Chinese Christmas Food

Whether you’ve seen ‘A Christmas Story’ or not, eating Chinese Christmas food (or New Years food!) is totally a thing for many Americans.

Maybe it’s the ease of a quick meal or the delicious flavors that really call to us during the holidays. But more and more, Americans love eating Chinese food for Christmas or Christmas eve. It’s a gift we give ourselves! (Sorry Santa Claus!)

Chinese Christmas Food Recipe Collage and Pinterest Graphic

Grant it, our version of Chinese food isn’t necessarily what you’ll actually find in most parts of Asia (unless they are catering to us tourists), but nonetheless, the love of eating Chinese food for Christmas celebrations is growing in popularity.

In fact, Mini Chef and I may start doing that ourselves because our usual family tradition is all about Christmas breakfast. So A Chinese Christmas dinner may not be the worst addition to our holiday evening around here.

I’ll say again, what we call Chinese food here in the states is often very different from what Chinese people would recognize in their own country. But that hasn’t stopped anyone from enjoying Asian flavors on Christmas in the states. It’s a growing trend!

GrubHub says Chinese food is 152% more popular on Christmas Day than it is throughout the rest of the year. In fact, three of the top five days of the year to order Chinese food are Christmas, Christmas Eve and New Year’s Day, followed by “smoking holiday” (4/20) and Labor Day.

CNN Business

So What Are Some Actual Chinese Christmas Traditions?

Much of China isn’t Christian. So they don’t celebrate Christmas the way we do. But they do get festive this time of year. Especially in the bigger cities of Beijing, Shanghai, and Hong Kong. They hang lights and have their own version of holiday cheer.

The “Peace Apple” is one where they give family and friends a decorated apple that is supposed to bring you peace for the new year when you eat it.

The small number of Christians in China call Christmas Sheng Dan Jieh, which means Holy Birth Festival. They decorate their homes with evergreens, posters, and bright paper chains. The family puts up a Christmas tree, called “tree of light,” and decorates it with beautiful lanterns, flowers, and red paper chains that symbolize happiness. They cut out red pagodas to paste on the windows, and they light their houses with paper lanterns, too.

How Stuff Works

Some also hang muslin stockings.

I think their Christmas decorations sound lovely! I’m really big on learning about other cultures. I find them fascinating! And I really believe that we will only learn to appreciate each other when we take the time to learn about each other’s histories and cultural traditions. And while you probably won’t find a Christmas village with Santa Claus’s house in most of China, there is so much beauty in how they celebrate. I believe our differences make us beautiful.

Christmas Songs In Chinese

Christmas songs sung in Chinese are such a fun experience! Definitely worth a listen!

If you’d like to read more about how the Chinese celebrate Christmas, here is a wonderful article that covers it.

“Chinese Food Open On Christmas”

Most folks aren’t visiting karaoke bars on Christmas. Instead, they will simply google the above words and place an order from the nearest open Chinese restaurants or hunt down the food courts at the malls. But along with shopping mall food comes bloat and water retention from the MSG, and an empty stomach about an hour after you’ve eaten. And we won’t even talk about all the preservatives, chemicals, and food dye.

The solution? Homemade Chinese Christmas food, of course! And the best part is, you can make it all December long if you want!

Chinese Food Recipes

I will start this off by saying that these are MY versions of Chinese food (or Asian food, in general).

I do not claim that these are authentic recipes from the heart of China made by a Chinese chef who created these recipes on the Chinese New Year and only speaks Chinese.

Nope, these are recipes I’ve created in my own kitchen to fit in with my clean eating style of cooking and eating. So please don’t be offended if something doesn’t feel “Chinese enough” for you. I promise, it’ll all be okay in the end.

Chinese New Year Food

Some folks will skip Chinese food for Christmas, and trumpet in the new year with Chinese food instead. New Year fortune cookies anyone? What better way to kick off the new year than with a quick little fortune from a cookie?

If that’s your preference, these recipes will work just as well for the New Year. So let’s dive in!

Easy Orange Chicken

This is a favorite for most folks. It’s fast to make with easy-to-find ingredients and you can serve it by itself or over rice.

Orange Chicken Recipe

A front view of this bowl of Easy Orange Chicken topped with sliced green onions for garnish.

Kung Pao Chicken

This delicious main course is filling and flavorful and perfect for eating with chopsticks!

Kung Pao Chicken Recipe

Clean Eating Kung Pao Chicken Recipe

Teriyaki Salmon

A delicious salmon recipe that’s easy to make with a quick and easy, homemade teriyaki sauce. I make mine with coconut aminos, even though my original recipe was made with Tamari or soy sauce. So if you can’t have soy, you can still enjoy this recipe!

Teriyaki Salmon Recipe

A Teriyaki Salmon Fillet with a fork holding a single bite.

Easy Teriyaki Chicken

Here again, I use my simple, homemade Teriyaki sauce to make this delicious chicken, and I show you two ways to serve it!

Teriyaki Chicken Recipe

A bowl of this Easy Teriyaki Chicken Recipe served over a bed of rice.

Sesame Chicken

This is one of my favorite Chinese food recipes. Second only to orange chicken!

Sesame Chicken Recipe

A pile of sesame chicken sits in a square, white bowl. You can see sesame seeds and delicious glaze coating the chicken in this sesame chicken recipe.

Egg Roll In A Bowl

Egg roll wrappers are not the “cleanest” ingredients you can buy. But I say, save yourself the work of all that wrapping and get your egg rolls in a bowl instead! Delicious, super easy, and made quickly in an Instant Pot!

Egg Roll In A Bowl Recipe

A white bowl filled with this Egg Roll In A Bowl Recipe sits on a slate tabletop. You can see bits of chicken, cabbage, shredded carrots and sliced green onions.

Chinese Chicken Salad

If you don’t mind putting in a little work to build an epic salad (I promise, it’s not too much), then a Chinese Chicken Salad could be just the meal you ask Santa to bring you this year!

Chinese Chicken Salad Recipe

This Chinese Chicken Salad sits surrounded by carrots, green onions, ramen noodles and a small cutting board with a fork where the chicken was sliced.

Egg Foo Young

This recipe is versatile and uses easy-to-find ingredients and definitely satisfies.

Egg Foo Young Recipe

A plate of Egg Foo Young with a side of sliced green onions. Gravy slathered over the top with fresh green onions on top.

Pork Fried Rice

Some folks don’t like pork, so feel free to sub chicken here. It’ll be just as tasty!

Pork Fried Rice Recipe

Clean Eating Pork Fried Rice Recipe

Chinese Food Side Dishes

Everyone wants good side dishes with their Chinese food, and for good reason! Here are two side dishes you may want to consider.

Sticky Rice

I will be the first to tell you that this is not “traditional” sticky rice. It’s made with brown rice, but it’s definitely sticky. So give it a try!

Sticky Rice Recipe

Sticky Brown Rice in a rice cooker, ready to be served.

Miso Soup

Okay, hear me out on this one. I know it’s Japanese, not Chinese. But if you don’t mind mixing cultures just a little, it makes a great side dish to any of the above dishes.

Miso Soup Recipe

A delicious bowl of miso soup sits next to a smaller bowl of tofu with sliced green onions on top.

This post from the Gracious Pantry® archives, originally posted on 12/13/2020.

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