There are things I always look forward to.

Take away pretty clothes, dancing A&F models and Ian S. Thomas’ books and I’ll be left with Chinese New Year. Now I know the petty reasons people like Chinese New Year – angbaos, food and the fun festivities.

But I enjoy Chinese New Year because it gives me the perfect, blissful-for-a-moment setting to see family whom I’ve missed but have been too proud to admit or do anything about.

And how better to bond than over food?

AFC’s “Happy Foodie New Year”

Asian Food Channel is about to premiere “Happy Foodie New Year”, their first Chinese language original production entirely filmed in Singapore. It stars celebrity host Cavin Soh and his guest chefs.

In this series they discover the rich history behind your favourite dishes from the chefs who created and brought these delicacies to our shores. It is a dedication to the food we love every Chinese New Year! We enjoyed dainty Bee Cheng Hiang slices and checked out our ILC Bak Kut Teh keepsakes as host Cavin Soh delighted us with anecdotes and experience from filming Happy Foodie New Year.

Here is Chef Julian Tam, the person to thank for introducing Poon Choi to the dining tables of Singapore!

This Poon Chai he prepared for us was painstakingly prepared in advance because of how long it takes to achieve the perfect broth. While he was showing us the dish, he told us the very quaint story behind it!

Poon Chai was a dish born in wartime years. Back in the days when food were sacrace, the folks had nothing to offer the soldiers fighting for them. So, in an effort to offer a feast, they pooled all the ingredients they had together, hopefully to create a dish beyond themselves.

And they did! Today, the chefs use better, more expensive ingredients than what they had years afo, but we still feel as warmed in our hearts when we heard this story. So very touching.

Oh god I’m getting hungry just looking at this.

Everything here were top-class ingredients and they tasted wonderful. I don’t eat abalone because I don’t like indulging in what I don’t go out of my way to buy, so imagine my joy when I saw slices after slices of it.

Here are the chefs with the sponsored ingredients from the famed-for-bird’s-nest Kim Hing and soya and braising sauce powerhouse Tai Hua!

Here we have Chef Hooi Kok Wei and Chef Sin Leong, the happy folks we have to credit our Lohei Yusheng to!

They brought it to our shores when they started their own estbalishments, bringing this strange “let’s cook everything than throw them all in the air while shouting huat ah” tradition with them, and today it is the most unmissable dish on all our tables during Chinese New Year.

In recent times, the chefs have started to add new ingredients such as salmon and fish to add more flavour and biting pleasure into this traditional dish. Oh salmon, oh wonderful salmon.

How to properly prepare Yu Sheng

We were also taught the proper way to prepare yusheng!

  1. We squeeze the lime on the fish/ salmon for flavour
  2. We add a little pepper on them as well
  3. We place now delectable fish and salmon on top of the yusheng
  4. We generously pour the given oil over
  5. We add in the peanuts and crackers for chewing pleasure

And finally, we shout huat ah and mess it up! Amidst the tables among us huat-ing, I heard a lady wishing everyone to strike whatever they buy and my date wished for us to be prettier every year so I am glad I got to see people and their priorities hahaha.

I said “quickly tall and grow” in chinese so feel free to judge me.


We were treated to the first screeening of Happy Foodie New Year afterwards and it was a very interesting show, especially when they showed us how the soy sauce bottles were prepared.

All the chefs and their tokens of appreciation!

To be honest, for how much I love Chinese New Year, I have never got around to finding the history behind them. Today made me realize that times can and will always change, but traditions will always stay.

When does Happy Foodie New Year Premiere?

Date: 19th December 2013
Time: 9 PM
Channel: Asian Food Channel (Channel 435)

Join host Cavin Soh as he re-discovers the biggest day in the Chinese calendar and what makes it up.

Now I know it’s only December, but here’s to a prosperous Near Year!

Disclaimer: Media Invitation