3 Recipes Featuring Christmas Fruits in Chinese Cuisine

by Ella

As Christmas approaches, people around the world eagerly anticipate the festivities, traditions, and culinary delights associated with this joyous holiday season. While Western countries have their own culinary customs and signature dishes for Christmas celebrations, the cultural landscape in China offers a unique blend of traditions and flavors. In this article, we delve into the fruits commonly enjoyed by Chinese people during Christmas, exploring the cultural significance, culinary traditions, and festive fusion of flavors.

Christmas in China

In recent years, Christmas has become increasingly popular in China, where it is celebrated as a cultural and commercial phenomenon rather than a religious holiday. While Christians in China observe Christmas with religious services and gatherings, the holiday has also gained widespread popularity among non-Christian communities as a time for exchanging gifts, decorating homes and public spaces, and enjoying festive meals with family and friends.


In urban centers like Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou, Christmas decorations adorn shopping malls, restaurants, and streets, creating a festive atmosphere reminiscent of Western holiday traditions. Retailers capitalize on the holiday season by offering special promotions, festive-themed merchandise, and elaborate decorations to attract shoppers and boost sales.


The Role of Fruit in Chinese Culture

Fruit holds special significance in Chinese culture, where it is often associated with auspicious meanings, symbolism, and traditional customs. In Chinese folklore and traditions, certain fruits are believed to bring good luck, prosperity, and blessings to those who consume them, particularly during important festivals and celebrations.


Oranges, tangerines, and other citrus fruits are particularly prized for their vibrant color, refreshing flavor, and auspicious symbolism. In Mandarin Chinese, the word for “orange” (橙 chéng) sounds similar to the word for “success” (成 chéng), making oranges a popular choice for gifts and offerings during festive occasions, including Chinese New Year and Christmas.


Pomelos, a large citrus fruit native to Southeast Asia, are also associated with prosperity and abundance in Chinese culture. Their round shape and sweet-tart flavor make them a favored fruit for gifting and sharing with loved ones during special occasions.

Apples are another fruit commonly enjoyed during Christmas celebrations in China, where they are often given as gifts and used in festive decorations. In Mandarin Chinese, the word for “apple” (苹果 píngguǒ) sounds similar to the word for “peace” (平安 píng’ān), making them a symbolic fruit for wishing blessings of peace and harmony.

Christmas Fruits in Chinese Cuisine

While Western Christmas traditions often include fruitcakes, mince pies, and other baked goods featuring dried fruits, nuts, and spices, Chinese Christmas celebrations incorporate a diverse array of fruits into traditional and contemporary dishes. From fresh fruit platters to fruit-infused desserts and beverages, Chinese cuisine offers a creative and flavorful approach to incorporating seasonal fruits into holiday menus.

One popular Christmas dessert in China is the “fruit salad,” a refreshing and colorful dish made with a combination of fresh fruits such as strawberries, kiwis, grapes, and pineapple, dressed with a light syrup or yogurt sauce. This vibrant and healthy dessert is enjoyed by families and friends as a festive treat during holiday gatherings and celebrations.

Another festive favorite is the “fruit cocktail,” a mixed drink or mocktail made with a blend of fruit juices, soda water, and fresh fruit garnishes. Popular variations include tropical fruit cocktails with flavors like mango, pineapple, and coconut, as well as citrus-based cocktails featuring oranges, lemons, and limes.

In addition to desserts and beverages, fruits are also incorporated into savory dishes and appetizers for Christmas feasts in China. Grilled pineapple skewers, fruit-stuffed dumplings, and citrus-glazed meats are just a few examples of how fruits are used to add flavor, texture, and visual appeal to holiday menus.

3 Recipes Featuring Christmas Fruits in Chinese Cuisine

Let’s explore some delicious recipes that showcase the vibrant flavors and festive spirit of Christmas fruits in Chinese cuisine:

1. Orange Glazed Chicken


  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 oranges, zest and juice
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ginger, grated
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Sesame seeds and green onions for garnish


In a bowl, whisk together orange zest, orange juice, soy sauce, honey, minced garlic, grated ginger, salt, and pepper to make the marinade.

Place chicken breasts in a shallowdish or resealable plastic bag, and pour marinade over them. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, or up to 4 hours.

Preheat grill or grill pan to medium-high heat. Remove chicken from marinade and discard excess marinade.

Grill chicken breasts for 6-8 minutes per side, or until cooked through and juices run clear.

Remove chicken from grill and let rest for a few minutes before slicing. Garnish with sesame seeds and chopped green onions before serving.

2. Pomelo Salad with Shrimp


  • 1 large pomelo, peeled and segmented
  • 1 pound cooked shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 cucumber, julienned
  • 1 carrot, julienned
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1/4 cup roasted peanuts, chopped


  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon chili flakes (optional)


In a large bowl, combine pomelo segments, cooked shrimp, julienned cucumber, julienned carrot, chopped cilantro, and chopped peanuts.
In a separate small bowl, whisk together fish sauce, lime juice, honey, sesame oil, and chili flakes (if using) to make the dressing.
Pour dressing over salad ingredients and toss gently to combine.
Serve pomelo salad with shrimp immediately, garnished with additional cilantro and peanuts if desired.

3. Apple Crisp with Cinnamon


  • 4 apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, cold and cubed


Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C). Grease a baking dish with butter or cooking spray.

In a large bowl, toss sliced apples with lemon juice, granulated sugar, and ground cinnamon until evenly coated. Transfer mixture to prepared baking dish.

In a separate bowl, combine all-purpose flour, rolled oats, brown sugar, and cubed butter. Use a pastry cutter or your fingers to mix until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

Sprinkle oat mixture evenly over apple mixture in baking dish.

Bake apple crisp in preheated oven for 30-35 minutes, or until topping is golden brown and apples are tender.

Remove apple crisp from oven and let cool slightly before serving. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream if desired.

See Also: 15 Best New Year’s Eve Appetizers Recipes


In Chinese culture, the celebration of Christmas offers a unique opportunity to embrace festive traditions, exchange gifts, and enjoy delicious foods with family and friends. While the culinary customs may differ from those in Western countries, the spirit of Christmas is alive and well in China, where people come together to share joy, warmth, and goodwill during this special time of year. By incorporating seasonal fruits like oranges, pomelos, and apples into traditional and contemporary dishes, Chinese Christmas celebrations are a vibrant fusion of flavors, traditions, and cultural heritage. Whether enjoyed as a refreshing snack, a flavorful dessert, or a festive ingredient in savory dishes, Christmas fruits add a touch of sweetness and symbolism to the holiday season in China.



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