A Chinese Holiday Celebration

Our delightful Chinese neighbors invited us to have dinner with them on Christmas Eve.  The dinner party also included another Chinese couple with their high school daughter.  The home was very festive, and was decorated for the holiday, with lights outside, and a tree with gold ribbons and ornaments inside.  The dining table  was beautifully setIMG_1788
with all the food set out.  We were going to be treated to a hot pot meal.  This is rather an Asian version of fondue, and our meal consisted of meat, seafood, vegetables, tofu, mushrooms, noodles and greens.  All were gluten free.  IMG_1790
It is a very social method of eating, with people putting their food choices into the heated broth, and retrieving the morsels after they are cooked.  Utensils included small strainers and chopsticks, with forks provided for those of us less practiced with chopsticks.  The cooking pots are divided, so that the diners have the choice of using a more highly-seasoned broth on one side, or a milder flavor on the other.  Dipping sauce was distributed to each person’s bowl.
Our hostess took much of the responsibility for cooking the selected food for my husband and myself, as well as her children.
Reflecting on the experience, I am struck by how our neighbors have so successfully adopted many American traditions, and yet retained traditional Chinese customs and meals.  They have done it all in a rather seamless integration.

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