Writen by Kimlai
Creator of EatinAsian.com
Have you ever wondered why orange slices are given out after dinner at Asian restaurants instead of a dessert menu or if there is a dessert menu it’s very very limited? What about when you go to an Asian friends house for dinner and their mom brings out a plate of sliced oranges after the meal instead of a slice of warm apple pie with two scoops of french vanilla ice cream.
Oranges are very symbolic in the Asian culture. When I was little we always had fruit available. There wasn’t an emphasis placed on dessert in my family. We ate dinner together every night and the importance was on the nourishment of the food, which was soups, vegetables and proteins. Even though I have an insane probably unhealthy love interest with cake/breads, I personally prefer fruit after dinner and regardless of symbolism I feel like orange slices are super refreshing and light enough to compliment a delicious Asian meal. Plus an orange slice or two doesn’t leave you feeling lethargic, wishing you wore stretch pants, regretting the entire meal and wanting to take a quick nap because some how that would make everything better.
There is a ton of symbolism in Asian culture and fruit being no exception. Oranges & tangerines are often given out during celebrations, Chinese New Years and as offerings at Buddhist temples, homes and also as offerings for various shrines. The color orange is similar to the color gold, which represents wealth and prosperity. There are even miniature orange trees that aren’t edible that are sold out of China to be displayed at homes during the New Year Celebrations for good luck, however I have very fond memories of our “fake” orange trees in our living room when I was little.
I was also always taught to never go to someone’s house empty handed. We gave out a lot of fresh fruit baskets 🙂 So if I show up at your dinner party with a basket of oranges, just remember that I’m walking in with luck and prosperity.