BRAINSTORM: Menu For My Next Chinese New Year Dinner Party

I’m hosting a dinner party in a few weeks and currently trying to decide what to serve. Based on how this event went three years ago, I will need copious amounts of food, most of which to be prepared ahead of time, and a main course that can assembled individually to taste.

I think I will start with dumplings and rolls and then lay out a spread based around noodles, so each person can assemble a bowl of noodles and sauce or make a bowl of noodle soup, pho-style, with a huge assortment of fixin's from which to choose. Dessert needs to be simple because I want to be completely out of the kitchen before the apps have been devoured.

Here are my thoughts for the menu so far. Any suggestions?

First Course: Dim Sum Starters
Shrimp and pork dumplings
Crab Mangoon
Veggie spring rolls
Vietnamese spring rolls
Steamed buns filled with something (BBQ duck maybe?)

Second Course: Noodle/Soup Bar
Noodles- glass noodles (mung or sweet potato), rice noodles, egg noodles
Broth- beef, chicken, fish, pork, veggie
Veggies- snap peas, cucumber, carrot, broccoli, pumpkin, green beans,
Seasoning- Sriracha, soy, hoisin, chili paste, vinegar, mirin, sesame oil
Sauces- peanut sauce
Toppings- sesame seeds, scallion,
Meat- chicken, pork, beef, crab, fish shrimp, duck, tofu

Oranges and pomegranates
Cannoli made with wontons filled with fruit, nuts, something creamy
Steamed buns filled with something (lotus nut paste maybe?)

I’ll be picking a few drink recipes to go with the menu, but like the “Flaming Mao” and “Cultural Rev-O- Licious” of ’05, I would like to throw together something unique and give it a fun, topical title.

I’ve been playing with recipes for the MAOjito, MAOgarita, CosMAOpolitan, TiananMINT [ ] Julep, Beijing (variation on the Manhattan) and the Acupuncture Needle. I'm thinking of dropping a shot of plum wine into a beer and calling it a Belgrade Embassy Bomb.

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