When it comes to the Chinese culture, superstition plays an important role. Sometimes people are not really believing in any supernatural forces, it is simply tradition. Fish is a symbol of abundance ("yu" which is fish in Chinese also means excess), fat choy (black moss) literally means wealthiness in Cantonese, shark fin soup and abalone ("bao yu" = assurance of excess in wealth) both signify prosperity, noodles for longevity, prawn ("ha" = haha) symbolizes happiness/ laughter, 'tong sui' (sweet soup) such as red beans, sea coconut, longan is a symbol of sweet life. You must have good symbolism to supposedly bring about luck, prosperity, success and all the goodness in the world.
|A regular Chinese wedding sit-down 8-course meal: 1. Five-happiness combination platter, 2. Shark fin soup, 3. Steamed pomfret fish with soya sauce, 4. Roasted chicken|
|5.Butter pan-fried king prawns, 6. Braised mushroom, dried oyster, bean curd skin & broccoli, 7. Special fried rice, 8. Dessert: sweetened lotus seeds with lily bulbs and red bean pancake|
Some Chinese wedding banquets serve roast suckling pig as a symbol of virginity and purity. It is also common that the groom presents the bride a roasted pig as a gift during the bride's home visit - for the same reason :) Traditionally the bride's home visit happens 3 days after the traditional ceremony, however in this day and age Chinese brides don't exactly practice that anymore.
|Other options: "Fat choy" with bean curd skin, vege & mushroom, Roasted sucking pig, Braised sea cucumber with mushroom, Steamed herbal chicken|
Shark fin soup is a delicacy in Chinese cuisine but has become a controversial subject as the method of retrieving the fin is unethical. If the fish is captured and killed at the same time for its meat, it will not have to suffer and be left to die slowly when its fins are sliced off alive. Then again, you have to kill many sharks to provide hundreds bowls of soup for one wedding reception.
If you want to play a part in saving the sharks from misery, substitutions are "Buddha jumps over the wall" (without shark's fin), bird's nest soup, or crab and abalone stew. Buddha jumps over the wall or "fat thew chiong" is a rich taste stew which has ingredients such as quail eggs, bamboo shoots, scallops, sea cucumber, abalone, chicken, Jinhua ham, pork tendon, ginseng, mushrooms, and taro.
|Buddha jumps over the wall and Braised bird’s nest soup with conpoy, winter melon and crabmeat|
I was checking out Chinese weddings in Western countries such as the UK, Canada and Australia, I found similarity in their choice of menu. Roasted sukling pig, deep fried crab claws, braise abalone with vege, shark fin soup, steamed fish, pigeon, lobsters are the norms.
1. Sukling pig and jelly fish 2.Crab claws 3. Scallops and spinach 4. Shark's fin soup 5. Lobster, ginger, spring onion 6. Roasted pigeon 7. Abalone and spinach 8. Steamed fish 9. Noodles with crab and beans 10. Glutinous rice with ham and egg 11. Red bean warm soup 12. Small kuih/ dessert
|beifan.com: Chinese wedding banquet dishes in London|
References: yumyumbites.blogspot.com, ipohchai.com, streetfoodwarmsyourheart.blogspot.com, lawyerloveslunch.com, kenwooi.com, lynntazyyang.wordpress.com, blog.wedding-travel.com, beifan.com, d-sanctuary.com, www.mrsmultitasker.com