Tag Archives: Young Family Life

Shanghai Youngs’ Family Time: Fun Things I Do with Family Members

29 Mar

The word “family” means a lot to Chinese people. This is the same with people from Shanghai.

People in the same age with our parents usually have 4 or 5 brothers or sisters, some have even more. After that generation, due to the one-child policy which has been promoted several decades, we younger generations don’t have brothers or sisters any more. So we keep close relationship with our cousins. So, the word “family” usually means the very big family for most of the people in Shanghai.

When there is a holiday to celebrate, family members gather and have all kinds of fun. Here I am going to present you some most common activities and games that we play with family members.


My grandparents have 8 children, and my mother is their 7th one. As a big family, we usually make food ourselves at home. And it has a lot fun making food together.

My grandma makes delicious salted chicken, which is called by us as “miracle chicken.” The steps for this Picture of salted chickencuisine is really simple: first boiled the whole chicken with some chopped gingers, and then evenly grease the secret sauce with fingers onto and into the chicken when it is hot. Let it stand for couple minutes, and that’s it! Why it is so delicious? You first need a very good cage-free chicken–not very old one, best if it’s 3 months old. Then, you need to take good command of the boiling time of the chicken–in order to make the meat tender. Last but not least, you need to use your finger to grease the sauce–because the warmth of your finger and palm can let all the flavor go into the meat immediately. Of course my grandma got some secret tips for this dish, and, I won’t tell ya! HAHA~

Now that my grandma is 88 years old so she does not cook anymore. She passed her secret recipe to my uncles, aunties, and my mom. Almost every time we have a family reunion, we have this dish on table.

<picture from wordomouth>


I always think the creator of this game is a genius.

4 people sit around a square table to start the game. Mahjong is played with a set of 136 tiles based on Chinese characters and symbols, although some regional variations use a different number of tiles. In most variations, each player begins by receiving thirteen tiles. In turn players draw and discard tiles until they complete a legal hand using the fourteenth drawn tile to form four groupsĀ and a pair. There are fairly standard rules about how a piece is drawn, stolen from another player, the use of basic andĀ honors, the kinds of melds, and the order of dealing and play.

Different regions have slightly different rules on the details. Shanghai Mahjong is relatively strict with the rules–you may have less chance to win in Shanghai Mahjong than in Sichuan Mahjong. But I think that’s the fun point–the more difficult to win, the more interesting the game is.

We win or lose real money in this game! But it’s not a big deal. We get more intimate relationship with our family members.

<Picture shows me and my cousins playing Majong together.>


It’s our traditional virtue to respect, love, and support our senior grandparents and parents. To make them happy, we need to spend more time with them to release their loneliness. My grandpa has passed away for nearly 8 years. So my uncles, aunties, cousins, my mom and I take turns to take care of my grandma at the weekends. We chat together about all kinds of funny stuffs. We sometimes play Majong with her because she loves this game. Or sometimes we just watch TV series together with her. She is so happy to have all her children and grandchildren around.

<Picture is my mom, my grandma and I>

I found that here in the U.S., people don’t really hang over with their cousins or uncles or aunties as much as we do in Shanghai. American people usually have their family reunion only on Thanksgiving and Christmas. But we Shanghai people have our family members together once several weeks on average. Maybe not that “great reunion”, but we would find some “excuse” to get together and have fun.