Last night, my boyfriend and best friend came round for a homemade Chinese banquet that had been promised to them for quite a while. It took two days of preparation, but I think the end product was totally worth it.
Step one to the ultimate Chinese banquet: If you can’t get to China to have the real thing, nip to Liverpool instead to buy lots of ingredients. Simple. Everyone either lives near China or Liverpool right?
My parents and I ventured out for the day on Saturday to prepare for the mighty meal. Our first stop was Costco which is a place where it has so much stuff that you didn’t realise you needed until you see it (meaning, you probably didn’t need it at all). It also has a lot of free samples. Within 30 minutes I’d had a smoothie, some pineapple, some apple pie and cream, a minted lamb burger and some wine. And if that wasn’t enough food, we ended up buying ridiculously unhealthy food for lunch… There is something about Costco that made us turn into massive consumers (ha, punny).
Next up was the best place ever; the Chinese supermarket. Both the weird (at least in our western eyes) and wonderful is sold here, from yummy hello panda chocolate filled biscuits to jellyfish and pig uteri. Yum.
Our final stop was Tesco, which I wasn’t going to mention until I found these…
With which I ran through Tesco to find my dad who has coeliac’s and we got very excited (these are the joys of knowing a coeliac, you get very excited about gluten free cereal).
Step two to the ultimate Chinese banquet: Chop pak choi, shred lots of chicken, zest some lemons and make some soup.
My mum and I stood preparing the meal all day yesterday, and the evening before for my mum. It is a pretty long process but definitely worth it, although my mum’s hatred of chopping what felt like thousands of spring onions might make her disagree.
Step three to the ultimate Chinese banquet: Eat it!
The meal was plentiful. We started off with the chicken and sweet corn soup, with prawn crackers which I mainly made so was very happy when it was actually pretty nice. We also had some lovely jasmine tea.
Next up was duck and pancakes. It was very hard not to stuff ourselves with them, but we kept warning the table that there were still many courses to come, so all paced ourselves.
The next course was perhaps the one with the most mixed feelings. Siu mai, spicy dumplings and chicken’s feet. Siu mai is my favourite Chinese dish of all, but the chicken’s feet are always… Interesting. It isn’t that they taste bad, it is just that your realise that you are nibbling on a chicken’s toe and suddenly they seem less appealing…
My mum then brought out some more dim sum in the form of cha siu bao which are Cantonese style pork buns. I’m not a fan of them, and my friend was a bit indifferent to them too. My boyfriend and parents love them however, so they still disappeared.
Onto what was classed as the main course; lemon chicken, braised pork belly, egg fried rice and sugar snap peas. It got us well and truly stuffed. Then my mum brought out some kung pao prawns too… Phewf.
So that was the main meal, and after a chill in the living room for a bit we made some room for desert which included strange green tea jelly, lychees and pandan cake balls (I love unusual Chinese deserts!).
So all in all it was a fantastic evening and worth all the hard work, I hope!
What is your favourite Chinese dish? Have you ever had homemade Chinese food?
Thank you for reading!