Chinese Wedding Dinner
Alright, so I still have a lot of wedding posts to share, but I just got my photos back from my photographer and so let’s get to the part I was most excited for, the wedding banquet!
I knew I wanted to show all the wedding food on my blog and made sure to tell every photographer I met with that they would have to photo the food for me. I had no idea what sort of photos I wanted, poses, etc, but I knew I wanted food photos. I think the photographers thought I was a little nuts.
For our reception, we did a traditional Chinese wedding banquet. It’s something I’ve wanted since I was a kid. Surprisingly, my parents didn’t insist on it and even suggested I just do a catered American style wedding reception, but I balked at the idea. Yes I’ve been to some delicious American style wedding receptions, but nothing has really ever matched up to the elaborate Chinese wedding banquet (except for maybe the Indian Wedding Feast I went to two years ago.)
In Chinese culture, the lavish wedding banquet is a symbol of good luck and prosperity. The idea is if you throw a large celebration, the bride and groom will also be prosperous in their life together. The dinner consists of multiple courses (in the US it’s usually around 9 or 10, in Taiwan it’s around 12). Expensive ingredients are used, with an emphasis on seafood. Each dish chosen also has symbolic meaning too (though some of that has gotten lost in the US and not all of the traditional dishes are served).
Since we were having our wedding in San Diego, we had limited options. We ended up choosing Pearl Restaurant in Rancho Bernardo. You may remember I paid a visit to Pearl for the first time last year. Yup, it was to scope out the venue for our reception. I adored the beautiful park outside and the restaurant was big enough for our needs.
Our menu consisted of 10 courses total, with 8 main courses because 8 is a lucky number in Chinese culture. Most dishes represent a dragon/phoenix (Ying/Yang) theme. In a marriage, the dragon symbolizes the male role while the phoenix symbolizes the female role.
BBQ Cold Plate Appetizer
The appetizer was a combination cold plate of various meats and jellyfish that are arranged to represent the dragon and the phoenix, to symbolize the union of two creatures.
Stuffed Crab Claws
These were humongous. I’m not sure if you can tell that from the picture, but each stuffed claw was close to twice the size of a golf ball.
Seafood soup contains expensive ingredients, to signify the future prosperity of the marriage. (No, shark fin was not served.)
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