The Hakka, known as Kejia (客家）or “guest people” in Mandarin, are scattered across southeastern China, mostly in Guangdong and Fujian provinces. They can also be found in Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, and Taiwan.
There are an estimated 30 to 45 million Hakkan descendants worldwide. Famous Hakkans include Sun Yat-sen, the Father of Modern China; China’s late paramount leader, Deng Xiaoping; Singapore’s first prime minister, Lew Kuan Yew; the late Canto-pop star, Leslie Cheung; Canto-pop icon Leon Lai; and Chow Yun-fat, a Hong Kong actor that has starred in countless Hong Kong and several Hollywood flicks.
Northern Chinese Roots
The ancestors of the Hakka are thought to have originated in Northern China. They migrated to Southern China hundreds of years ago, maintaining their unique customs, dialect, and food preferences.
Needless to say, cooking styles might have remained the same, but ingredients depended on what was available locally.
Hakka Food emphasizes original flavours and nutritional value over presentation. Preserved meats are featured, vegetables are favoured, and those that settled along the coast took to seafood. Internal organs also feature prominently in Hakka style cooking.
Copyright: Michael Taylor
China’s Eight Great Cuisines: an Introduction
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