Chinese wedding banquet [General]

2009 Oct 6
Have you been to any Chinese wedding dinner? If not, this topic may be helpful to you to understand Chinese wedding feast which is considered to be as important as church ceremony. To many of the Chinese parents, most of the tradition custom can be skipped except for wedding banquet. The wedding feast is a chance for the parents to return their relative's kindness and to announce the marriage of their kids. If the wedding feast turns out to be good, then the parents will have 'face'. In the Chinese culture, it's most important to have 'face' (i.e., respected by others).

Traditionally, the groom will pay for everything. But nowadays, some young couples will offer to pay for themselves. In addition, this is the area where conflicts between families of the bride and the groom will occur. The bride's family will want to invite as many friends and families as possible while the groom's family may either have a budget concern or they do not want the bride's family to invite more friends than they do in fear of losing 'face'.

A traditional Chinese banquet will normally include somewhere around 12 courses including an roast whole suckling pig, abalone, shark fin soup and end with fried rice/noodles, dessert and Chinese sweet pastries.

During the feast, the guests are seated in round tables and sometimes seating plans are being made in order to avoid guests not knowing each other being seated at the same table. Each guest will normally bring along monetary gift (nowadays in Canada, I think the norm is to give around CAD$80-$100 per person). This should help the groom and bride to pay for the cost of the banquet.

I just went to a friend's wedding in Toronto and the wedding banquet took place at Ruby Chinese Restaurant (紅寶石) located in Scarborough. The restaurant inside looks very nice (many Swarovski chandeliers) and service was excellent.

Photo shown is the first dish - roast whole suckling pig. The meat was tender and flavorful. Oh! The skin was so crispy!!! I looked at the photo and I wanted one piece now badly....

2009 Oct 6
The second course was deep fried crab claws. This is always our favorite dish. All kids love this too! Yum Yum!!!

I only remember to take the photo after the server distributed the claws to everyone. The photo shown was the last one that was later eaten by another guest (yes, he ate the last one in addition to the one he had! I should have told him that I wanted it very badly.)

2009 Oct 6
This was A duo of prawns with vegetables. Actually, the chefs cooked the prawns using two different ways of cooking - one was stir-fried and one was deep-fried. I remember that there were way too many prawns for the guests to finish.

2009 Oct 6
The fourth dish is normally shark's fin soup. I know that I will draw comment for this dish. But this is a Chinese tradition to serve shark's fin soup for Chinese wedding. Many people are aware that sharks will become extinct. So, I never order this soup when I go out to eat. But to change this tradition, it will take many years. The one that they served, the chef also added lots of crab meat to the soup. This may mean that the chef used less shark's fin.

2009 Oct 6
The 5th dish was the Braised Chinese mushroom with vegetables in dry conpoy sauce. Again, I remember to take photo only after the server distributed the food to each guest's plate. So, I took the photo of my plate. The mushroom was big and thick. Very tasty!

2009 Oct 6
The 6th dish was Baked Lobsters in Ginger & Onion. I don't know how many lobsters were there on the plate. Likely 4 or 5.

2009 Oct 6
The 7th dish was the restaurant's roasted chicken. Excellent taste. But my stomach already reached 90% full at that point.

2009 Oct 6
The 8th dish was steamed seasonal fish with soy sauce. The server told me that that fish that was served was a big Sea Bass. I always agree that the best way to cook a good fish is to steam it.

2009 Oct 6
The 9th dish was Fried Rice.
The 10th dish was soup noodle with shrimp dumplings.
The 11th dish was red bean dessert.
The 12th dish was fancy Chinese pastries.

Fried rice and noodles are normally served at the last for those who are still hungry after all the 8 dishes. For me, after the 8th dish, my stomach was full already and had no more room left.

Many guests at this point asked the server to give them boxes to take the food home.

Anyway, what a good feast! I am still thinking of the food I ate on the weekend.

2009 Oct 6
Yum! Thanks for bringing back some wonderful memories of a friend's wedding. I can almost taste the food again.
They had the traditional feast at Lai Wah Heen at the Metropolitan Hotel in Toronto. The hardest part was only eating small portions so you could taste each dish. At midnight the pastries were laid out - we were still so stuffed that even the beautiful selection and presentation couldn't tempt us. It was one of the best food weddings we've been to.

2009 Oct 7
This photo shows the dining room where the wedding banquet took place. All round tables and it is easier for guests to converse.

It is sad that there aren't any nicely decorated Chinese restaurants in Ottawa. Toronto has many nice Chinese restaurants that are suitable for wedding.

2009 Oct 8

A wonderful foodie post! I like partaking in vicarious wedding banquets.

I went to a Chinese wedding at a hotel in Toronto several years ago. It was, like this one, fabulous. Funny story - the next day the hotel declared bankrupcy! And the bride had her wedding dress stolen (it was recovered). Fun and games, oh my.

2009 Oct 8
Ashley - Hopefully, you weren't at the Ruby Chinese Restaurant between September 12th and 30th... they have been closed down today by Toronto Public Health because of a serious outbreak of salmonella poisoning... 18 confirmed cases, 19 unconfirmed, including one death.

This is a "breaking" news story... so not much up on the web as of yet (I saw it on the CTV Toronto News) but I did find this link

Hmmm, guess in the long run decor isn't as important as safe food practices... something they evidently were lacking at.

2009 Oct 8
This is sad to hear news like this. Good thing is that my whole family didn't get sick and I haven't heard any one being sick after the wedding dinner in early October.

More details of the news can also be found at:

Also feel bad for those who have scheduled wedding dinner after Oct 7. They will have hard time to find another venue in Toronto in such a short time.

2009 Oct 9
I have a friend in Toronto who married a Chinese man, and his family insisted in having them fly to China for the wedding. She showed me photos of the whole traditional ceremony, including the trip by palanquin, and yes, the dinner, plate after plate after plate after... wow. Thank you for the more thorough descriptions!

2009 Oct 10
Ashley - Here is the latest on Ruby Chinese Restaurant, from the Toronto Star doesn't look like things are getting better for them...