Unveiling the Legacy and Origins of Yee Sang: A Malaysian Tradition


In the heart of Malaysia lies a culinary treasure steeped in history and tradition—the vibrant Yee Sang. This iconic dish, synonymous with Chinese New Year celebrations, holds a story that intertwines cultures and embodies the spirit of togetherness and prosperity.

The origin of the Yee Sang that we know and love can be traced back to the quaint city of Seremban, where in the 1940s, Chef Loke Ching Fatt ingeniously crafted this flavorful masterpiece. Inspired by the desire to infuse festivity with culinary delight, Chef Loke envisioned a dish that not only tantalized taste buds but also symbolized unity and abundance.

At its core, Yee Sang is a harmonious blend of various ingredients, each carrying its own auspicious meaning. Shredded vegetables, pickles, crackers, sesame seeds, and an assortment of sauces converge to create a visual and gastronomic spectacle which stands as a testament to the cultural mosaic of Malaysia, showcasing the fusion of flavors from different regions.

The ritual of “lo hei,” the act of collectively tossing the salad while exuberantly chanting blessings, is at the heart of Yee Sang. This lively tradition isn’t just about mixing ingredients but also about elevating spirits, fostering camaraderie, and inviting good fortune for the year ahead.

Interestingly, Yee Sang shares a common ancestry with a dish from Guangdong, China called "yu sheng," which translates to "raw fish." Over time, this dish evolved in Malaysia, incorporating local ingredients and flavors to create the Yee Sang we’re familiar with today.

As Chinese New Year approaches, Hilton properties across Malaysia pay homage to this cherished tradition by offering an array of specialty Yee Sang. From traditional renditions honoring the original recipe to innovative twists that cater to evolving tastes, each dish promises a delectable journey through Malaysia’s culinary heritage.

Makan Kitchen at DoubleTree by Hilton Johor Bahru presents the ‘Healthy Toss’, a rendition of Yee Sang with a harmonious blend of fresh and dried mango. Accompanying the customary ingredients, a touch of tropical fruitiness offers a refreshing twist that exudes tangy delight.

Meanwhile, in the sophisticated ambience of Hilton Kuala Lumpur’s Chynna, an enchanting interpretation awaits. Here, you will be able to enjoy Yee Sang served with ocean trout, wasabi and longan. More than just a culinary marvel, this dish is a visual representation of dragons playing with pearls—an embodiment of auspiciousness and wealth.

For those seeking to bring the festivities home, Axis Lounge and The Koffee at DoubleTree by Hilton Shah Alam i-City extend an invitation with their takeaway Yee Sang. Among their signature offerings is the Four Happiness Yee Sang, a flavorful ensemble boasting a medley of smoked duck, jellyfish, marinated octopus and seaweed—a delightful indulgence for those eager to savor DoubleTree’s culinary craftsmanship within their own abode.

Whether in the bustling metropolis of Kuala Lumpur or amidst the coastal serenity of Damai Laut, Hilton properties in Malaysia invites you to partake in this time-honored tradition. Join in the festivities, embrace the rich history, and indulge in the symbolisms that signify luck, prosperity, and togetherness. As we welcome the dawn of a new year, let the vibrant colors and flavors of Yee Sang ignite the spirit of celebration and unity. Experience the essence of Malaysia’s cultural tapestry through this iconic dish and usher in the Year of the Dragon with abundance and joy. Gong Xi Fa Cai!

Find out more about our Chinese New Year offerings here.