Top 10 Hakka Foods You Have to Try

Hakka food is the food of Hakka people, who emigrated from central China to southeastern and southern China, and some Asia countries like Thailand, Indonesia and Singapore. It contains amount of unique dishes and snacks. The following are the 10 best Hakka dishes you have to try.

1. Salt Baked Chicken

 Chinese Name: 盐焗鸡 yán jú jī
 Flavor: salty
 Cooking Method: baking
This is the signature dish in Hakka food menu. The chicken is firstly coated with salt and stuffed in green onion and ginger, then baked in a pot filled with fried salt for half an hour over low fire. The chicken is tender, succulent and salty. It is said that Hakka people preserve fresh meat by pickling it with salt, the dish was created occasionally.

Salt Baked Chicken
Salt Baked Chicken
Hakka Stuffed Tofu
Hakka Stuffed Tofu

2. Hakka Stuffed Tofu (Yong Tau Foo)

 Chinese Name: 客家酿豆腐 niàng dòu fu
 Flavor: salty
 Cooking Method: stuffing, braising
It is a classic Hakka food and may be related to dumplings in northern China, which is also stuffed. The square tofu is stuffed with mince pork, mushrooms and other vegetables then braised. More Hakka dish like stuffed bitter gourd are similar with it.  

3. Pork Belly with Preserved Mustard Greens

Pork Belly with Preserved Mustard Greens
Pork Belly with Preserved Mustard Greens

 Chinese Name: 梅菜扣肉 méi cài kòu ròu
 Flavor: salty
 Cooking Method: boiling, frying, and steaming
It is a famous Hakka dish popular throughout China. The streaky pork is first boiled, fried and then steamed with preserved vegetables. The pork is so tender that it melts in your mouth. The vegetable is chewy and salty. Chinese people like to stuff the pork into steamed buns and eat them together.

4. Yam Abacus

 Chinese Name: 算盘子 suàn pán zi
 Flavor: salty
 Cooking Method: boiling, stir-frying
This is a traditional Hakka snack and also a staple food, especially popular in Guangdong. It is made of tapioca flour and shaped like abacus beads for that abacus symbolizes beneficial business and wealth. The abacus-shaped small dough is boiled and then stored. Boiled Yam abacus can be stir-fried with minced pork boefore eating.

5. Ground Tea (Lei Cha)

 Chinese Name: 擂茶 léi chá
 Flavor: salty
 Cooking Method: brewing
Ground tea is also called pound tea or sansheng soup mainly popular in Guangdong. The main ingredients are tea leaves, peanuts, ginger, sesame, rice, green bean and so on. All of these are ground into powder and brewed into drink with green color. It is often eaten in the morning and teatime.

6. Poon Choi

 Chinese Name: 盆菜 pén cài
 Flavor: salty and fresh
 Cooking Method: steam stewing and boiling
Poon choi literally means “basin dish” for that the meat and vegetables are piled up in a basin and the meat and sea food are always on the top while vegetables like carrots on the bottom. It is said to be originated in the late Southern Song Dynasty (1127 - 1279 AD). It is often eaten in festivals and special occasion like moving to a new house.

Poon Choi
Poon Choi
Pork Stomach Stewed Chicken
Pork Stomach Stewed Chicken

7. Pork Stomach Stewed Chicken

 Chinese Name: 猪肚鸡 zhū dù jī
 Flavor: salty and fresh
 Cooking Method: simmering
It is a famous Hakka food. The pork stomach is stuffed in a whole chicken and simmered. The chicken and pork stomach absorb the flavor of each other during simmering. The chicken tastes tender and juicy and the pork stomach is chewy.

8. Stuffed Bitter Gourd

 Chinese Name: 酿苦瓜 niàng kǔ guā
 Flavor: salty and slightly sweet
 Cooking Method: stuffing, frying and braising
Stuffed Bitter Gourd is also called Niang Bitter Gourd. The stuffing is usually made of glutinous rice, mushrooms and pork. The stuffed bitter gourd is fried then braised over low heat. The bitter gourd isn’t bitter at all and even tastes slightly sweet. It is the best Hakka food for diabetics.

9. Beef Ball Soup

Beef Ball Soup
Beef Ball Soup

 Chinese Name: 牛丸汤 niú wán tāng
 Flavor: salty and fresh
 Cooking Method: pounding and boiling
Making beef ball is time and labor consuming. The fresh beef is pounded into muddy meat with a special hammer, which takes a very long time but can preserve the meat fiber and make the balls chewy and bouncy.

10. Hakka Noodles

 Chinese Name: 客家面 kè jiā miàn
 Flavor: salty and other flavor depends on personal preference
 Cooking Method: boiling and dressing
There are many kinds of noodles in Hakka cuisine, and the most famous one is Yan noodles in Meizhou, Guangdong. It is with golden color and often eaten together with pig’s kidney soup.

 Further Reading: 

Hakka Cuisine – Cooking Style of Hakka People in Asia

Hakka Museum of China

Earthen Buildings of Hakkas 

Fujian Tulou

- Last updated on Aug. 08, 2022 -
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