so interactive and meaningful at the start of the meal and the start of the new year. It got everyone at the table talking to each other and smiling and wishing each other the best, and that's a tradition I can definitely believe in.
NO SIGNBOARD SEAFOOD
8 Raffles Avenue
#01-14/16 Esplanade Mall
Tel: +65 6336 9959