From the Archives: Chinese-Western Holiday Dinner Ideas | Speaking of China

From the Archives: Chinese-Western Holiday Dinner Ideas

With Christmas coming up — and here in the US, Thanksgiving just around the corner — thoughts soon turn to entertaining and dinners. And if you’re in a Chinese-Western cross-cultural relationship or marriage, how can you reflect that in your holiday meals?

While I’m preparing to move to China next week, I thought I’d dig into my archives and share a few holiday food-related entries, plus link to my favorite Asian-style holiday turkey recipe on Food & Wine (sure to impress your Chinese and Western loved ones during the holidays)!

My Holidays Start With Five-Spice Turkey and Chinese Dumplings. In my home, I know it’s the holidays when cranberry sauce, hand-rolled Chinese dumplings and five-spice turkey hit the table.

Carolyn J. Phillips On Charming A Chinese Family Through Food. Carolyn is a yangxifu who devoted her adult life to mastering the art of Chinese cooking — and she dishes up her secrets and sumptuous recipes in this interview.

Soy-Sauce & Honey-Glazed Turkey. Soy sauce, honey, ginger, sesame oil and five-spice give this succulent turkey an Asian flair. I’ve prepared this at four times already and it always comes out moist and flavorful (so I’m told at least, since I’m actually vegan), and makes for fantastic leftovers. I usually add a little wine (shaoxing-style wine or a rice wine like sake) to the marinade as a slight variation to the recipe, a nod to my mother-in-law’s home-cooking (she almost always adds a little shaoxing-style wine to her meats). And if you’re hungry for more holiday dinner inspiration, check out the full menu that includes this turkey.

What are your must-have holiday meal traditions? Share your ideas — or even recipes — in the comments!

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7 Responses

  1. ordinary malaysian
    ordinary malaysian November 18, 2013 at 8:30 am | | Reply

    We don’t have turkey, only when Christmas comes around is it available. And it is very expensive! But I do love turkey, especially done roasted with all the herbs, honey and spices, provided the meat is not too dry. Your five spices honey soy sauce turkey looks yummy! I would love to grab a chunk of it!

  2. Jo
    Jo November 19, 2013 at 2:02 am | | Reply

    I go to Carrefour, buy out the entire import section, and make my in-laws a roast chicken dinner they’ll never forget. I make a cheesecake from scratch as well. I’ve been collecting recipes for Western dishes you can make in China on Pinterest just for the occasion. It’s not easy spending Christmas in China but you have to make the best of it.

  3. Lina
    Lina November 20, 2013 at 9:20 am | | Reply

    I need to try to make it, never tried to make a turkey before 🙂

  4. Sara
    Sara November 20, 2013 at 6:48 pm | | Reply

    This Christmas is going to be bit different as I’m living with my boyfriend’s parents, but he is going to be on a business trip during the holidays. Well, it isn’t even a holiday in China. So I really don’t know how Christmas will turn out this year.

    I’m going to put up some decorations for sure, my little plastic Christmas tree. I also hope to make some Finnish food, but as I don’t have oven, I can’t really make any real Christmas dishes.

    I’m not really looking forward Christmas at all as I can’t spend it with my boyfriend.

  5. AG
    AG November 21, 2013 at 8:19 am | | Reply

    With globalization, the difference in food and dress become less and less. But some difference in taste is genetically based like this finding.
    https://www.23andme.com/health/Bitter-Taste-Perception/

    As a northern Chinese, I found incredible similarity of food flavor between North China and North Europe. Well, only certain type of plants and animals can grow in these regions. Garlic, onion, pork are the basis for food in these regions.

    Love perogies or Chinese dumplings.

  6. Nicki Chen
    Nicki Chen November 21, 2013 at 11:03 pm | | Reply

    For many years when we lived abroad, we couldn’t buy a turkey, so we stuffed a couple of chickens for Thanksgiving. Now I’m back in the United States. Every grocery store has turkeys, and I know how to bake them. But this year the trouble is getting everyone together. Most of my children and grandchildren live on the other side of the country. They WILL fly here for Christmas, but not for Thanksgiving. My niece and nephew will be visiting her parents in another city, so my sister and I and one daughter will be a small group. In the spirit of Thanksgiving, we plan to volunteer at a soup kitchen before eating our turkey dinner in a restaurant.

  7. Sveta
    Sveta December 1, 2013 at 1:05 am | | Reply

    I’m beginning to dislike holidays, really. Went through Thanksgiving and Chanukkah, and nothing special happened, instead what felt like, well, misery.

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