Gallery: Snapshots from Taiwan: What We Ate at a Chinese Wedding Banquet

Taiwanese-style mochi
Taiwanese-style mochi
We started off with these wonderful balls of glutinous rice stuffed and coated with peanut powder. It's a staple during celebrations.
Cold Appetizer Plate
Cold Appetizer Plate
The cold appetizer plate included karasumi, cuts of raw fish, sliced meat and abalone. The Chinese word for abalone, "bao yu" is a homophone for wealth. "Bao" and "yu" have a parallel meaning to the words assurance and surplus, respectively.
Chicken Soup
Chicken Soup
Each table got their own chicken soup, with the entire bird stuffed in the pot simmered with dates and goji berries. A whole chicken represents unity and a good marriage between families.
Shark Fin Soup
Shark Fin Soup
Shark’s fin soup indicates wealth because the delicacy is very expensive. It's a display of appreciation towards the guests. This particular dish was served with butternut squash and enoki mushrooms.
Scallops and Vegetable Medley
Scallops and Vegetable Medley
Seafood is such an integral part of a Chinese feast because it's expensive. This was a jumbo scallop dish served with broccoli, onions, fish cake and peppers. The Chinese word for scallop, "gan bei" means gold and wealth.
Whole Fish
Whole Fish
A must at any Chinese feast, the whole fish means abundance. The word for fish in Chinese, "yu," sounds like the Chinese for surplus.
Bamboo and Pork Soup
Bamboo and Pork Soup
Another soup for the table, this one was a pork-based broth with fish cakes and bamboo shoots. The dish represents wealth and a new start.
Eel Sticky Rice
Eel Sticky Rice
Called "nuo mi fan" in Chinese, this sticky rice was topped with grilled, flaky fillets of eel. Sticky rice is representative of family cohesiveness. Eel equates to fertility.
Soft Shell Crab
Soft Shell Crab
Deep-fried and nicely seasoned with salt and pepper, crabs represent prosperity and social status. And yes, you can eat the whole thing.
Giant River Prawns
Giant River Prawns
It looks like a shrimp, but tastes like a lobster. These are giant river prawns that have been grilled with white pepper on the side. The meaning behind shrimp: long life.
Pork Ribs
Pork Ribs
The last course of the banquet were these glorious BBQ pork ribs seasoned with sesame. A more elaborate wedding would have featured a whole suckling pig but this worked very well. Pork apparently symbolizes virginity.
Ice Cream Cake
Ice Cream Cake
The wedding was finished off with pre-packaged boxes of a vanilla-filled ice cream cake. Simple and as with most banquets in any culture, dessert is practically mandatory. Serving dessert wishes the newlyweds a sweet life.