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Celebrating American Thanksgiving in China



Thanksgiving is by definition a North American holiday. Canadians do Thanksgiving in October, Americans in November. In China? Well, don't expect to see a lot of turkeys in the wet markets ready to buy fresh and have plucked in front of you (not necessarily a bad thing)!

But you're in China over Thanksgiving and you want to celebrate. So how do you do it?

If you're Canadian, you DIY without any help aside from perhaps your embassy/consulate and the foreign grocery stores. Sadly, America rules when it comes to Thanksgiving so our North American neighbors get ignored in China when it comes to this holiday.

Good news for Americans though. If you really need to get your turkey fix, most large international hotels put on a Thanksgiving feast, buffet style. These establishments also cook up turkeys and ham to order so if you want to celebrate at home, order a turkey in advance you can pick it up on the day to bring home and carve up for the family. (Make sure you tell them you want it cooked though. Friends suffered a frozen bird delivered at 5pm for their feast last year!)

If you are a glutton for punishment and want to do it all yourself, you can indeed. Just head to your local international grocery store (Jenny Lu's in Beijing, Cityshop in Shanghai) and stock up on all the fixings: frozen Butterball turkeys, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie makings. But you better do it fast, there tends to be a run on these items so if you're shopping on the last Thursday in November, you'll be out of luck.

If you find yourself outside of the larger cities on Thanksgiving, why not tuck into a Beijing-style roast duck? Or if that can't be found, go to a good noodle shop and stuff yourself silly. But do it with friends - it's all about being together and eating a lot, remember!

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