Everyone in Singapore is not allowed to shout auspicious phrases during Chinese New Year when tossing yusheng, also known as lo hei.
But it doesn't mean the lo hei tradition will go out the window.
Press a button on your screen
A restaurant, House of Seafood, located at Punggol Settlement, has provided a glimpse into the near future: How to lo hei with eight people at most, with masks on, and without shouting a single phrase.
That's because a smartphone plugged into a speaker will do the shouting on behalf of masked diners.
However, the video posted shows exactly how awkward it would be to lo hei with everyone silent except for the mechanical voice coming out of the speaker each time a button on screen is pressed.The shouting of auspicious phrases follows a certain routine, and corresponds to the addition of specific ingredients or condiments.
The shouts of "Huat ah" at the end of the routine, when everyone picks up their chopsticks to toss the ingredients and condiments, sound more like admonishments than celebratory revelry.
Welcome to the future.
Restaurants banking on lo hei for profit
Lo hei is highly lucrative for food establishments.
The practice is widespread and relies on relatively low cost ingredients, which are mainly vegetables and roots, and preserved or candied products.
A lo hei dish can go from S$30 to S$50 or more.
Fancy add-ons such as fried fish skin and extra servings of abalone and salmon are available at some finer establishments -- at a cost.
You can use this site for the shouting of auspicious phrases on your phone: http://djbeng.com/lohei.html
What you cannot do this CNY
- Homes in Singapore can only entertain a maximum of eight visitors per day
- Individuals should limit themselves to visiting at most two other households a day, as much as possible
- Social gatherings outside the home can remain at a maximum group size of eight
- Face masks must be worn during the tossing of yusheng
- Lo hei should be done without any verbalisation of auspicious phrases
Top photos via House of Seafood