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Thanksgiving, Chinese-American style 中式感恩節

Thanksgiving, Chinese-American styleWe do not have many relatives in the San Francisco bay area.  So we either spend time with my family in Los Angles, or join other friends’ Thanksgiving celebrations in the area.  Unintentionally, we’ve created our own Chinese-American Thanksgiving tradition.

First, I am not crazy about participating in the mass exodus of travelers several days before Thanksgiving day.  Instead, my husband and I usually take our chances by taking a flight on Thanksgiving morning.  There is typically no line at the airport.  Sometimes we drive to Los Angeles early on Thanksgiving morning.  The traffic on Highway I-5 is usually not too heavy on Thanksgiving morning. The only downside is that our favorite In-&-Out burger highway stopover is closed on Thanksgiving.  Hence, the alternative is to have a quick meal at McDonalds.  The upside is that it is a 6-hour drive instead of 8 to 10 hours if we fight with the lemmings on Tuesday or Wednesday before Thanksgiving.  Instead of returning to the bay area on Sunday, we return on Monday or Tuesday for a less congested journey.

Many first generation Asian families get together for a joint Thanksgiving pot luck event since this is a new tradition for everyone.  It gives us a chance to expand our social network, get to know others better and share our blessings together.  As families start arriving, small groups are formed either based on age or interests.  The conversation topics range from the hottest electronic games, talking shop, discussing new restaurants around town, and my favorite – cooking!

Here is our favorite Thanksgiving menu influenced by our Cantonese background.


Egg rolls, prawn crackers, tofu squares in soya sauce

Main course

Roast ham, roast chicken stuffed with glutinous (sticky) rice and Chinese sausage, Hakka pork belly steamed with taro, fried rice vermicelli with Napa cabbage


Red bean soup, almond jelly with lychee fruit, fresh fruits like Persimmons

感恩節快樂! Happy Thanksgiving!