In Chinese Happy/Merry Christmas is ‘Sheng Dan Kuai Le’ in Mandarin and ‘Seng Dan Fai Lok’ in Cantonese. Santa is known as ‘Sheng dan Lao ren’, which translates literally to Old Christmas Man. Only 1% of people in the People’s Republic are Christian,therefore the holiday is rarely celebrated outside of large cities. Only a few people have Christmas trees, though some do decorate with paper chains and lanterns.
As in western culture, Christmas day involves a family feast. But instead of the Western traditional turkey or ham, Chinese families are more likely to eat the foods associated with Chinese New Years. These might include roast barbecued pork, chicken, and soup with wood ears.
As for food on Christmas Day, this is really down to personal preference. Younger people tend to see the day as a good excuse for hanging out with friends, but this might just as likely mean a meal at McDonalds, as a traditional dinner. However, many international hotels in larger cities offer a more traditional Christmas dinner to guests, featuring the kind of food you might get in the Western Europe on Christmas Day.
One thing that Chinese people do eat in Christmas according to tradition is apples! The Chinese word for apple sounds very much like the word for “peace.” As a result, a tradition has developed of exchanging apples wrapped in colored paper. The apples are eaten on Christmas Eve because in Chinese the word for “Christmas Eve” means peaceful or quiet evening (from the traditional carol Silent Night). Here at Parkside Restaurant you can always order delicious toffee apples – a great variation of a tradition. Scroll down to the desserts page to find out more delicious apple deserts… As always you`ll find a recipe bellow, we wanted to share a special one for your Christmas dinner – this year experiment a little and instead of the traditional meal choose something a bit “out of the box”. And remember to wish all your friends a 圣诞快乐 Shèngdàn kuàilè (Happy Christmas)!
Braised Silk Tofu
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1 block of medium firm tofu
- ¼ cup sliced shiitake mushrooms
- 1 ½ cups chicken or vegetable stock
- ½ teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
- ½ teaspoon sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1 clove minced garlic
- 2 tablespoons of canned corn
- 1 small carrot, thinly sliced
- 1 small bell pepper, sliced
- Mix cornstarch and water into a slurry in a small bowl. Drain the tofu of excess liquid and cut into ½ inch thick slices. Wash and slice your mushrooms.
- Make a stock mixture by combining the stock, sesame oil, soy sauces, sugar, and salt in a bowl.
- Heat the wok over high heat and add the oil. Spread the tofu in 1 layer in the wok. Sear each side for about a minute. If you need more time to turn the tofu, reduce the heat to medium and take your time! Then add the garlic.
- After one minute, add the stock mixture and the mushrooms. Return the heat to high. When the mixture comes to a boil, lower the heat to medium, cover and let it cook for about 5 minutes.
- Remove the cover, turn the wok back up to high heat and add your vegetables. Gently toss them with the tofu, being careful not to break the tofu pieces. Quickly add the cornstarch slurry a little at a time to thicken the remaining liquid just enough to coat tofu and vegetables. If the sauce is too thick, just add more water or stock. If it’s too thin, add more slurry. Give the dish a final toss and serve it immediately!