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liuzhou

J's Wedding Banquet

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Posted (edited)

Yesterday, I went to my dearest friend's wedding banquet.

 

She actually married her husband back on March 28th. That was the legal part; unlike in the  west, the wedding reception can take place weeks or even years later.

 

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With our official marriage certificates.

 

A  few weeks ago, I was given this. It was no surprise.  I knew of the plans over a year ago, but was sworn to secrecy!

 

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So, yesterday afternoon, I hauled myself off to the city's largest, and I'm told, "most beautiful' park, where the wedding was to take place in a well-known ethnic minority restaurant. This is the building.

 

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We were to dine on the second floor which is accessed by these stairs.

 

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But the building is not popular for views of the building. It is popular for the views from the building.

 

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The restaurant itself is set in a bamboo grove.

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The couple stand at the foot of those stairs shown above to welcome their guests and complete the all-important handover of gifts (always in the form of cash in a red envelope).

 

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Slowly, over two or three hours, the very red dining room fills up.

 

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The couple make their ceremonial entrance, there are a couple of speeches and rituals,  and then the eating  can begin. J left the dining room at this point to change from the white western-style wedding dress into a more traditional red dress.

There have been small plates of cold, pickled nibbles on the tables since we arrived.

 

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but now the real food begins to arrive, dish by dish. What follows is in the same order I photographed them, so I guess that's the order they arrived in.

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Chicken consommé

 

20180822_192755.thumb.jpg.84fd02fd5a755c9492d924d50ba81e77.jpgCantonese Style White Cut Chicken

 

20180822_192952.thumb.jpg.5b09e81608cef0a39d571ccd91fadb46.jpgMixed Chinese Charcuterie

 

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Roast Duck

 

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Kou Rou

 

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Ribs (Half of these disappeared before I could photograph them.  I was on the greedy table!)

 

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Steamed Shrimp

 

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Spicy Stir-Fried Squid

 

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Turbot

 

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Assorted Fungi

 

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Mixed Vegetable in Broth

 

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Braised straw mushrooms and oyster mushrooms with Shanghai bok choy

 

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Nut and seeds cake (front); Osmanthus jelly cakes (rear)

 

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Sweet soup

 

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Watermelon

 

By this time, J had changed from the white wedding dress to the traditional Chinese red wedding dress and she and her husband visited every table and individually toasted each guest.

 

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By now, she was totally exhausted after 14 hours of ritual, but happy! And I was happy to see her so happy.


Edited by liuzhou typos (log)
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Wonderful wedding banquet and a beautiful story and location, too.  Thank you for sharing all of it with us!

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Yes, thank you for sharing.  Always fascinating.

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Thanks for the pictures! It's great to see the beautiful view and the bountiful feast.

 

Toasting each guest sounds like a great custom, except was it with alcohol? I mean, isn't that a lot of drinks?

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Posted (edited)
On 8/24/2018 at 6:31 PM, Lisa Shock said:

Thanks for the pictures! It's great to see the beautiful view and the bountiful feast.

 

Toasting each guest sounds like a great custom, except was it with alcohol? I mean, isn't that a lot of drinks?

 

Good question! When I first went to a wedding banquet in China about twenty years ago, I wondered exactly the same. The happy couple would come around with a friend (a kind of equivalent of our bridesmaid or matron of honour)  equipped with a flask full of what appeared to be very strong Chinese liquor (白酒 bái jiǔ) to top up the couple's glasses. Then they would toast up to a 100 people

I quickly worked out something didn't add up. If my friend J really drank that much, she'd pass out by the second table. Her husband isn't a big drinker either.

I have been reliably informed that what they are actually drinking is good old fashioned H2O. The guests are drinking the real stuff, and are well aware of this pretence, but politely feign ignorance. However, it is considered a sign of deep skill among the groom's friends to perform a bit of sleight of hand and switch the groom's drink for the real stuff. I'm reasonably certain that this didn't happen on this occasion.

However,  I did see a few guests challenge him to down a half pint glass of beer in one go - a popular way to drink beer here in China. He accepted a couple.

 

They left totally sober! Unlike most of the guests.


Edited by liuzhou (log)
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Thanks! I was quietly wondering how much alcohol poisoning was happening at weddings! It's fun to learn about the celebrations and customs in such detail.

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Posted (edited)

A very lucky guy. With the imbalance of males/females in China, with her looks she could have married to any billionaire.

 

Did anyone asked you why you were taking food pictures? :D

 

Thanks for sharing.

 

dcarch 


Edited by dcarch (log)

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What a beautiful bride!  She looks stunning in both dresses, but I really really love the red one.

 

Oh and the food.  Simply amazing.  I can't imagine how busy the kitchen was getting all of that food out to all of those tables.

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I just saw this topic now.  Thanks so much for posting - it's always so interesting to see an insiders view into another culture!

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