Last Monday, my four roommates and I held our first ever tropical Christmas BBQ and House Decorating Bonanza! This should be a tradition everywhere. There’s nothing like fire-crisped meat and vegetables, Christmas tunes, and strands of lights.

We each prepared or brought something, and ended up with a huge feast. Beers were enjoyed, ice water was had, and over the course of two hours we laughed, talked, drank, and ate.

While food was being prepared and the BBQ was being (painfully slowly) fired up, we also got out the scotch tape and set out holiday-ifying our place! It just wasn’t the season without some crazy cheap ornaments, tinsel, and holiday lights, right?

Click on for pictures of our house, food, and the fun we had celebrating a Christmas far from our homes!
This charming little feller is our grill – 4 USD in the marketplace near our house. We’ve since discovered, however, that it is too small by far. It takes literally hours to cook for a crowd!

I started earlier in the day by picking up some chicken breasts and thighs, edam cheese slices, Christmas decorations, and sweet buns. My dish was little chicken sandwiches.

I double-marinated the chicken: first in a chili sauce/soy sauce combo (heavy on the soy), and then in a honey/chili sauce combo (1 part sauce to 2 parts honey). Slap those suckers on the grill, drip some of that golden honey marinade on top every so often, and bam.

With buttered, toasted, and parmesan cheese-sprinkled sweet corn buns and melted edam, they were pretty fantastic. Devoured before I could take pictures!

I also mistakenly picked up a couple sweeter buns – they looked the same! But these were stuffed with cream cheese. HAPPY ACCIDENT.

Aito made sashimi! This was a succulent piece of tuna he bought – look at that fatty fat fat face deliciousness. We had a small learning curve with cooking it on our grill, but it was so, so worth it. Holy lord. It was even great raw. Really excellent fish.

Marie-Astrid got stuffed zuchini and beef-stuffed tomatoes, and those were both fantastic. She also made a bunch of shrimp with a CRAZY GOOD marinade (that I am stealing): ketchup and honey! I’d never have considered it. It was genius. So good, although I’d want to pan fry or marinade for longer next time to get more of the flavor in the shrimp. As if that wasn’t enough, she marinated some bell peppers (capsicum) and they were really good on the second round of chicken sandwiches.

Marie brought us (well, them) beer, and Ouass was late enough to still bring the firewood when we realized we were going to need more. It all worked out pretty well! With no one to please but ourselves, we just enjoyed hanging out together.

We were pretty much good to go for food.

But it really wouldn’t be Christmas without a healthy dose of decoration now, would it?

While the Maries were wrestling with igniting the grill, Aito and I went to town on the kitchen. Tinsel!! Twinkley lights!! Chinese Tet decorations!! A stocking!! More shitty Vietnamese ornaments than you could shake a stick at!

It’s only one small thing like this that makes you feel like you’re living in a home instead of a gross college house. Things are always better with twinkly Christmas lights and the Peanuts Christmas album on in the background (followed by John Denver and the Muppets, obviously).

If this wasn’t enough, our maid Vang brought us a used Christmas tree to assemble! The holidays were pretty much as close to perfect as we could get. After decorations, cooking, eating, and relaxing came a pretty excellent closing moment: butter cookies with chocolate milk. Life is seriously good.

Christmas in the tropics – it’s probably good for stress levels! It was 80 degrees here today. Last night it got to 74. Life pretty much goes on and on, unless you do something with it – this was our house’s attempt to get doing.

And what a success it was! I hope my roommates next year are as gung ho for Christmas BBQ as we were this season.