How to Host Friends and Family for a Delicious, Home-Cooked National Day Meal

Hosting friends and family for a meal can be a lovely occasion to reconnect and spend a cosy evening with your loved ones, especially for a special occasion like National Day. But it can also be a source of stress.

How do you ensure your guests have a good time and the food turns out fabulous? Here are our top hosting tips for a successful evening with friends and family.

Accommodate dietary requirements

senior asian couple cooking together, chopping vegetables

First and foremost, before you even start planning the menu, ask your guests about their dietary preferences. Make sure you do this without giving them the feeling that it’s an inconvenience if they have any special requirements!

We don’t recommend cooking separate portions for guests with different requirements, as this can become awkward over dinner and make them feel excluded from the main meal.

Instead, prepare dishes that everyone can share. Gluten-free, dairy-free and other alternatives can be easily found online and are generally just as tasty, so no one will be missing out on a delicious meal.

Plus, you won’t need to cook the same thing twice, so you can focus on hosting and ensuring everyone has a great time.

Welcome your guests and give them a tour

young asian women cooking together

Once your friends and family arrive, give them a quick tour of the house so they feel comfortable moving around. To be an excellent host, make sure to show them where the bathroom is and let them know where drinks, napkins and other essentials can be found.

It may seem obvious to you that people will just ask you if they need anything, but they may be shy and avoid bothering you, so giving them a tour and all of the information at the start makes things much easier for everyone.

Read more: Bold and beautiful tableware picks for a gorgeous dinner spread

Cook something you’ve mastered

grandmother cooking meal in the kitchen with her family

As for ensuring the food turns out fantastic, don’t experiment with recipes you’ve never tried on the day of the dinner, but instead stick to meals you’re confident preparing so that results are guaranteed.

If you’re inviting adventurous foodies, you can go all out and serve international cuisines.

If you’ve got fussy eaters in the mix, go for something simple that everyone knows and loves.

Get everyone involved and cook together

muslim mother and young daughter baking cooking together

Instead of cooking in advance and then inviting everyone over to eat, why not host your friends and loved ones for a communal cooking session?

It can be a fantastic way to connect with your guests and allows everyone to chip in. To ensure it goes smoothly, put on some upbeat music and try to divide tasks in a way that makes things efficient and doesn’t have everyone standing in each other’s way.

Kids may be curious and ask to get involved too—give them small, easy tasks that are safe and don’t require you to keep too much of an eye on them.

We recommend agreeing on a recipe before everyone arrives so there is no conflict during the cooking. Some people have strong opinions so it’s best to settle the details in advance.

Stock up on everything you need in advance

celebrating hari raya dinner with family and friends

Our top hosting tip to guarantee a successful evening and reduce stress for yourself? Make sure you’ve stocked up on all the ingredients and have enough gas to last you through all of your cooking.

We’ve had our gas run out on us more than once and it’s always stressful to scramble for more at the last minute!

This post was adapted from an article originally published in the August 2023 issue of SquareRooms.