A Chinese banquet should be about balancing textures, colours and flavours. Here we share a sumptuous Chinese dinner party menu – and to ensure your night goes off without a hitch, we’ve also include wine suggestions and tips on Chinese table etiquette.
Rather than seating your guests straight away, why not begin your evening with a selection of Chinese canapés? Chinese yum cha favourites that can double as finger food include platters of these pork, prawn and chive dumplings (we love presenting the individual dumplings on Chinese soup spoons, drizzled with soy sauce), steamed Peking duck rolls (buy a roasted duck if you want to get a head start), and these golden chicken and char siu pork rolls.
Wine match: kick things off with a bottle of pink champagne or Australian sparkling rosé. If you’re feeling fancy, plump for a vintage example, which will have the body to stand up to some of those more strident flavours.
Seat your guests for the main event. For the full Chinese banquet experience, we suggest serving a selection of show-stopping savouries, plus a range of sides. A whole fish always looks impressive, and is said to bring good fortune, so why not try this steamed coral cod with goji berries? Unwrap it at the table and let the aromas envelope your guests. A roast bird is equally generous, such as this Chinese honey-roasted chicken. To balance out the proteins, serve this recipe for stir-fried vegetables with cashews and a crowd-pleasing bowl of Chinese fried rice.
Wine matches: Red or white? Why not go for both. The fish calls out for a crisp white, such as a riesling or pinot grigio, whereas the honey-glazed chicken will work a treat with a light red, such as a gamay, or sparkling shiraz, which has a hint of sweetness to complement the glaze. If you want to serve just one wine, hedge your bets with a bottle of rosé!
Chinese meals traditionally end with fresh fruit and almond biscuits. If you’d like to push the boat out for your Asian banquet, try this tropical fruit salad in jelly. Wine match: this sweet send-off requires an equally sweet wine. Seek out a botrytis riesling or late-harvest viognier with tropical notes and a high natural acidity.
Before you set the table with your favourite white and green linen, it might be worth reading up on the meaning of colours in Chinese culture. Symbolising joy and good fortune, red represents happiness, making it the perfect choice for your decor.
It’s also a good idea to brush up on the five Chinese eating habits, such as how to position your chopsticks, why you should slurp your noodles, and why you should never serve an odd number of dishes.
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