How I Survived a Chinese Wedding Dinner

So … I had a date this weekend with a beautiful Chinese woman, well sort of a date, a friend needed an escort to a dinner. But this is not about the date or how a relationship develops, or any of that. This is about the venue she took me to, a Chinese Wedding Dinner at the V-Garden restaurant well known for its Chinese cuisine.

I had no idea what to expect.

Most in Malaysia are familiar with the Chinese Wedding Dinner but like myself this is a first and there are some rituals and dinner items one needs to be aware of. 

This is a known fact, the invitation states the dinner starts at 6pm but everyone knows they will not get served until 8pm so my friend advises we eat a little something before we go and get there late.

The dinner is a 9-course meal including Shark Fin Soup. I had to tell my friend that I don’t eat Shark Fin and explained why. She said not to worry there were plenty of other delicacies such as: Pomfret with white fungus, the ever-popular Glutinous Rice with Waxed Meat, and of course what meal wouldn’t be complete without Jelly Fish and Sea Cumber.

Bride posing with our table. Notice the wonderful Jelly Fish dish in the center.

The following embarrassing moment seemed like eternity. True to form it was 7:45pm when we walk into the restaurant with at least 300 people already seated. We were late and the first course had already been served, shark fin soup.

Being the only Caucasian we entered slowly or better put, i procrastinated in entering. This event is the most precious of celebrations, a Chinese wedding sanctum of the most important.  Accompanied with a beautiful Chinese woman in hand it’s time to queue the slow motion scene.

600 eyes turned towards us as we made our way to our table, the crowd literally hushed. Though it was only for a moment each step seemed longer than the first, avoiding stares i glanced down at the floor and noticed several chopsticks slowly tumble to the floor, ugh. 

This was good. Mixed vegetables with almonds

At the table we were wide-eyed welcomed and comments were made about our entrance. Luckily beer was free flowing. Out of pity or the fact I was consuming the wedding party’s beer stash the brides father came over and offered me some wine. I was honored, he didn’t offer wine to anyone else at the table and I thought that was a very nice gesture. That’s him with the red rose.

The bride and groom go to each table and a toast is made in their honor. Everyone participates with a yell of  “Yaaaaaaaaaaam Sing!” It’s the equivalent of good luck, cheers, the best, don’t break a leg, all rolled into one.

Dessert is served and the shark fin remains uneaten.

All in all it was a good night, the groom survived, at least i think he did. He was a little nervous it seemed to me. But everyone was very generous and friendly. However, If you ever go to one of these events learn a few words of Chinese and arrive early so you don’t make a scene. 


6 thoughts on “How I Survived a Chinese Wedding Dinner

  1. sporepigfish

    Haha, Chinese wedding can be quite huge and since the groom has to drink with every table (and any other people who want to drink with him ) . He is most likely to be drunk by the end.
    I wonder if bird nest was on your table :P

  2. Anne Taylor

    This has been a great read but also great insight and help. We have wedding dinner to attend very soon which is both exciting and a little scary as we don’t want to get it wrong :)

    1. Dave Post author

      Thanks Anne,
      I’ve been to a few now and they usually are all about the same but wonderful and a great time. I can’t wait for my next one.
      Have fun.


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