I’ve always described our annual Chinese New Year Yusheng to be a salad (which it kinda is) and therefore, it was a bit of a tickle when local salad brand Archisen collaborated with Kian Seng Group and Angie’s Tempeh for their Just Produce Prosperity Yusheng 2023. It comes in two flavours – Original Smoked Salmon and Vegetarian Truffle Bak Kwa. Both flavours feature Archisen’s blend of specialty greens and homemade plum sauce that is set to be “unforgettably refreshing yet flavourful”.
Ok…now that you’ve got me at that, I’m always up to trying new things and why not a new take on Yusheng?
Special mention – Vegetarian Truffle Bakkwa
Let’s first rave about the Vegetarian Truffle Bakkwa by Angie’s Tempeh. I’ve tasted many plant-based bak kwas before, and while these other brands get the marinate very similar to the meat version…the texture and overall taste is usually subpar. When you open Angie’s Tempeh’s Truffle Bakkwa, you first get the whiff of the truffle which makes you wonder how this would work with the characteristic slightly sweet and smoky flavour of traditional bak kwa. The answer?
It works! Moreover, the tempeh is sliced so thin that it is a bit stiff but gives a bit of a chewy bite, much like how a barbecued meat is. It is so delicious on its own but it goes very well with the other Yusheng ingredients as well as the plum sauce that was carefully concocted by Kian Seng Group. This special sauce that is not as sweet as most store-bought Yusheng and has a slightly tart and saltiness from the plum.
About the veggies
Ice plant is such a lovely addition to any salad as it is juicy, crunchy and brings about it a lush as well refreshing flavour to any salad. At home, I tend to pair Ice Plant with yuzu or sesame seed dressing to highlight the juiciness of it. The only grouse that I have with Just Produce’s Ice Plant veggie mix is that it only has a few leaves of the Ice Plant and contains more young chards.
The Zesty Mustard looks very innocent but it packs a punch and really tastes like wasabi. Not something that appeals to this wasabi non-lover but I can imagine how this would really spice things up for those who really love mustard or wasabi.
Just Sorrel really surprised me with the zesty lemon taste – something that I wouldn’t associate a vegetable with. Really love how it just adds that tang to the dish!
All tossed together
Now, separately, each element works and is delicious in their own way but Yusheng is all about tossing them together – the exact reason why many of us coin it as a CNY/ Asian salad. So the proof of the
pudding Yusheng is once all the ingredients have been tossed together.
So how does Just Produce Prosperity Yusheng stack up?
I can’t fault it totally on taste because everything does work together. However, it was not that easy to get the usual bite of all the tossed ingredients in one mouthful because of the large leaves. Tossing was also extra messy due to all the large leaves being harder to be tossed high up (for ‘better’ luck) and falling with much aplomb. This might be better if the leaves were cut into smaller pieces to facilitate the tossing as well as the eventual small bites to share.
While I was raving about the Angie’s Tempeh Truffle Bakkwa earlier, the pieces were stuck together after opening the vacuum pack, which further made this harder for the tossing. Again, I found myself having to cut it into smaller pieces and really separating the slices before any tossing could be done.
Overall, love the flavours and they were refreshing and flavourful. However, I’m not going to be instinctively getting one for my gatherings due to the reasons stated above but it might work if I were the host and I pre-tossed the Yusheng so that it becomes a salad appetiser.
The Yusheng can be ordered at Just Produce’s online store at S$88.