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Yusheng: A Dish To Toss In The air To Celebrate The Chinese New Year

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Yusheng: A Dish To Toss In The air To Celebrate The Chinese New Year

Food

Yusheng: A Dish To Toss In The air To Celebrate The Chinese New Year

Yusheng: A Dish To Toss In The air To Celebrate The Chinese New Year

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/466748096/466748097" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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  • Yusheng, a traditional Southeast Asian dish meaning "Prosperous Toss," as prepared by Alex Wong at his home in Maryland.
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    Yusheng, a traditional Southeast Asian dish meaning "Prosperous Toss," as prepared by Alex Wong at his home in Maryland.
    Denise Guerra/NPR
  • Alex Wong celebrates his Malaysian roots, inviting his friends to join him in preparing Yusheng to commemorate the Chinese New Year.
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    Alex Wong celebrates his Malaysian roots, inviting his friends to join him in preparing Yusheng to commemorate the Chinese New Year.
    Denise Guerra/NPR
  • Alex Wong and his friends place their chopsticks into his homemade Yusheng as they get ready to toss it in the air.
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    Alex Wong and his friends place their chopsticks into his homemade Yusheng as they get ready to toss it in the air.
    Denise Guerra/NPR
  • Every ingredient in Alex Wong's Yusheng dish has a meaning tied to receiving good luck for the new year.
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    Every ingredient in Alex Wong's Yusheng dish has a meaning tied to receiving good luck for the new year.
    Denise Guerra/NPR

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In Western culture, it's tradition to wish others a happy New Year. For the Lunar New Year, celebrated this past week, many people with roots in Southeast Asia have another tradition: a dish called Yusheng, which in English translates to "Prosperity Toss" — and which will probably end up on the floor.

This colorful dish, which can also be interpreted as "an increase in abundance," or simply "good luck," comprises raw fish, herbs, spices and fresh and pickled fruits and vegetables. And it is prepared for the specific purpose of throwing up in the air.

Alex Wong, who immigrated to the U.S from Malaysia in the 1980s, leaving his family behind, invited NPR and several of his American friends to his Laurel, Md., home to watch him prepare his mother's recipe for Yusheng.

Once the meal is done, the tossing process begins. All participants insert their chopsticks into the plate and toss the salad while loudly offering wishes of prosperity.

See the photo gallery above to join the celebration.