Taiwanese Friendsgiving 感友節

As an American, I appreciate the tradition of Thanksgiving and how wholesome it is to have an entire holiday for celebrating gratitude and community. As a Taiwanese-American, I am rather disappointed by the typical culinary fares of the occasion.

This year for Friendsgiving I decided to embrace my Taiwanese roots and swap out the menu for one a little more appetising for someone raised on cuisine from the island nation. Originally I aimed to have 1-to-1 subs for classic Thanksgiving dishes, and there are some of those on the final menu, though in the end I made a lot of things that didn’t exactly fit the theme but that I wanted to cook anyways. In case it inspires anyone else, here’s what I ended up preparing!

The dinner table loaded up with home-cooked Taiwanese dishes for Friendsgiving, and a couple takeout and alcohol contributions from friends.
Sadly amidst re-warming all the dishes, final plating, serving, and corralling guests to sit down, it was too hectic to snap any better photos of the Friendsgiving spread.


Wood ear mushroom salad 涼拌木耳
A chilled salad of crunchy wood ear mushrooms, garnished with cilantro
Contains: sesame, soy

Flies’ head 蒼蠅頭
A spicy, salty, sweet dish of glazed garlic chives studded with fermented black beans (the “flies”), five-spice dry tofu, and bright red bird’s-eye chiles
Contains: sesame, soy, (trace amounts of) shrimp, fish

Braised Napa cabbage 白菜滷
A briny aromatic braise of Napa cabbage with mushroom, carrot, and flavours of dried shrimp and anchovy
Contains: (trace amounts of) chicken, shrimp, fish

Dry fried string beans 乾扁四季豆
Blistered spears of string beans with numbing peppercorns and dried chilli
Contains: pork, soy
[This was the sub for Thanksgiving green beans]

Turkey rice 雞肉飯
Shredded, poached turkey in a warm sauce over white rice, served with a sprinkle of fried shallots and a slice of Japanese pickled daikon
Contains: turkey, soy, shallot
[This was the sub for Thanksgiving turkey]

Roast pork tenderloin 炒燒肉
A sweet, sticky roast of tenderloin
Contains: pork, soy, (trace amounts of) chicken
[This was the sub for Thanksgiving ham]

Daikon cake 蘿蔔糕
Steamed rice cakes with grated daikon and dots of ground pork, dried shrimp, and shiitake mushrooms
Contains: pork, shrimp
[This was the sub for mashed potatoes]

Oil rice 油飯
Contrary to its name, not oily; a celebratory dish of sticky rice with slivers of pork tenderloin, shiitake mushroom, carrot, bamboo, and dried shrimp
Contains: pork, shrimp, soy, shallot
[This was the sub for stuffing]

Stir-fried rice vermicelli 炒米粉
A savoury stir fry of thin rice noodles packed with chicken, Chinese cabbage, and carrot
Contains: chicken, shrimp, sesame, soy

Sweet chilli sauce 甜辣醬
A tangy, slightly spicy bright red sauce that pairs with almost anything; try with the turkey, daikon cake, oil rice, or rice vermicelli
Contains: sesame, shallot
[This was the sub for cranberry sauce]

Strawberry margarita aiyu 愛玉 jelly
A tequila-infused twist on a beloved Taiwanese dessert with fresh strawberry purée and lime juice

Cut fruit 熱帶水果
Fresh pineapple, sweet yellow dragonfruit

Taro mille crepe cake 芋頭千層蛋糕
From the frozen selection of Weee!, sorry this is not a dessert household

Nearly all recipes were from the Taiwanese American Cookbook by Win Son or Made in Taiwan by Clarissa Wei. Highly recommend both.

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