we’ll discuss some of the best options for a Chinese food party tray that you may use at your next get-together.
The Chinese culinary tradition is renowned for its wide range of dishes, robust flavours, and exquisite plating. It should come as no surprise, then, that Chinese food party platters are a staple at any celebration. These tasty and simple to serve Chinese dishes will be a hit at any party, from a relaxed get-together with friends to a formal dinner party. Here, we’ll discuss some of the best options for a Chinese food party tray that you may use at your next get-together.
A Brief Introduction to Chinese Cuisine
Before diving into our list of mouth-watering dishes, let’s take a moment to appreciate the rich history and regional diversity present in Chinese cuisine. With more than 5,000 years of culinary evolution under its belt, China boasts one of the world’s oldest continuous cooking traditions. The vast country is home to eight major regional cuisines: Sichuan (Szechuan), Cantonese (Yue), Shandong (Lu), Fujian (Min), Jiangsu (Su), Zhejiang (Zhe), Hunan (Xiang) and Anhui(Hui). Each region has its own signature dishes which reflect local ingredients as well as cultural influences from neighboring countries.
The Perfect Appetizers: Dumplings & Spring Rolls
Kicking off any successful party means having delicious appetizers on hand that guests can snack on while mingling before the main meal begins. Two classic options for achieving this with a Chinese twist are dumplings 锅贴/饺子(guōtiē/jiǎozi)and spring rolls 春卷(chūnjuǎn).
- Dumplings: These versatile little parcels of dough can be filled with a wide array of ingredients, which means you can easily cater to your guests’ dietary preferences. Popular fillings include minced pork, shrimp, cabbage, and mushrooms. To make things more interesting for your party tray presentation, consider serving various types of dumplings such as steamed (zhēngjiǎo 蒸饺), pan-fried (guōtiē 锅贴) or boiled (shuǐjiǎo 水饺). Don’t forget the dipping sauces! Traditional options include soy sauce mixed with vinegar and chili oil.
- Spring Rolls: These crispy golden rolls are filled with shredded vegetables such as carrots and cabbage and often contain meat or seafood like shrimp. You can opt for either traditional Chinese spring rolls made from wheat flour wrappers or Vietnamese-style rice paper rolls if you’re looking for a gluten-free option. Serve them alongside sweet-and-sour dipping sauce to round out the flavor profile.
Satisfying Main Dishes: Noodles & Fried Rice
No feast would be complete without some savory main dishes that leave guests feeling satisfied. For your Chinese food party tray, we recommend featuring classic noodle 面(miàn) dishes alongside fried rice 炒饭(chǎofàn).
- Noodles: There is no shortage of delicious noodle options in Chinese cuisine — from simple stir-fried noodles chow mein 炒面(chǎomiàn)to the rich flavors found in Dan Dan Noodles 担担面(dāndān miàn). Other popular choices include spicy Sichuan-style noodles 辣子面(làzimiàn)and tender hand-pulled Lanzhou Beef Noodles 兰州牛肉面(lánzhōu niúròumiàn). Be sure to offer a vegetarian option such as Vegetable Lo Mein 菜捞面(cài lāomiàn)to cater to all tastes.
- Fried Rice: A crowd-pleasing favorite, fried rice is the ultimate Chinese comfort food. You can easily adapt this dish for your party tray by creating various versions featuring different ingredients. Classic options include Yangzhou Fried Rice 扬州炒饭(yángzhōu chǎofàn), which contains shrimp, ham and peas; Chicken Fried Rice 鸡肉炒饭(jīròu chǎofàn); and Vegetarian Fried Rice 素菜炒饭(sùcài chǎofàn). For a unique twist, try Pineapple Fried Rice 菠萝炒饭(bōluó chǎofàn).
Delectable Side Dishes: Bao Buns & Egg Tarts
Beyond appetizers and mains, side dishes are essential for rounding out your Chinese food party tray offering. Here are some favorites that will complement the flavors of your main dishes:
- Bao Buns: Soft steamed buns called 包子(bāozi)are an excellent choice for a side dish or snack at any gathering. These fluffy buns come filled with either savory or sweet fillings like pork belly (known as Gua Bao 刈包), BBQ pork (Char Siu Bao 叉烧包), or red bean paste (Dou Sha Bao 豆沙包). Offer several varieties to cater to different tastes while also providing a delicious finger food option.
- Egg Tarts: For something sweet and slightly unconventional, include these delectable pastries on your party tray. Originating from Portuguese pastéis de nata, Chinese-style egg tarts have become popular in Hong Kong and beyond. The creamy custard filling combined with the buttery pastry crust makes for an irresistible bite-size treat that’s perfect for satisfying any sweet-tooth cravings.
Additional Tips & Presentation Ideas
To elevate your Chinese food party tray experience, consider incorporating some of these tips:
- Chopsticks & Serving Utensils: Ensure you have plenty of chopsticks available and provide serving utensils for each dish to make sharing easier.
- Beverage Pairings: Don’t forget about drinks! Offer options like jasmine tea 茉莉花茶(mòlìhuāchá), oolong tea 乌龙茶(wūlóngchá) or even Tsingtao beer 青岛啤酒(qīngdǎo píjiǔ) as festive accompaniments.
- Create Stations: Set up various stations throughout your gathering space where guests can help themselves to dumplings, noodles or other dishes according to their preferences. This encourages mingling and creates a fun atmosphere!