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Themed-dinner parties are a favourite choice for gatherings because it adds an element of fun to your get-togethers. Exotic themes are particularly favourable in many cultures because it allows you and your diners to have a ‘mini-holiday’ and sample foreign delicacies without the expense of flights. For those who have been to Asia before, or have always wanted to go, we would recommend an oriental-themed dinner party as a must for those who like to make an impact with their hosting.
To start your oriental-themed dinner party, select decorations and accessories that follow the staple Asian colours: red, black, gold and white. Everything must incorporate these colours, from the table cloths to the hanging lanterns. However, it is important to remember that Asian décor is sleek and minimalist, so don’t over-do it on the decorations, else you run the risk of your party looking cheap. When it comes to your dinner table, there should be one simple centrepiece that acts as the focal point. We would recommend something that epitomises Asian culture, such as a Buddhist statue or a potted orchid- a symbolism of friendship in Asia.
Be realistic with a number of people that will fit in your home, and do not stretch the guest list out to an unreasonable amount. Firstly, this will cause complications of where your guests will be able to sit, defeating the objective of a dinner party as many guests may get segregated from the main group. Secondly, an influx in guests will require you to cook a lot of food and may result in you spending more time in the kitchen with last-minute preparations, rather than out mingling with your guests.
At each table setting, provide your guest with a gift or goody box of Asian products, such as decorated fans, chopsticks and fortune cookies to create an instant ambience, but again, do not go overboard. Also, remember that ambience is not always about visual triggers, so try adding some atmosphere by lighting the other senses. We recommend burning some incense sticks before your guests arrive. When this is coupled with the smell of your cooking, your guests will truly feel like they have been transported to Asia!
As we recently reported in our blog about what Western cultures could learn from Asian dining habits, Asian cultures will share their dishes rather than providing each diner with an individual dish. Therefore, make sure there is plenty of room on the dinner table to put down a number of sharing platters and dishes for everyone to sample and enjoy.
This is also an important point to keep in mind when you are cooking your food. Make sure that your dishes cater to everyone’s tastes, and before preparing your food and ingredients be sure to check that there are no dietary restrictions for any of your guests- such as allergies or dislikes- to avoid any disappointment. We would recommend organising RSVP’s to be collected, either electronically or via post, two weeks before your event to ensure you have enough time to incorporate these considerations into your shopping list, particularly because you may have to order some specialist ingredients in. This will also allow you to figure out how much food you will need prepare.
Lastly, make sure there are plenty of drink options for your visitors, or even implement a bring your own drink clause of the invitation to ensure all your guests are well catered for.
If you need any further advice regarding oriental-themed dinner parties or want our help in regard to what ingredients you will need, get in touch with us today… we would be happy to help! Additionally, be sure to share your dinner party snaps with us via our social media channels, we’d love to see what oriental dishes you rustle up!
Image credit: Julie, available under Creative Commons.
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