Throw a Chinese themed dinner party with these ideas for decoration, food, and traditions surrounding the culture. You can celebrate the Chinese New Year, or simply set a themed tablescape and order takeout. This is a fun dinner party idea for adults and supper groups to host year ’round.
Chinese New Year starts on January 22, and 2023 is the year of the Rabbit. The celebration lasts for 2 weeks and there are some fun traditions I’ll let you in on below, plus easy tips for hosting and creating a memorable Chinese themed evening.
Host a Chinese Theme Dinner Party
This time of year is filled with opportunities to host themed dinner parties and food, culture, and travel themes are always a popular choice.
Why not play host to a Chinese theme and invite a table full of friends. You can cook inspired dishes or order party food from your favorite local restaurant.
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PARTY TIP: Keep the prep work simple and order food from your favorite local restaurant. Serve food family-style in cute takeout boxes.
Chinese Party Decoration Ideas
Create a festive atmosphere with décor that honors some of the cultural traditions.
- Set the scene with black, red, and gold. Bring these colors in with table cloths, dishes, plate chargers, napkins, and flowers.
- Keep the décor simple and streamlined.
- Use orchids or small bamboo plants as your centerpiece, rather than a traditional floral arrangement. Fill in with pillar candles.
- Serve food family-style either in serving dishes, or right from the Chinese takeout cartons.
- Use good-luck coins you can fine at the party store, to tie around napkins.
- Place a painted lacquered screen or shoji screen in the corner.
- Hang paper lanterns, large and small, around the party space. Hang them over the dining table, in the corners, or over a buffet table.
Themed Table Setting
Set the table and each place setting with layers of gold chargers, black plates and bowls, red napkins, and chopsticks. Place a red envelope at each place for a guest party favor.
Roll up napkins and tie them with gold good luck coins.
Create a simple centerpiece with bamboo placemat, pillar candles, and a potted orchid. You could even buy smaller orchids and give each guest one to take home.
PARTY TIP: Certain foods have symbolic meanings in the Chinese culture.
- Longevity noodles = happiness & long life
- Dumplings & Spring Rolls = wealth
- Fish = prosperity
- Sticky rice balls = togetherness
- Tangerines & oranges = fullness & wealth
Menu & food ideas
Serve delicious food from your favorite Chinese restaurant. Serve multiple choices like three entrees, and two sides in traditional takeout boxes and platters.
If you’d rather cook your own meal, here are some recipes to add to your dinner party menu.
- Tuna wonton cup appetizers
- Chinese inspired cucumber salad
- Sweet & Sour pork
- Sesame chicken
- Orange chicken
- Tofu & broccoli stir fry
- Pork dumplings
- Fried rice
Other fun foods to include are bubble tea, mochi (found in the ice cream section), sweet rice pudding, and fortune cookies.
According to GrubHub, General Tso’s Chicken tops the chart with Americans. Also on the list are crab rangoons, eggrolls, and of course, fried rice.
The food we eat in the US is a very Americanized version of Chinese food. Some of the things they actually eat in China are baozi (steamed buns), Peking duck, scallion pancakes, char siu (barbecue pork), and BiangBiang noodles.
Chinese New Year tips
Did you know that Chinese New Year festivities last for two weeks? Creating a Chinese dinner is a fun way to entertain at home with friends.
Know the Chinese zodiac signs. 2022 is the year of the Tiger, but you can find out what each guests’ sign is by matching up the year they were born. Find the Chinese zodiac signs here.
Wear something red. In Chinese culture, red helps ward off bad luck and evil spirits.
Make a wish. Hang lanterns and make a wish in honor of the Lantern Festival, held on the last day of the 15-day celebration.
Give Red Envelopes. These traditional gifts are filled with money as a symbol of good luck, and make terrific party favors. But for a whimsical touch you can fill them with chocolate coins instead. Of course you could also tuck in a dollar bill if you like.
Fortune cookies. Although they are actually an American invention, it just wouldn’t be a Chinese dinner party without them. And of course they’re included with most Chinese takeout meals.
Are you ready to celebrate the lunar new year? Or simply host a Chinese theme dinner? Make it easy on yourself, order takeout, and follow the dinner party plan I’ve laid out for you.