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Apparently a lot of people Google what to give an Asian family- I’m guessing when you need to meet your Asian partner’s family, or when it comes to Christmas and host gifts it can be hard to give something thoughtful and useful to a different culture.

I’ve witnessed this myself with people giving my parents things that they puzzle over: I’VE even done this by giving my parents a frozen turkey which I find hilarious that my parents are still puzzling over to cook (they asked me if they should make Chinese soup with it and I was like NO).

When you google this, it comes up with all these repeated, stereotypical ideas- no, giving an Asian a bag full of pears will not make them hate you- in fact if you gave Asian parents a bag full of Korean nashi pears I’m sure they’ll be over the moon. Giving an Asian partner a pair of shoes or a watch will not offend them- literally no one is going to be upset over a new pair of sneakers or DW watch they’ve got their eye on

So here’s my version of what to give that would impress Chinese and perhaps other Asian parents and families too. Note that this is not for the Kiwi Asians. This is a list for their parents.

What Not to Give:

  • Chutney, pesto, gourmet dip and relish

Forget about a traditional Asian family, don’t even give ME chutney, pesto or relish simply because I/we don’t know how to use it. The only time I use pesto is when I make pesto pasta and I probably only make it once a year, and what exactly is chutney and relish used for? The only time I can think of is for cheese and crackers which I rarely eat.

  • Cheese

More Asians are appreciating cheese, but a lot of them are also lactose intolerant or won’t eat nice cheese fast enough before it goes off.

  • Marigold flowers and bouquets with a lot of greenery and ferns

Marigold flowers are used in Chinese funerals, and bouquets made up of leaves will have Asian parents thinking about how they could get some branches from outside and make the same thing. Flowers that are red, pink, purple or yellow would be better received.

  • Books

Unless you know for certain that they want books, coffee table books and cookbooks will most likely be regifted.

  • Licorice

Yuck! What not to give anyone, really.

Yas please:

  • Alcohol

Find out if your giftees drink, and you won’t miss the mark with a wine or a spirit with a label.

  • Fruits, nuts and vegetables

My parents will appreciate a bag full of walnuts more than a bouquet of flowers! Asians love fresh ingredients. My brother’s friend gives my family smoked fish, which my parents positively GAG over. Also, the more exotic the fruit the better- mangoes > apples. Blueberries > grapes. Cherries will also go down very well.

  • Honey

Local, organic or expensive honey.

  • Ferrero Rochers

The height of sophistication

  • Hawaiian Macadamias or Australian nougats

A must for anyone to bring back for their Asian friends or fam if they’ve recently visited Hawaii or Australia.

Hopefully this is more helpful than what I have seen through Google and next time you’re coming to visit my parents and you’ve got a tasteful pesto and chutney spread….unless you’re prepared to give my entire family and I a tutorial on how to use it, just keep it and buy a bag full of oranges please 😛


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