Whether Chinese celebrate the Christmas and are there any special Chinese Food for festivals? Here I gave some examples of Chinese home cooking dishes we had during festival time.
I have been asked several times by my foreign friends, “Do you celebrate the Christmas in China?" Well, if based on the old tradition, the answer is "no". The old generation such as my parents have no idea about th festivals in the West. Nowadays the young generation starts to celebrate all kinds of western
festivals, such as Christmas and Valentines’ Day. The celebration might
not be due to the religious beliefs, but to follow a new fashion or a
western living style.
Although Christmas is not the public holiday in China, it is still a good time for business. All shopping centers make big efforts for sales and holiday promotions, which is just the same as in the West.
Since we are not really celebrating the Christmas as a religious festival, we don’t have certain food specially for it. But since it is the biggest festival of the year, we would have some gatherings with Chinese friends and share Chinese home cooking dishes.
This year we were invited by a kind Chinese medicine doctor Dr. Yang to spend the Christmas Eve with her lovely family. Her husband, Dr. Shang, who is also a Chinese medicine doctor, did all the cooking. The big table of Chinese dishes includes the chicken, pork, spare ribs, seafood, and veggies, which were really delicious.
As you may know that Chinese share the food, you can see there are so many plates on the table. Everyone uses the chopsticks to pick up whatever they like.
Unlike in the West, potato or bread as the main resource for carbohydrate, in Chinese dining, we would have the rice, noodle, or as for this dinner, the dumplings.
The filling for dumplings varies depending on the personal preference. The popular filling is the pork with veggies. This time the dumpling fillings were made by minced pork and celery.
Here is a dish made by chicken, slow braised with China local ingredient, a dry mushroom call Zhen Mo. The mushroom is Dr. Shang brought from China, which is only available from his hometown near the countryside. After slow cooking, the meat is tender and full of flavor.
Like many Chinese, Dr Shang prefers to cook a small whole chicken, although it takes more time to cook but he believes it tastes better than a big chunk of meat like chicken breast. To have the best taste, he suggests using the small free range chicken for this dish.
Another popular dish for Chinese home cooking is the red cooked spare ribs. The dark soy sauce is used to give the dark brown color. There are different versions of this dish, such as some may have five spice flavor, sweet sour flavor, or may use the spicy ingredients. You may check the recipe of our family version for the red cooked rib and potato here.
The dish of king prawns. It takes the time to clean and prepare the prawn. We normally would cut and open the back, and remove the black line before cooking them. Many Chinese normally would keep the shells and we don’t mind using the fingers. Here Dr. Shang used the red cook. (Our home cooking has a different version for prawns cooked with green chili, you may check our recipe here).
Another very popular Chinese dish is this Fish-Flavored Shredded Pork, 鱼香肉丝 (yú xiāng ròu sī). This is a Sichuan (Szechuan) style dish that tastes sweet, sour, salty and little spicy. I haven’t got the recipe on my site yet, but will add it in the future.
The steamed fish is always a healthy option. Here is the steamed sea bass with the chopped red chilies and green spring onions on the top and Dr. Shang said this is the easy dish to make. Love the color of red chili and green onions, look so fresh. (here is the Chinese steamed fish recipe from my site).
Chinese dining considers the balance of nutrition and tofu is always one of our favorites. Here is a tofu dish made by the dried tofu skin that Dr. Shang bought from China, fried with pork and green chilies. When I lived in the southern China, we had the similar type of tofu skins but were freshly made and bit thicker than this dried version. The dried version has bit finer texture than the thick version.
Of course, the vegetable dish is definitely a must-have. Here is the salad
made by the cooked courgette (zucchini) and tofu skin shreds, seasoned
by soy sauce, vinegar, sugar and little red chilies.
Traditional Chinese meals are not finished by rich dessert as in the West. We usually prefer some fresh fruits at the end. At the end of this meal we had the watermelons (forgot the picture:). In China local restaurants, one popular sweet treat is the Squash Cakes (my recipe here).
I’d like to say “Thank you” again to Dr. Yang’s invitation and really appreciate that Dr. Shang spent so much time and effort to prepare the delicious Chinese home cooking food, which was really a lovely Christmas Eve:)
Ok, that’s it. I hope you enjoy the Chinese food for festivals. If so, please feel free to like it on Facebook or share with your friends.
(Post: 30/12/16; Update: 22/12/2019)