Food & Wine

Hakka cuisine

Updated: 24 Feb 2009
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Hakka cuisine is the cooking style of the Hakka people, who are primarily found in southeastern China (Guangdong and Fujian), but also may be found in many other parts of China, as well as in the Chinese diaspora. Hongkong, Malaysia and Singapore have numerous restaurants serving Hakka cuisine.
In a nutshell, the salty Hakka cuisine can be attributed to environmental influences.  Early hakka migrants in Taiwan worked hard and sweated a lot to open up new land for farming.  To make up for the huge loss of salt content in body, they added more salt to food.  Besides, food with high salt content preserves longer.  These qualities meet the thrifty and hardworking nature of the Hakkas.
Ngiong Tew Foo
Also named as stuffed tofu cube or Dung Gong Ngiong Tew Fu Bao, one of the more popular foods that originated from deep Hakka roots.
It consists of tofu cubes heaped with minced meat (usually pork) and herbs, then fried till golden brown, or sometimes braised. Variations include usage of various oddments including eggplants, shiitake mushrooms, and bitter melon stuffed with the same meat paste.
Modern variations that are more commonly seen sold in foodstalls are made by stuffing the tofu with solely fish paste. Usage of oddments to replace the tofu is more noticeable in this version, ranging from fried fish maw slices and okra to chili peppers.
Duck stuffed with rice 
A whole duck is de-boned while maintaining the shape of the bird, the cavities being filled with seasoned sticky rice.
Dung Gong Yam Guk Gai
Salt baked chicken - originally baked inside a heap of hot salt, but today many restaurants simply cook in brine, or cover it with a salty mixture before steaming it or baking it in an oven.

Lei cha or Pounded Tea
A consortment of tea leaves (usually green tea), peanuts, mint leaves, sesame seeds, mung beans and other herbs, which are pounded or ground into a fine powder which is mixed as a drink, or as a dietary brew to be taken with rice and other vegetarian side dishes such as greens, tofu, and pickled radish.
SOURCE: Cultural China
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