Fish is very commonly eaten during the Chinese New Year because fish in Chinese (鱼) sounds the same as excess in Chinese (余). What many people do not know is that there is a certain delicacy that can be found in our local wet markets. This special delicacy is the rabbit fish. Most of you would know rabbit fish as a common, affordable fish… except during the Lunar New Year season. For a few days in a year – and only for a few days – the rabbit fish sold in local markets are full of creamy roe or milt (fish semen).
It is believed that eating the rabbit fish when its stomach is full of roe or milt is a sign of prosperity. In particular, the Teochews in Singapore believe that eating rabbit fish (pek tor he in Teochew dialect) will ensure good luck for the coming year.
The best way to eat this delicacy during Lunar New Year is to steam it for about 3-4 minutes. You will know that it is cooked when the fish eyes turn white. Eat it with a mixture of lime, soy sauce, chilli and garlic (optional). Remember, don’t overcook it so that the roe is not hard but creamy. Last but not least, eat with the joy of looking forward to a fresh new start to the new year, where all things are possible.