Let’s face it: everyone has been making a lot of changes to their lives this year. Because of Covid-19, Christmas is still going to be different for a lot of us too. But who says those changes can’t be fun? 

If you want to spice up your holiday routine and eat some delicious non-traditional food, keep reading. This is Christmas like you’ve never seen it before!

  1. 1 Mochi Rice Stuffing

    We see it on the table every year at Christmas. A delicious mix of bread, sausage and onion that might be very tasty but certainly isn’t exciting.

    A recipe that’s gotten very popular is Mochi Rice Stuffing. This Chinese take on a Western classic involves rice instead of breadcrumbs and char siu instead of sausage. 

    Stuffed—ha!—full of delicious flavors like ginger, bacon, oyster sauce and chestnuts, this is a dish that will blow regular old stuffing out of the water. If you’re a big fan of traditional Chinese flavors, you should definitely try this recipe out this Christmas.

  2. 2 Gifting Apples

    Have you ever heard that in China, people gift each other apples for Christmas? It’s a holiday tradition especially popular with Chinese youth. These special Christmas apples come in beautiful, colorful boxes and often have messages printed or carved into their skin.

    So why apples? Well, the Chinese phrase for “Christmas Eve” is 平安夜 (Píng'ān yè) or “the evening of peace." The word for “apple” in Chinese is 苹果 (Píng guǒ). 

    So these Christmas apples are actually called 平安果 (Píng'ān guǒ) or “peace apples." It’s one of many homonyms that can be found in the Chinese language.

    Give it a try: if you’re spending Christmas with someone this year, gift them an apple and explain the tradition. You’ll look like a Mandarin language expert!

  3. 3 Scallion Biscuits with Char Siu Gravy

    Tired of turkey, but can’t get enough of biscuits? Love congyoubing (scallion pancakes) but craving something fluffier? This recipe is the perfect middle ground. 

    This is a Chinese take on a classic breakfast dish that’s perfect for a relaxed Christmas brunch. On Christmas day, I’m always in charge of the biscuits in my household, and you can be sure that this year, scallion biscuits and char siu gravy are on the menu!

    This recipe is perfect if you’re already planning on making the mochi rice stuffing. It needs char siu drippings, which you’ll have plenty of. Why choose rice or biscuits when you can have both?

  4. 4 Chinese Christmas Lanterns

    Although Christmas is not affiliated with religion in China, it has a lot of similar traditions to the ones we have in the West. 

    While we decorate our Christmas trees with ornaments and lights, in China they decorate Christmas trees with paper lanterns. Unlike the living trees that shed pine needles all over our floors, theirs are often made out of plastic. These trees are called "trees of light."

    Why don’t you make some room on your tree for a lantern or two this year? You can find a free template here that you can print out to make your own!

  5. 5 Honey-Glazed Cantonese Turkey

    If your family is like mine, you have the same rotating cast of meats at Thanksgiving and Christmas. Turkey and ham are the ones I’ve grown up on. 

    If there’s any year to be trying something new, it’s 2021. So why not give this honey-glazed Cantonese turkey recipe a try?

    This recipe takes everything we know and love about the classic Christmas turkey and makes it even better. Basted in a delicious mix of Chinese spices and glazed with honey and vinegar, it’ll make the perfect accompaniment to your mochi rice stuffing and scallion biscuits.

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