Of course the main reason for our holiday was that OH's brother was getting married. Chinese weddings can last all day with various events so it was wonderful to be part of something completely different from a Scottish wedding. Although there were some elements that were similar.
There was a family and friends dinner on the Saturday evening (I guess a bit like a rehearsal dinner that Americans have) This was in a local restaurant used by the locals so completely authentic cuisine, not modified for tourists. Sadly I didn't get any decent pics but we had the mostly amazing tofu dish, chicken dipped in a potato flour batter and prawns to die for.
On the Sunday morning we arrived at the bride's parents flat where the groomsmen and groom are then locked out and have to perform tasks to win the bride. There was lovely lady (an aunt I think?) who explained to me that this is a local custom. Tasks included drinking beer spiked with chillies, a wasabi sandwich, picking up beans with chopsticks to make a heart shape and a few other challenges.
The chopstick challenge
The groom then has to pay the chief bridesmaid a dowry to be given to the parents. Negotiations were tough! She'd get a job with the UN easy peasy!!! When the groom gains entry he has to make his vows and convince his bride to come out of her room.
Once she has agreed to be his bride the most important part of the day takes place. They acknowledge the family shrine and then begin the tea ceremony. Traditional ceremonies can last hours.
The bride and groom present tea to their family thanking them for bringing them up and supporting them through their lives. As this was all in Chinese I wasn't sure what was said. This is OH with his tea. His brother thanked him for putting up with him as kids!!
The bridesmaids and groomsmen then get a gift from the couple and all the children get an envelope with money.
Once the tea ceremony was over it was time for lunch! There was a fabulous professional caterers buffet laid out with lots of food. Despite my dietary restrictions I still managed to stuff my face!
Luckily there were rice noodles as well as rice
After lunch everyone goes home. Or in our case, back to the hotel for a swim and a snooze. Then there was formal dinner in the evening at a very beautiful restaurant on the quayside.
This is me in my wedding outfit that didn't cost me a penny. The Teenager is wearing a suit jacket and shirt he got last year for his school dance and is actually wearing his school trousers! The only item bought for either of us was a pair of shoes for him as he's still growing!
Being vegetarian The Teenager is used to having limited choice but they brought him some lovely vegetable fried rice with steamed veggies on the side.
This photo really doesn't do justice to the beautiful restaurant. If anyone wants to check it out it's the Peony Jade in Clarke Quay, Singapore.
The happy couple pouring champagne in a tier of glasses which was then shared with family and a toast is made to the couple.
This is the banquet menu. It was called Elements of Infinity Banquet.
Peony Jade's Signature Crispy Suckling Pig Platter
Chilled Scallops Salad Mayo with Tropical Fresh Fruits
Roasted Crackling Skin Suckling Piglet Sliced
Deep Fried Dragon Beard Roll
Marinated Sea Blubber
'Cheng Du' Spicy Cold Chicken
Peony Jade's Signature Sautéed Fresh Prawns with Salted Creamy Yolk
Braised Golden Pumpkin Broth with Seafood and Bird's Nest
Steamed 'Soon Hock' Fish Honk Kong Style with Premium Light Soy Sauce
Fillet of Tea Smoked Duck served with Mini Flower Buns
Stewed Fragrant Rice with Premier Shredded Conpoy, Dried Octopus and Diced Chicken in Lotus Leaf
Chilled Fresh Mango Puree with Pomelo Sacs and Sago Pearls
Excuse the level of detail but I loved this menu and have been finding out more about some of the unfamiliar things since we got back. Although I didn't eat everything on the menu it has reignited my interest in Asian cooking and I'll be researching how to re create some the above dishes. I'll pass on the sea blubber though (it's jellyfish!!!)
I really enjoyed the day. This was why we took our kids out of school for a week (very naughty I know especially as I'm a teacher) But what they gained in experience couldn't be replicated. Not all learning takes place in the classroom.