Around the holidays, whether it’s Christmas or New Years, we all like to celebrate with “Big” dishes. You know, a huge roast turkey, ham, duck, or perhaps an enormous spread of fondue to ring in the new year. If you prefer to go out, here are four great “Big” dishes you can seek out in Richmond to celebrate the season (and impress your friends on Instagram).

1. 8 Treasure Duck

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www.hungryexcavator.com

How can you go wrong when there’s “treasure” in the title? This elaborate dish is named for the stuffing, filled with goodies such as gingko nuts, dried scallops, Chinese ham, and more. The bird is marinated, fried, stuffed, braised (I can’t imagine trying to make this at home), then served up to large tables of appreciative eaters. Try it at Suhang Restaurant, Golden Paramount, or Gingeri Chinese Cuisine. Remember to call at least a day ahead to order!

2. Beggar’s Chicken

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This is another stuffed bird show-stopper. At Suhang Restaurant, instead of duck, a chicken is filled with a glutinous rice-based stuffing that also contains treats like salted egg yolks. Instead of being fried and braised, however, it’s baked in a massive casing of bread dough. When it’s ready, the massive dish is paraded out to the table, the bread dough is dramatically cracked open, and the (now) insanely flavourful chicken inside is revealed. This is another good one for a group, and like the 8 Treasure Duck, must be ordered ahead of time.

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3. Steamed Eggs with BC Dungeness Crab and Green Onions

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www.chinesemasterchefs.com

For a renowned chef’s twist on a traditionally home-cooked dish, take your party to Jade Restaurant. There, Chef Tony Luk has created a simple but impressive creation that utilizes local seafood, combining “the sweetness of B.C. Dungeness crabs with the smoothness of steamed eggs.” They’re also known for their Smoked Grandpa Chicken – appealing in both flavour and name!

4. Duojiaozhengyu Fish

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In addition to being a show-stopping dish, this specialty of Bushuair Restaurant may also make you cry. It’s a huge steamed fish that’s COVERED in chilies, just right if you’ve got friends or family who adore spicy food. It’ll be a fiery, bright-red beacon at the centre of your table, and I assure you no one will be asking for hot sauce to eat it with.

5. Dongpo-Style Braised Pork

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Shiang Garden’s signature dish isn’t quite as large as the others, but it’s equally good – probably one of my favourite dishes in the city. It’s a massive piece of pork belly that’s be oh so slowly braised, then is brought out whole and sliced (like butter) into pieces at the table. It’s served with bok choy and steamed buns, both of which perfectly complement the uber-rich, saucy, savoury pork. It’s so good, you should view the new year as a chance to celebrate this dish, rather than the other way around!

6. Traditional Beijing Hot Pot

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Finally, if you’re looking for something a little different for your group, I’d recommend the hot pot at Chuan BBQ. The actual hot pot looks a lot different from what you’ll find at other hot pot restaurants around town. At Chuan, it’s cone-shaped and heated with charcoal, a traditional (but now rare) method that originated in Beijing, and instead of broth, the meat is cooked in water flavoured with green onion and ginger.

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In addition to cooking slices of meat, vermicelli, and Napa cabbage in your hot pot, you can also order a huge array of sauces and small dishes to round out the meal – I recommend the deep-fried stinky tofu (don’t be afraid!), the cumin-crusted BBQ’d lamb loin, and the grilled enoki mushrooms with smoky chili paste.

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The food at Chuan is phenomenal, and since their style of hot pot is hard to find, it provides a unique dining experience for even the most experienced of hot-potters.

Happy “Big Dish” eating!