Christmas Eve Chinese Banquet

My family has an unusual Christmas Eve tradition. Every year, we eat a 12-course Chinese banquet with our neighbors. Between both our families, more than a dozen of us easily fill the restaurant’s large round tables. The courses are brought out one or two at a time and placed on a large lazy susan in the middle of the table, allowing us to help ourselves to a bite without having to leave our seats. Tea flows endlessly, stomachs are filled, and we eventually leave to cruise for Christmas lights.

Christmas Eve Chinese Banquet
Appetizer plate with jellyfish and cold cuts. Photo by Jeremy May.

Here’s what was on our menu this year. Our neighbors order in Chinese so I don’t know the exact names of the dishes, but I’ve tried my best to be descriptive.

  1. An appetizer plate of jellyfish and cold cuts
  2. Bean curd filled with greens and mushrooms
  3. Shrimp with peanuts and mushrooms
  4. Bamboo membrane
  5. Soup with dried scallops and mushrooms
  6. Lobster, broken up and sauteed
  7. Crispy chicken
  8. Beef and broccoli
  9. Noodles with mushrooms and Chinese broccoli
  10. Fried rice with shrimp
  11. Melons
  12. Sweet red bean soup

If you want to see more of the food, check out Jeremy’s photos. And if you want to experience it first-hand, the restaurant we went to for the last two years has been Majestic Restaurant (Map Marker 29 Route 23 S, Wayne, NJ), which also offers buffet-style dining.

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