Jan 17

Hakka Tulou in Fujian Province

Written by Steve on Saturday, January 17th, 2009 at 12:32 am
Filed under:culture, education, Environment, General, technology |
Add comments


Huaiyuan Lou Tulou; built in 1907

We’ve had discussions about Hakka culture in the past with several of our commenters being of Hakka ancestry, so I wanted to show some photos taken by Ted of tulou (土楼; 土樓) in Fujian province. 60% of Hakka are from the Xingning/Meixian area of Guangdong province and over 95% of overseas Hakka were originally from that region, but tulou exist only in Fujian.


Closeup of the couplet on the door of Huaiyuan Lou.


Looking out the door of Huaiyuan Lou in Changjiao village. On a valley floor surrounded by rice fields and mountains, this site was absolutely beautiful. Ted’s group was lucky enough to eat dinner here on the evening of Mid-Autumn Festival.

Hakka people were originally from the central China plain. Their ancestors migrated southwards several times because of social unrest, upheaval, and the invasion of foreign conquerors, since the Jin Dynasty (265-420). Subsequent migrations occurred at the end of the Tang Dynasty when China fragmented, during the middle of the Song Dynasty which saw massive depopulation of the north and a flood of refugees southward, when the Jurchens captured the northern Song capital, at the fall of the Song to the Mongols in the Yuan Dynasty, and when the Ming Dynasty fell to the Manchu who formed the Qing Dynasty. Some of these migrants did not want to reveal where they were from as under Chinese Laws,  a crime of treason committed by one person is punishable by death upon the clan of that person up to nine generations. As the locals did not know where the migrants were from, they were referred to as ‘guest families’.


Looking out the Window of Hegui Lou.

Hakka people now are found in the southern Chinese provinces, chiefly in Guangdong, south-western Fujian, southern Jiangxi, southern Hunan, Guangxi, southern Guizhou, south-eastern Sichuan, and on Hainan and Taiwan islands, where there are television news broadcasts in the Hakka language.


Overlooking the Hekeng Complex.


Fuyu Lou, one of the more beautiful buildings in the Hongkeng Complex; they also offer a great lunch.

Set in the less desirable mountainous regions in Fujian, the Hakka designed these unique homes as a large fortress and apartment building in one in order to prevent attack from bandits and marauders. Structures typically had only one entrance and no windows at ground level. Each floor served a different function – the first hosts wells and livestock, the second is for food storage and the third and higher floors contain living spaces. Tulou can be found mostly in south western Fujian and southern Jiangxi provinces. tulou buildings have been inscribed in 2008 by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.


Tianluokeng cluster also referred to as four dishes and one soup. Construction of these buildings began in 1796.

The defensive design of their buildings was wholly functional and reflects their status as “guest people”. There are three major styles, circular, square, and Phoenix which is multi-layered and multi-leveled. Also, Taoism played a central part in the construction of the buildings. A priest was called to select and bless a site before construction and, according to the tour guides, buildings often had two wells, yin and yang, balanced on a central axis.


Ancestral hall of Chengqi Lou.

During the Reagan Administration, the CIA mistook tulou for missile silos and sent an undercover fact finding team to check it out under the guise of a cultural tour!


Chengqi Lou completed in 1709 is one of the largest of tulou with 288 rooms and about 300 residents.

If you decide to tour this area, Ted recommends hiring a local driver rather than an organized tour, who have told their foreign travelers they could not enter several tulou that Ted had visited. Staying in a tulou can be a lot of fun but far from luxurious, so make sure your bed has a mosquito net, and a soft mattress is a plus.


Taxiacun in Southeastern Fujian Province about 3 hours west of Xiamen; there are small earthen buildings and tulou along the stream running through town. On the hillside above the town is an ancestral temple and stone pillars erected in honor of townspeople who passed the Imperial Exam.


Families lighting Kongmingdeng in Taxiacun.

Further information on Fujian tulou can be gathered from Wiki along with a general history of the Hakka people.


Ancestral Hall of the Hegui Lou, a rectangular tulou built in 1732. The Ancestral Hall was the center of the tulou and of family life. Celebrations, meetings, weddings; any important gathering was held here.


An example of a typical Hakka family meal.


Hakka restaurant/crafts museum east of Miaoli, Taiwan. Some traditional handicrafts are displayed on the wall and balcony railing.


Hakka restaurant in Miaoli, Taiwan. This is very a very typical style for a family restaurant in this area of Taiwan; informal and relaxed.

There are currently 2 comments highlighted: 25907, 25916.

71 Responses to “Hakka Tulou in Fujian Province”

  1. Steve Says:

    A big “thank you” to Ted for providing the photos and captions. He really caught some great shots! 🙂

  2. wuming Says:

    I saw a TV show in China about these Tulous. Rather interesting sociological phenomenon. I imagine people can get quite a few Ph.D.s out of studying them.

    Talking about sociology, I have always wondered whether there are studies of genetic histories as a way to understand the migration patterns and the makeups of people within the present day China. Where were we from? How many time new groups migrated in and out? It is almost like a parallel history with fascinating stories to be discovered.

    I wonder if it is too late for me to become a genetic anthropologist.

  3. Ted Says:


    My understanding is that serious academic studies of the Fujian Tulou didn’t start until the 1950’s so I’m sure there are still plenty of opportunities 😛

    This is pretty interesting.


    @ Steve: Thanks for putting this together!

  4. Steve Says:

    @ wuming: Back when I lived in Taiwan, I was at an English bookstore and found a book with exactly that subject. I read it but didn’t buy it, so can’t reference it exactly. They had done research in China by sampling DNA of the people in various parts of the country, specifically people whose families had been in that part of China for many generations. I remember that Hakka DNA was definitely northern Chinese.

    The one piece of data that made the biggest impression was that they found the DNA of southern Chinese was very different from northern Chinese. Southern Chinese DNA was much closer to SE Asian people than northern Chinese. The northern Chinese were very similar to Mongolian, Korean, Japanese and American Indian. At the time, I remember thinking, “Well, that pretty much kills the whole “Han Chinese” theory.

  5. Jed Yoong Says:

    yes, we have famous ancestors — deng xiaopeng, that jesus guy in the taiping rebellion (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taiping_Rebellion), among others. in south east asia, according to wiki, former thai president thaksin is hakka and former pm of spore lee kuan yew is also hakka.
    kee kee. =) must be the diet….
    i read somewhere that mao also led mostly hakkas in the hunan province where he is from.
    my granddad is from meixian. our ancestral home looks nothing like that, quite basic stuff, but stripped of erm…you know, old “counter-revolutionary” items.
    nice pics.

  6. Steve Says:

    @ Jed: Don’t forget that famous Hakka general, Yue Fei of the Song dynasty!

    Think about it; in the last couple of decades we’ve had Hakka Lee Kwan Yew running Singapore, Hakka Thaksin Sinawatra running Thailand, Hakka Lee Teng-hui running Taiwan, Hakka Chen Shui-bian running Taiwan, Hakka Annette Liu as VP of Taiwan, Hakka Deng Xiaoping running China, Hakka Sun Yatsen is the father of China, the Hakka Soong sisters married Chinese leaders, Hakka Hu Yaobang as General Secretary of the CCP, Hakka Tsai Ing-wen as Chairperson of Taiwan’s DPP, Hakka Martin Lee as Chairman of Democratic Party in Hong Kong and lastly, don’t forget Hakka Yap Ah Loy as founder of Kuala Lumpur! I always kid my Hakka wife (whose ancestral home is in the same area as yours) that every troublemaker in Asia is Hakka. 😉

  7. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Wuming:
    I agree. Study of one’s genealogy would be fascinating in a country with the length of history of China.

  8. Banlas Says:

    In general, the Hakka are not much difference from the rest of the Chinese ethnic groups. But be beware of Hakka leaders. Notorious or autocratic leaders such as Lee Teng-Hui, Chen Shui-Bian, Thaksin Shinawatra, Abhisit (Current PM of Thailand), Lee Kuan Yew, Tsai Ing-wen, Martin Lee, General Ne Win (the Hakka General who overthrow the democratic government of Burma) and the Christian mystic convert Hong Xiuquan for the infamous Taiping Rebellion. All of them are having glib-tongues and being dictators in one way or another. Yap Ah Loy is nothing but the head of the gangsters who controlled opiums in Kuala Lumpur. Except for Sun Yatsen and Deng Xiaoping who are more positive as they are both relatively leaders in a short span.

  9. chinayouren Says:

    Beautiful pictures, I had no idea the hakkas built round houses like that. Thanks for posting.

  10. BMY Says:

    Hakka culture is very interesting and the photos taken by Ted are beautiful.

    My understanding of Hakka has little difference. As we know , when the ancestors of Hakka migrated from central China and settled down in the mountains between now days JiangXi province and Fujian province lets say during the fall of northern Song, there were mass migrants came from Northen/central China settle down in now days JiangSu,ZheJiang,Canton and other part of FuJian province as well. Many of ZheJiang people and the majority of none-Hakka Cantonese and no-Hakka Fujianese people’s family records also can be traced back to central China same as Hakka. But people lived in the mountains between JiangXi and Fujian were relatively isolated and formed unique sub-culture after 1000 years.

    So someone whose ancestors can be traced back to central China be called Hakka I think is incorrect. Only people who can be traced back to now we called Hakka area should be called Hakka. General YueFei should not be called Hakka. He was born in the area now called HeNan province then migrated in to the area now called ZheJiang with Song goverment and never settled in the Fujian/Canton area. DengXiaoPing be called Hakka simply because his ancestor came fronm Canton to JiangXi then SiChuan I think is not very accurate. I read a book a while back writen by a westerner about HuYaoBang and called Hu a Hakka because Hu’s ancestors came from other province . I think there is a wrong concept. Otherwise more than half of Han population should be called Hakka if we call people like YueFei ,DengXiaoPing Hakka.

    just 2 cents of my understanding of history.

  11. FOARP Says:

    I operate on the theory that anyone who says they’re a Hakka and speaks 客家话 is Hakka, and a lot of the people that have been mentioned as Hakka didn’t do either.

  12. chinayouren Says:

    @BMY – What, you mean Deng was not really a Hakka? He was called so only because his ancestors came from Canton?? I am surprised, can you point me to some document about this?

    Hakka is a defined people with a language and a culture, it doesn’t really matter so much where they came from or where they went (all the peoples came from somewhere, like the germanic tribes came into Europe from the East, etc). But that is not what made the Hakka different. What made them special is the particular circumstances of their migration, and the fact that for centuries they lived in South China and did not integrate with the locals, keeping their distinct culture.

    So Hakkas are not “southern Chinese form the North” in the same way as English are not “Germans from the East”. Hakkas are Hakkas, and when I read Deng is a Hakka, I always thought that he was really one.
    A different thing is whether he spoke or not the language. But if he was son of Hakkas and considered himself a Hakka, then we should admit he was one.

    Anyone can clarify this point about Deng?

  13. BMY Says:


    we are having the same understanding of Hakka if I read you correctly.

    That’s why I don’t agree when DengXiaoPing,YueFei, HongXiuQquan etc are classified as Hakka.

    The only reason people say YueFei was Hakka I think because He was born in HeNan and Hakka’s ancestors were from Henan while at Yue’s time Hakka people had not been formed. It makes no sense of that claim.

    About Deng, by your definitions of Hakka, He didn’t fall into any one of them. His ancestors left Caton more than 300 years ago in the early Qing. And I haven’t read good proof they were Hakka then. Even they were, , their offspring lived in JiangSu then SiChuan for 300 years. I was not aware anything of Deng had claimed himself a Hakka. Deng’s daughter’s book about his family only mentioned few generations ago they migrated to SiChuan from JiangXi and didn’t say about Hakka. There were no record of Deng’s father or grandfather claimed they were Hakka. So by language definition, by culture definition, by origin definition I don’t see how Deng can be called a Hakka.

  14. Steve Says:

    I’m certainly not an expert when it comes to Hakka but I read somewhere that there were four main migrations, the last being in the Qing dynasty when one of the rulers wanted to increase the population in parts of eastern Sichuan province so many Hakka moved to that area. The land was far more fertile than what they had in the mountains where they lived. It is my understanding that Deng’s family took part in that migration.

    I’m inclined to go with chinayouren’s definition. If the person considered themselves Hakka, they were Hakka. There was no advantage of being Hakka so no reason to claim something that wasn’t true. I’ve also noticed that if you want to know who is Hakka, just ask a Hakka person since they all seem to know in great detail. In many ways, being Hakka reaches across nationalistic boundaries and forms a pretty strong bond between people of different regions and even countries.

    Because they are ethnically Han Chinese (which I found many Chinese did not realize and thought they were a minority), their culture is one of circumstance and history rather than race. They are an interesting people for sure.

    BTW, I also read that Hakka women never bound their feet. Anyone know if that is true?

  15. Hong Konger Says:

    It is well documented that when the British took over Hong Kong, the territory was almost unpopulated. The Hakkas of Hong Kong were one of its earliest inhabitants, and many arrived several centuries before the migration into Hong Kong by Punti (Cantonese for 本地) Cantonese people. The term Hakka refers to a people and not who was the first to arrived in Hong Kong. To be technically correct, the Hakkas are the Puntis/first arrivals of Hong Kong if one were to make Punti (本地) mean aboriginal.

    I notice that a lot if not Most of the Hakkas born after the 1980s in Hong Kong can’t speak the Hakka dialect fluently if at all…!

    Late arrivers to Hong Kong, such the Shanghainese during the Chinese Civil War, are not referred to as ‘guests’ but by the city from which they took their language. The Hakkas were different as they did not reveal their origins because many of them fled during the period when under the Chinese Law, they could be sentenced to death because someone in their clan within nine generations had committed treason.

    Hakka cuisine may be described as outwardly simple but tasty. The skill in Hakka cuisine lies in the ability to cook meat thoroughly without hardening it, and to naturally bring out the umami taste of meat. Most of the Chinese restaurants in the United Kingdom are owned by Hakkas. Hakka cuisine in Hong Kong is less dominated by expensive meats, instead emphasis is placed on an abundance of vegetables. Pragmatic and simple, Hakka cuisine is garnished lightly with sparse or little flavouring. Modern Hakka cooking in Hong Kong favours offal, an example being Deep-Fried Intestines (炸大腸). Others include tofu with preservatives, along with their signature dish Salt Baked Chicken (鹽焗雞). Another specialty is the Poon Choy (盆菜) .

    I am Hakka, and all my life I ‘ve been told that Hakka girls make the best housewives. so, Whenever I meet a young single Hakka girl in China, one of my first quetions would be “Can you cook”? 9 times out of 10 they would say to me that they couldn’t! Another myth busted. Dang!

  16. TonyP4 Says:

    I saw these buildings from a TV show a while ago. I hope the government is preserving them. Hakka means guest family in Cantonese. I speculate they escaped to the south due to some kind of unrest and the South was almost undeveloped before Qing. I also speculate same reason for Chinese crossing the Arctic and migrating to American and becoming Eskimos and American Indians.

    They’re the Jews of China as Steve said. I wish some one find their origin and their interesting history. Deng and Lee (x Singapore governor) are Hakka.

    For some reason, I identify Hakka with the floating population in Hong Kong with the strong and hard-working women in the family.

    More on Hakka.


  17. TonyP4 Says:

    Hi Hongkonger, girls always say the opposite – I learned it the hard way. Haha. Deep-fried intestine, sucking pig (Cantonese) and Beijing duck are the best dishes to me. How come all the best tasting food are not good for your health? The dilemma is whether you prefer to live long but boring, or short but happy. 🙂

    Hi Steve, I believe the Hakka women did not bound their feet is due to the labor-extensive jobs they’ve during their history. They’re the blue collar folks. For some strange reason (could be from some readings), I believe Hakka women work harder than the men. Hope some one can shed some light on this one.

    Hakka women are just opposite to Shanghi women. One wants you to do the housework and the other is just the opposite.

  18. ChinkTalk Says:

    My uncle from my mother’s side looks like Martin Lee but has a smile like Deng’s. My uncle also has a pointy nose and sharp features like Lee. And I look like that also but with a darker complexion. My uncle’s daughter is married to a white guy and he considers himself to be Hakka. And he loves my maternal grandmother’s Deep Fried Intestines, scares the daylights out of his own brothers and sisters when he pops them into this mouth. Personally I don’t care much for it. He is such a romantic that he keeps the grass that is tied to a red string given to my cousin on her wedding day. This silly white guy is really crazy about her; maybe you are right HKger that Hakka women are good wives, my mother certainly demonstrates that.

  19. Steve Says:

    @ Hong Konger: You might want to meet Hakka girls in Taiwan. They all seemed to know how to cook pretty well.

    ***I added a photo of a typical Hakka homecooked meal served in Miaoli, Taiwan. This was at my brother-in-law’s house. His wife is an excellent cook! Can you recognize any of the dishes?

    @ Tony P4: Personal observation: Hakka men work hard, Hakka women work harder.

    It seems Shanghai women don’t want to do housework, they want to do business.

    “The dilemma is whether you prefer to live long but boring, or short but happy.”

    That reminded me of something Abraham Lincoln once said, “And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.” 🙂

  20. ecodelta Says:

    @Hong Konger
    “Can you cook”? 9 times out of 10 they would say to me that they couldn’t!”

    Maybe that is their way to say they are already engaged….

  21. ecodelta Says:

    Truly interesting photos. Another tourist jewel to visit in CH. Thanks for the post.

  22. Hong Konger Says:

    # 17 TonyP4, “girls always say the opposite – I learned it the hard way.”

    LOL, I guess you are right.

    # 18 ChinkTalk “maybe you are right HKger that Hakka women are good wives, my mother certainly demonstrates that.”

    I must say, I totally agree with you as far as our mothers are concerned.
    I dunno how my mother did it. She lived most of her married life in a tiny 400 sq foot unit in one of the many low rental housing estates on HK Island with 4 kids and my Dad. She used to get up at 7am, did the laundry before going to her job nearby. She would go home during lunch break to hang the laundry, and then after work, it was straight to the wet market to buy food and went home to cook dinner. After she retired, she took care of my two sisters’ children. She is now in her seventies, still strong and taking care of my teenage niece.

    # 19 Steve, “You might want to meet Hakka girls in Taiwan. They all seemed to know how to cook pretty well. ”

    Hm, It’s about time I went to Taiwan. I’ve always wanted to but never did.

  23. Steve Says:

    @ Hong Konger: Can you recognize any of the dishes in the last photo I just added to the post? I’m not sure if I made it big enough for you to see what the dishes actually are. I just remember I loved every one of them.

  24. chinayouren Says:

    Wow, I am hungry. Slightly off-topic: anybody knows if there are good Hakka restaurants in Shanghai?

  25. TonyP4 Says:

    Some one passed the following to me and I like to share it with you. Hope some one would translate the traditional Chinese to English so Steve and other ‘Chinese illiterate’ can read it. It is a test to see how Chinese you’re.


    > > Subject: 中國人不可不知道的知識

    > > 蘇繡 – 蘇州 ] 湘繡 – 湖南 ] 蜀繡 – 四川 ]
    > > 廣繡 – 廣東 ]  
    >> 檀香扇 – 江蘇 ] 火畫扇 – 廣東 ] 竹絲扇 – 四川 ]
    > > 綾絹扇 – 浙江 ]  
    【四大名花】牡丹 –
    > > 山東菏澤 ] 水仙 – 福建漳州 ] 菊花 –
    > > 浙江杭州 ] 山茶 – 雲南昆明
    > > ]【十大名茶】西湖龍井 – 浙江 , 杭州西湖區
    > > ] 碧螺春 – 江蘇 , 吳縣太湖的洞庭山碧螺峰
    > > ] 信陽毛尖 – 河南 信陽車雲山 ] 君山銀針
    > > – 湖南岳陽君山 ] 六安瓜片 –
    > > 安徽六安和金寨 兩縣的齊雲山 ] 黃山毛峰 –
    > > 安徽 , 歙縣黃山 ] 祁門紅茶 – 安徽 ,
    > > 祁門縣 ] 都勻毛尖 – 貴州都 勻縣 ] 鐵觀音
    > > – 福建 , 安溪縣 ] 武夷巖茶 – 福建 , 崇安縣 ]
    > > 【十二生肖】 中國
    > > 子鼠、丑牛、寅虎、卯兔、辰龍、巳蛇、午馬、未羊、申猴、酉雞、戌狗、亥豬
    > > 埃及
    > > 牝牛、山羊、獅子、驢、蟹、蛇犬、貓、鱷、紅鶴、猿、鷹
    > > 法國
    > > 摩羯、寶瓶、雙魚、白羊、金牛、雙子、巨蟹、獅子、室女、天秤、天蠍、人馬
    > > 印度 –
    > > 招杜羅神的鼠、毗羯羅神的牛、宮毗羅神的獅、伐折羅神的兔、迷立羅神的龍、
    > > 安底羅神的蛇、安彌羅神的馬、珊底羅神的羊、因達羅神的猴、波夷羅神的金翅鳥、
    > > 摩虎羅神的狗、和真達羅神的豬,
    > > 【年齡稱謂】 褓:未滿周歲的嬰兒
    > > 孩提:指2—3歲的兒童
    > > 垂髫:指幼年兒童(又叫”總角 )
    > > 豆蔻:指女子十三歲 及笄:指女子十五歲
    > > 加冠:指男子二十歲(又”弱冠)
    > > 而立之年:指三十歲 不惑之年:指四十歲
    > > 知命之年:指五十歲(又”知天命”、”半百)
    > > 花甲之年:指六十歲 古稀之年:指七十歲
    > > 耄耋之年:指八、九十歲 期頤之年:一百歲
    > > 【古代主要節日】 元日: 正月初一 ,
    > > 一年開始。 人日: 正月初七 , 主小孩。
    > > 上元:
    > > 正月十五,張燈為戲,又叫”燈節”
    > > 社日: 春分前後,祭祀祈禱農事。 寒食:
    > > 清明前兩日,禁火三日(吳子胥) 清明:
    > > 四月初,掃墓、祭祀。 端午:
    > > 五月初五,吃粽子,劃龍(屈原) 七夕:
    > > 七月初七,婦女乞巧(牛郎織女) 中元:
    > > 七月十五,祭祀鬼神,又叫”鬼節”
    > > 中秋: 八月十五,賞月,思鄉 重陽:
    > > 九月初九,登高,插茱萸免災 冬至:
    > > 又叫”至日”,節氣的起點。 臘日:
    > > 臘月初八,喝”臘八粥” 除夕:
    > > 一年的最後一天的晚上,初舊迎新
    > > 【婚姻周年】第1年 – 紙婚 ] 第2年 – 棉婚 ]
    > > 第3年 – 皮革婚 ] 第4年 – 水果婚 ] 第5年 –
    > > 木婚 ] 第6年 – 鐵婚 ] 第7年 – 銅婚 ]第8年
    > > – 陶婚 ] 第9年 – 柳婚 ] 第10年 ]
    > > 鋁婚、第11年§鋼 婚 ] 第12年 – 絲婚
    > > ]第13年§絲帶婚、第14年§象牙婚、第15年§水晶婚、第20年§瓷婚、第25年
    > > – 銀婚 ]第30年 – 珍珠婚 ] 第35年 – 珊瑚婚
    > > ] 第40年 – 紅寶石婚 ] 第45年 – 藍寶石 婚
    > > ]第50年 – 金婚 ] 第55年 – 綠寶石婚 ] 第60年
    > > – 鑽石婚 ] 第70年 – 白金婚
    > > ]【科舉職官】鄉試 –
    > > 錄取者稱為’舉人’
    > > 第一名稱為’解元’ ]會試 –
    > > 錄取者稱為’貢生’,第一名稱為’會元’
    > > ]
    > > 殿試?:錄取者稱為’進士’,第一名稱為’狀元
    > > ,第二名為’榜眼’ , 第三名為’探花’
    > >
    > > 【四書】《論語》、《中庸》、《大學》、《孟子》
    > > 【五經】《詩經》、《尚書》、《禮記》、《易經》、《春秋》
    > > 【八股文】破題、承題、起講、入手、起股、中股、後股、束股
    > > 【六子全書】《老子》、《莊子》、《列子》、《荀子》、《揚子法言》、《文中子中說》
    > > 【漢字六書】象形、指事、形聲、會意、轉注、假借
    > > 【書法九勢】落筆、轉筆、藏峰、藏頭、護尾、疾勢、掠筆、澀勢、橫鱗豎勒
    > >
    > > [竹林七賢】嵇康、劉伶、阮籍、山濤、阮鹹、向秀、王戎
    > > 【飲中八仙】李白、賀知章、李適之、李璡、崔宗之、蘇晉、張旭、焦遂
    > > 【蜀之八仙】容成公、李耳、董促舒、張道陵、嚴君平、李八百、范長生、爾朱先生
    > > 【揚州八怪】鄭板橋、汪士慎、李鱔、黃慎、金農、高翔、李方鷹、羅聘
    > > 【北宋四大家】黃庭堅、歐陽修、蘇軾、王安石
    > > 【唐宋古文八大家】韓愈、柳宗元、歐陽修、蘇洵、蘇軾、蘇轍、王安石、曾鞏
    > > 【十三經】《易經》、《詩經》、《尚書》、《禮記》、《儀禮》、《公羊傳》、
    > > 《榖梁傳》、《左傳》、《孝經》、《論語》、《爾雅》、《孟子》
    > > 【四大民間傳說】《牛郎織女》、《孟姜女》、《梁山伯與祝英台》、《白蛇與許仙》
    > > 【四大文化遺產】《明清檔案》、《殷墟甲骨》、《居延漢簡》、《敦煌經卷》
    > > 【元代四大戲劇】關漢卿《竇娥冤》、王實甫《西廂記》、湯顯祖《牡丹亭》、
    > > 洪升《長生殿》
    > > 【晚清四大譴責小說】李寶嘉《官場現形記》、吳沃堯《二十年目睹之怪現狀》、
    > > 劉鶚《老殘游記》、曾樸《孽海花》
    > > 【莎士比亞四大悲劇】《漢姆萊特》、《李爾王》、《麥克白》、《奧賽羅》
    > > 【五彩】青、黃、赤、白、黑
    > > 【五音】宮、商、角、徵、羽
    > > 【七寶】金、銀、琉璃、珊瑚、硨磲、珍珠、瑪瑙
    > > 【九宮】正宮、中呂宮、南呂宮、仙呂宮、黃鍾宮、大面調、雙調、商調、越調
    > > 【七大藝術】繪畫、音樂、雕塑、戲劇、文學、建築、電影
    > > 【四大名瓷窯】河北的瓷州窯、浙江的龍泉窯、江西的景德鎮窯、福建的德化窯
    > > 【四大名旦】梅蘭芳、程硯秋、尚小雲、荀慧生
    > > 【六禮】冠、婚、喪、祭、鄉飲酒、相見
    > > 【六藝】禮、樂、射、御、書、數
    > > 【六義】風、賦、比、興、雅、頌
    > > 【八旗】鑲黃、正黃、鑲白、正白、鑲紅、正紅、鑲藍、正藍
    > > 【十惡】謀反、謀大逆、謀叛、謀惡逆、不道、大不敬、不孝、不睦、不義、內亂
    > > 【九流】儒家、道家、陰陽家、法家、名家、墨家、縱橫家、雜家、農家
    > > 【三山】安徽黃山、江西廬山、浙江雁蕩山
    > > 【五嶺】越城嶺、都龐嶺、萌諸嶺、騎田嶺、大庾嶺
    > > 【五岳】?中岳 – 河南嵩山 ] 東岳 –
    > > 山東泰山 ] 西岳 – 陝西華山 ] 南岳 –
    > > 湖南衡山 ] 北岳 – 山西恆山 ]
    > > 【五湖】鄱陽湖 – 江西 ] 洞庭湖 – 湖南 ]
    > > 太湖 – 江蘇 ] 洪澤湖 – 江蘇 ] 巢湖 –
    > > 安徽 ] 【四海】渤海、黃海、東海、南海
    > > 【四大名橋】廣濟橋、趙州橋、洛陽橋、盧溝橋
    > > 【四大名園】頤和園 – 北京 ] 避暑山莊 –
    > > 河北承德 ] 拙政園 – 江蘇蘇州 ] 留園 –
    > > 江蘇蘇州 ] 【四大名剎】靈巖寺 – 山東長清
    > > ] 國清寺 – 浙江天台 ] 玉泉寺 – 湖北江陵 ]
    > > 棲霞寺 – 江蘇南京 ] 【四大名樓】岳陽樓 –
    > > 湖南岳陽 ] 黃鶴樓 – 湖北武漢 ] 滕王閣 –
    > > 江西南昌 ] 大觀樓 – 雲南昆明 ]
    > > 【四大名亭】醉翁亭 – 安徽滁縣 ] 陶然亭 –
    > > 北京先農壇 ] 愛晚亭 – 湖南長沙 ]湖心亭 –
    > > 杭州西湖 ] 【四大古鎮】景德鎮 – 江西 ]
    > > 佛山鎮 – 廣東 ] 漢口鎮 – 湖北 ] 朱仙鎮 –
    > > 河南 ] 【四大碑林】西安碑林 – 陝西西安 ]
    > > 孔廟碑林 – 山東曲阜 ] 地震碑林 –
    > > 四川西昌 ]南門碑林 – 台灣高雄 ]
    > > 【四大名塔】嵩岳寺塔 – 河南登封嵩岳寺 ]
    > > 飛虹塔 – 山西洪洞廣勝寺 ] 釋迦塔 –
    > > 山西應縣佛宮寺 \ 千尋塔 –
    > > 雲南大理崇聖寺 ] 【四大石窟】莫高窟 –
    > > 甘肅敦煌 ] 雲崗石窟 – 山西大同 ] 龍門石窟
    > > – 河南洛陽 ] 麥積山石窟 – 甘肅天水 ]
    > > 【四大書院】白鹿洞書院 – 江西廬山 ]
    > > 岳麓書院 – 湖南長沙 ] 嵩陽書院 –
    > > 河南嵩山 ]應天書院 – 河南商丘 ]
    > > 【四大佛教名山】浙江普陀山 – 觀音菩薩 ]
    > > 山西五台山 – 文殊菩薩 ] 四川峨眉山 –
    > > 普賢菩薩 ] 安徽九華山 – 地藏王菩薩 ]
    > > 【四大道教名山】湖北武當山、江西龍虎山、安徽齊雲山、四川青城山
    > > 【五行】金、木、水、火、土 【八卦】乾 –
    > > 天、 坤 – 地、 震 – 雷、 巽 – 風、 坎 –
    > > 水、 離 – 火、 艮 – 山、 兌 – 沼 .
    > > 三皇】伏羲、女媧、神農
    > > 【五帝】太皞、炎帝、黃帝、少皞、顓頊
    > > 【三教】儒教、道教、佛教
    > > 【三清】元始天尊 – 清微天玉清境 ]
    > > 靈寶天尊 – 禹余天上清境 ] 道德天尊 –
    > > 大赤天太清境 ]
    > > 【四御】昊天金闕無上至尊玉皇大帝、中天紫微北極大帝、勾陳上宮天後皇大帝、
    > > 承天效法土皇地祗
    > > 【八仙】鐵拐李、鍾離權、張果老、呂洞賓、何仙姑、藍采和、韓湘子、曹國舅
    > > 【十八羅漢】布袋羅漢、長眉羅漢、芭蕉羅漢、沉思羅漢、伏虎羅漢、過江羅漢
    > > ,歡喜羅漢、降龍羅漢、靜坐羅漢、舉缽羅漢、開心羅漢、看門羅漢、騎象羅漢、
    > > 探手羅漢、托塔羅漢、挖耳羅漢、笑獅羅漢、坐鹿羅漢
    > > .
    > > 【十八層地獄】[第一層]泥犁地獄、[第二層]刀山地獄、[第三層]沸沙地獄、
    > > [第四層]沸屎地獄、[第五層]黑身地獄、[第六層]火車地獄、[第七層]鑊湯地獄、
    > > [第八
    > > 層]鐵床地獄、[第九層]蓋山地獄、[第十層]寒冰地獄、[第十一層]剝皮地獄、
    > > [第十二層]畜生地獄、[第十三層]刀兵地獄、[第十四層]鐵磨地獄、
    > > [第十五層]寒冰地獄、[第十六層]鐵冊地獄、[第十七層]蛆蟲地獄、[第十八層]烊銅地獄
    > > 【五髒】心、肝、脾、肺、腎
    > > 【六腑】胃、膽、三焦、膀胱、大腸、小腸
    > > 【七情】喜、怒、哀、樂、愛、惡、欲
    > > 【五常】仁、義、禮、智、信
    > > 【五倫】君臣、父子、兄弟、夫婦、朋友
    > > 【三姑】尼姑、道姑、卦姑
    > > 【六婆】牙婆、媒婆、師婆、虔婆、藥婆、穩婆
    > > 【九屬】玄孫、曾孫、孫、子、身、父、祖父、曾祖父、高祖父
    > > 【五谷】稻、黍、稷、麥、豆
    > > 【中國八大菜系】四川菜、湖南菜、山東菜、江蘇菜、浙江菜、廣東菜、福建菜、安徽菜
    > > 【五毒】石膽、丹砂、雄黃、礬石、慈石
    > > 【配藥七方】大方、小方、緩方、急方、奇方、偶方、復方
    > >

  26. Hong Konger Says:


    Are you sure we ‘re looking at Hakka dishes here?
    The ones I can see look like sauteed beef slices with green chili peppers 青椒炒牛肉, preserved sour vegie fish slices 酸菜鱼片, sauteed long beans 炒斗角which are all common dishes in Hunan and Sichuan.
    Do I see raw chicken pieces for the hot pot next to uncooked wawa cai, gan tofu, winter mushrooms to the left and raw pork strips, hot pot hot sauce dip and fried fish on the right?

  27. Ted Says:

    @all: Thanks for the comments about the pictures. Its fun to be able to share these 🙂

    I agree with Chinayouren et al; “Hakka is a defined people with a language and a culture, it doesn’t really matter so much where they came from or where they went.” I’m German, French, Scottish, and English but in the eyes of the people I met from these locales I’m American.

    Steve’s comment “I’ve also noticed that if you want to know who is Hakka, just ask a Hakka person since they all seem to know in great detail.” was definitely true, ask anyone in Southern Fujian and they will begin rattling off names.

    @TonyP4: “I hope the government is preserving them.” They are being preserved, and it appeared that many which had fallen-in were being rebuilt with tourism income.

  28. Steve Says:

    @ Hong Konger: To be honest, this meal was prepared by my brother in law’s wife in Miaoli but I’m not sure if the dishes are Hakka. When my wife gets home, I’ll ask her and let you know. I’m sure Taiwan Hakka dishes have some differences with HK, Fujian/Guangdong, Singapore or Malaysian but I’m not sure just how different they are. That’s why I wanted you to take a look. If they’re not Hakka, I’ll delete the pic. 😉

  29. Hong Konger Says:

    Steve: ” If they’re not Hakka, I’ll delete the pic. ”

    Oh, no, don’t delete it – They are generic Chinese food which is part of the Hakkas menu.
    May I suggest posting a few more pictures of these yummy Taiwanese Hakka food.
    Thanks 🙂

    Steve, perhaps your wife knows what this pork dish I really miss is called. It’s 3-layer pork pieces (large cubes of pork with skin over a thick layer of fat over a thin layer of lean meat)
    I think they are stewed for hours in a clay pot with fermented tofu and some kind of red seeds. The dish is bright red in color – I’ve had similar pork stew but they are darker red , not like the bright red dish I had once in a remote pepper plantation in Borneo. This family lived in a hut and was still using firewood to cook, and the floor was made of clay. It was deeeeliiicious!

  30. Steve Says:

    @ Hong Konger: Unfortunately, she didn’t recognize that pork dish at all. She thinks it’s something possibly unique to Borneo.

    She said the dishes in the photo were Taiwanese dishes cooked Hakka style. On the upper left is lobogao which is a true Hakka dish though Taiwanese make it but in a different way. It’s made from turnip. She thinks the fish pot in the middle is more Taiwanese but with Hakka spices. She thinks the dish on the bottom is twice cooked pork. The one to the right of it is probably bitter melon but she could not tell what else was in there. The one on the upper right is stringbeans cooked Hakka style. I’m sure FOARP has had that one many times since it’s very common in Miaoli restaurants and one of my favourites. My wife cooks that one at home.

    She said that a pure Hakka dish would be nian tofu (that’s as close as I could come to her Hakka pronounciation for it and unfortunately she has never mastered typing in Chinese; she only uses the computer to get her Taiwan and China news). Nian tofu is tofu stuffed with ground pork. She said it is usually served on holidays only because it takes a lot of work to make so something that a few women will prepare together. She also mentioned gijou (again, I’m guessing at the pinyin) which is chicken with seseme oil and ginger, cooked in rice wine.

    The only other photos I have of Taiwan or Hakka food have a bunch of people in them; mostly relatives. I think you’d be more interested in the food and not my in-laws. 😛

  31. Steve Says:

    @ Hong Konger: I added two more pix to the collection. The first one was taken in a Hakka restaurant last April, about ten kilometers east of Miaoli city. Upstairs they had a collection of Hakka handicrafts from the old days. I should have taken more photos but this is the only good one I have.

    The next photo is in a Hakka restaurant that I believe FOARP has also eaten in many times when he lived there. It was definitely one of the better Hakka restaurants in town. From the left, my #4 brother in law’s wife, my sister in law, my #3 brother in law’s son (our nephew) and my #6 brother in law. If you notice, there’s some serious eating going on. 😀

  32. Hong Konger Says:

    Yeah, the pork stuffed tofu is my favorite, either in soup or fried in claypot or pan fried! In HK and other southern Chinese coastal cities, fish paste is used instead on tofu, eggplant slices, on bell peppers, even red chili peppers to be pan fried. My mom used to mix the aforementioned tofu pork stuffing with eggs, bits of water chestnut, and deep fry them – that was my absolute favorite dish as a kid.
    Oh so that was not 青椒炒牛肉, but twice cooked pork 回锅肉and green chili peppers.
    Lobogao wanton style or wrapped into rolls with flavored minced pork and dried tofu strips with orange sides are wonderful. The Hakka wine Chicken is definitely a must try. Steamed pork cake 咸鱼/梅菜肉饼with Salted fish or Mei Cai and water chestnut bits is also my favorite. However, I don’t know if that’s Hakka or Cantonese though. Fried 鲳鱼(anyone know the Englsih name for this fish?) either with sweeten soy sauce or sweet & sour sauce and pineapple pieces, are both equally great too.


  33. Steve Says:

    @ chinayouren #24: I never ate at any Hakka restaurants in Shanghai but I can recommend a really great Hunan restaurant. It’s called Di Shui Dong and it’s on 56 Maoming Lu north of Huai Hai Lu, and not expensive at all. Here’s a short review:

    Di Shui Dong is situated in Mao Ming Lu just opposite the Lyceum. You walk away from Chang Le Lu past a clothing store and you will see a non-descript set of stairs. Walk up the stairs and you will be in the bustling, noisy, cheery restaurant.

    The food here is authentic Hunan food. You will find a range of semi-fiery dishes with plenty of chilli flavour.
    We like the shredded pigs ears with an undertone of chili, the sliced pickled vegetables, the Fen Pi (noodles made from yellow beans), the steamed jaio zi (dumplings which are very good indeed) and a strange but appealing dish of spareribs marinated and cooked in cumin seeds.

    The service is fast, friendly and efficient and there are a few Westerners here, so the menu has English translations.” Phone Number: +86 21 6253 2689

    I thought the best dish was the spare ribs. It’s Hunan so spicy. Sometimes the peppers would burn my tongue so I’d scrape some of it off the spare ribs before eating. The girls who work there wear the traditional Hunan outfits, looking like Ming dynasty porcelain in the blue and white colors. If you are coming from Huai Hai Lu, you walk north past the Okura Garden Hotel and cross the street at the light. The restaurant is on the second story, so on the northwest corner down about 30 meters or so and look for the stairs.

    Have you been to Xiao Nan Guo yet? It’s Shanghainese style food and there are several branches about town but they are not consistent; the one in Pudong isn’t very good at all. The best branch is probably at the Ruijin Guesthouse, and that’s the one I visited the most. It’s inside the hotel complex which is quite large. This is the hotel that has the bar Face that you might have already visited, with a pretty good Thai restaurant upstairs and definitely worth trying. Xiao Nan Guo is on a different part of the property. The address is: Address: 2 Rui Jin Bin Guan, 118 Rui Jin Er Lu: Phone: 021 64662277: Directions: Metro: Huang Pi Nan Lu

    I really liked their garden salad, maybe the best one I ever had in Shanghai. The dressing, which is an oil/vinegar based blend, is really good and different from anything else I’ve had. I missed western salads in China and this one satiated my craving. They also have an excellent pork trotter, can’t remember the Chinese name but it’s the one with a big piece of pork and the heavy layer of fat on top with a light brown sauce and either boneless or just one bone. It’s hard to find a bad dish at this place.

    This time of year, order the Shaoxing wine that comes in the heated metal pot. It really hits the spot on a cold evening. Then you can walk over to Face for a drink after you’re done.

    Have you had a chance to try the Ding Tai Feng dumpling house branch over in Xintiandi? It’s just below the cinema in the building that has (or had, I think they went bankrupt) Alexander’s gym. It’s known for the xiaolongbao and better than the famous one in Yu Yuan Gardens.

  34. Hong Konger Says:

    “吃饭咯!”…So, Steve, is it “Aye, SIT FUN LOH,” or “Sit FON Loh” in your wife’s family?

    My Mom, who was born in HK, tells me we are “Seen-On Hak,” where We say, “Sit Fun,” which to this day I still don’t know where that is.

  35. Steve Says:

    @ Hong Konger: They’d say “Sit Fon” but without the “loh”.

    Whenever we’re in Taipei, every morning we walk down towards the Longshan Temple area to eat breakfast. I always have lobogao, along with shen dou jiang and what my wife calls “egg pancake” where they put the egg on what looks like a tortilla and then roll it up. Is it called “dan bing”? I could literally eat those three every morning for the rest of my life and be happy as a clam. After we’re done, I get my morning coffee at Cafe 85 C (better and cheaper than Starbucks) and I’m ready for the day. 😉

  36. Steve Says:

    @ Hong Konger: I was just wondering… are oyster omelets considered a Hakka food? We used to get them all the time at the open air market in Miaoli. I wasn’t sure if that was just a normal dish or something from Hakka cuisine.

  37. Hong Konger Says:

    Oyster omelets are of Fuzhou and ChaoZhou origin.

    As for “咯LOH” that’s when someone is calling out for family members who are still working in the field outside announcing that it was time to come home to eat….Kinda like “YO…哟 or 唷.” Hakka people have being YO-ing for centuries, way long before it becomes a hip hop thing,Yo.

  38. chinayouren Says:

    @Steve #33 – Funny you mention Di Shui Dong. I don’t know how it was when you were in Shanghai, but now it is perhaps the most popular Chinese restaurant among foreigners, I don’t think you can find a single expat that hasn’t been there :). I regularly organize dinners there with friends and I agree it is one of the best places to start a night out in Shanghai. BTW, there is now another DiShuiDong on Dongping Lu in the french Concession (near Sasha’s).

    Of course I also know Face and the Ruijin complex (I live very near) but I haven’t been to Xiaonanguo, I will try it as soon as there’s a chance and will let you know.

    Mhh, anyone else on Hakka food in Shanghai? I am still hungry from Steve’s pictures and would really like to try that.

  39. ecodelta Says:

    Hakka wine Chicken
    pork stuffed tofu
    spareribs marinated and cooked in cumin seeds
    noodles made from yellow beans
    egg pancake
    Oyster omelets

    Man.. you make me feel hungry….

  40. Steve Says:

    @ Hong Konger #37: Yo, I guess this means that Rocky Balboa and Sting are actually Hakka! 😉

    Miaoli had great oyster omelets. Being that they were from Fuzhou and Chaozhou, it makes sense. I am now officially designating you our blog expert when it comes to food; a man who has his priorities in life straight.

    @ chinayouren #38: Back then, which was 2001-2002, there’d usually be one or two tables of foreigners at Di Shui Dong but no more, so I guess it’s become more well known since then. The Taiwan expats in Shanghai also liked it a lot. In fact, the facility manager (she was also Hakka from Miaoli) for GSMC and her husband took my wife and I there for our first visit. She said it was one of the most popular hangouts for Taiwan expats in town.

    I did a little net search and found this: Try 惠佳美地客家菜 Huijia Meidi Hakka Restaurant at 2F, Lippo Plaza, try the 盐局鸡 Salted roast chicken and 豆腐羹 Tofu soup. That seemed to be the only one recommended online. Lippo Plaza is next to Hong Kong Plaza so still pretty close to where you live. My old office was in the HK Plaza but I never ran across this particular restaurant before; might not have been opened yet when I was there.

  41. chinayouren Says:

    Thanks a lot! I will try that as soon as I have a chance.

  42. Hong Konger Says:

    The charm of Taiwanese girls speaking mandarin is renown among Asian men for their knee-weakening, heart-melting, mesmerizing effect. Now, I know why – it’s because of the Hakka tones. Check this out:

    A sweet Hakka English teacher:


  43. Hong Konger Says:

    Speaking of Fujian, has anyone seen the movie entitled “Yip Man (葉問)? – It is based on the exploits of the younger Yip Man during the sino-Japanese war. After leaving FoShan (佛山) Guangdong, Yip Man went to Hong Kong and started the HK Wing Chun Association.

    Yip is most well known as the master who taught Bruce Lee this close contact form of Southern Shaolin martial Art, invented by a female Kung Fu practician.

    Talk aboout “hell has no fury like a woman’s scorn.”

    Southern Shaolin is of course in Fujian.

  44. TonyP4 Says:

    On my way home on my express bus, 2 Taiwan ladies and one Beijing lady went crazy one time and talking very loud and laughing. On my way to get off the bus, I praised them for their nice sound they’re making. Cantonese is just the opposite, but very expressive for some foul language. 🙂

    I watched the movie Wing Chun starred Michelle Yeo. Wing Chun is invented by a lady, so its advantage is to fight guys bigger and taller. Hence it may have the same advantage on bigger foreign evils. 🙂

  45. Steve Says:

    @ Hong Konger & TonyP4: The first time my wife came with me to Shanghai to meet my colleagues, one of the women in my office said that her Mandarin was much better than most Taiwanese and that she didn’t like how most spoke it there. I never thought much about it but now I wonder if it was because her Hakka accent came through. She can understand Taiwanese and can speak it if she has to but isn’t comfortable with it.

    I noticed a lot of women in Taiwan would stretch out the last syllable in a sentence while letting their tone rise. I found this annoying but they must have thought it cute. I heard it all the time during TV commercials.

    Hakka women use those sweet, honeyed tones to get anything they want without having to fight, even if the guy is bigger and taller. They have mastered how to “fight without fighting”. 😉

  46. wuming Says:

    I noticed a lot of women in Taiwan would stretch out the last syllable in a sentence while letting their tone rise. I found this annoying but they must have thought it cute. I heard it all the time during TV commercials.
    Isn’t this common among American teenagers (and some adults as) as well? The influence of American culture on Taiwan is quite profound, probably because a large portion of the business/political/culture elites of Taiwan was educated in US. In the Mao thread somebody suggested the “Christianization” of Buddhism and Taoism in Taiwan, do you think that may be related phenomenon?

  47. Steve Says:

    Hi Wuming~

    Hmm…. I think it’s different than what I hear in the States but I agree that it’s an affectation of the young and not the old. To be honest, I thought Japanese rather than American culture was more pervasive in Taiwan, especially in the north. I sometimes think mainland Chinese underestimate Japanese influence on the island, not only with culture but even with their manner of speaking. As an example, people in Taiwan are more apt to be indirect in answering a question than mainland Chinese. I personally like the mainland Chinese directness much better. Taiwanese kids grow up on Miyazaki movies, J-pop, even a couple of Japanese TV stations and unfortunately, Hello Kitty. 🙁

    Now that you mention it, I think the structure of Buddhist organizations in Taiwan are not Christianity influenced but more like the structure of Japanese Buddhist organizations. Just look at Sōka Gakkai; it’s a very structured organization with its own political party, the New Komeito, though they are now run as separate organizations. Anyway, it’s all just guessing on my part. What do you think?

  48. wuming Says:


    When it comes to Taiwan, I would defer to your judgment. My idea about Taiwan is based on contacts with friends in my grad school days and the current news report. I have no doubt about the Japanese influence. As for American influence, isn’t there some important Taiwanese politician in recent days has to refute the charges that he is actually an American citizen?

    Little I know of Buddhism, I felt it seems to have a pretty flat structure in China (outside of Tibet that is.) And the non-monastic practitioners do not seem to consistently participate in religious rituals. But on the other hand, that maybe more of characteristics of Chinese than Buddhists in general.

  49. dan Says:

    TOny p4 #25,
    I’d always wonder about what ‘三姑,六婆’ mean. Now I know. Thanks.

  50. Think Ming! Says:

    I took a trip around the Hakka roundhouses about three years back. I ran the Xiamen marathon, then went overland to Shantou via Meixian and Chaozhou. It was an interesting little trip.

    Meixian is an underrated town. It has some delicious street food and restaurants, and the locals are wonderfully charming and friendly.

    There is even a small ‘Hakka Museum’ there. I think there was a reading room with Hakka related materials in Chinese, plus lots of offices for some kind of Hakka Association. When I dropped by they had an exhibition of photos by Hakka photographers. Not much to detain the casual tourist, but perhaps a place to get help researching family history or something.

    The sweet Hakka rice wine is worth trying. You can drink it warmed up with ginger in some of the restaurants. If you ask a taxi driver or someone in the know you can also pick up home brewed stuff sold in coke bottle at some of the little family shops. While the quality can be a bit patchy, the good stuff makes a nice winter warmer.

    The town and surrounds also has a few interesting old mansions.

    Overall it was one of the nicest towns I’ve visited in Guangdong.

  51. chinayouren Says:

    @Steve – #40 And to all the Hakka eaters out there

    You might be interested to know that the HuiJia Meidi Restaurant (惠佳美地客家菜) that was recommended in comment #40 is closed. Actually it has completely dissappeared, nobody answers the phone and the location where it used to be a few months ago is a blank space today. All very Shanghai.

    Last night I led a small expeditionary force to explore the grounds, after many frustrated phone calls. There was nothing to be seen, and we ended up in the (lousy) Japanese restaurant downstairs. Wost of all is: as far as I know, this was the only Hakka restaurant in Central Shanghai. So no salty Chicken for the hungry Shanghaiers.

    PS. Call for help: If you are in Shanghai and know about another Hakka place, please share info. I will be happy to go explore with you.

  52. james Says:

    Thank you for putting this really interesting report together! You have stirred my interest to plan a trip there to experience the Hakka culture…. Does anyone have a detailed itinerary and local contact details to share since you mentioned that it’s not a good idea to do an organized tour? Fly in to Xianmen and then how do we get to the villages, and where to stay for 1 or 2 nights there? Would appreciate any suggestions!

  53. Ling Says:

    Great post and great discussion here.
    Please to know you guys. Me myself come from Hakka parents but don’t know much about hakka culture. Wonder if there anyone can share.

    About the food, i only can recognize the smaller ball with some vegetables. We called the salt and sour half dried vegetables “ham choi” *the pic to small

    oh yeah, for Hong Konger, it might be true when u ask and most girl said that they can not cook. because the skill come by it self when its needed. thats what my mom said. me myself can not cook.

    i came from west borneo and have no idea what kind of food is this one.. “Steve, perhaps your wife knows what this pork dish I really miss is called. It’s 3-layer pork pieces (large cubes of pork with skin over a thick layer of fat over a thin layer of lean meat)
    I think they are stewed for hours in a clay pot with fermented tofu and some kind of red seeds. The dish is bright red in color – I’ve had similar pork stew but they are darker red , not like the bright red dish I had once in a remote pepper plantation in Borneo. This family lived in a hut and was still using firewood to cook, and the floor was made of clay. It was deeeeliiicious!”

  54. No99 Says:

    Oh, I didn’t know this post existed.

    I’ve heard the same comments regarding the women too, that Hakka women make the best wives. Same thing with Chaozhou women. Although from my perspective is kind of different. My mom’s side is Hakka and virtually all the women in that side of the family are very strong will and intelligent in their own right. There’s plenty of pros and cons , of course, they’re all human. I know this sounds so old fashioned but I kind of was set up with a girl from Taiwan by all these Hakka women as well. However, that’s a different story. Sometimes, I think to myself that I wouldn’t want a wife that was Hakka if my maternal side was a real representation of how most of the women are like.

    (I”m just half-joking here, no offense my Hakka sisters and aunties).

    The Hakka network around the world is kind of strong. I don’t know if it’s as infamous as the Wenzhouness, but it might be the strongest out of the groups in Guangdong/Fujian region (other than the Chaozhouness).

  55. Steve Says:

    Hi Ling~

    I asked my wife about the dish you mentioned and she said there is something similar in Taiwan. The closest I can get to her pronunciation is mei gan ko lo. She said it is very fatty so she normally didn’t eat it. We have some other Hakka people here so maybe they can give you the Chinese spelling and a better description.

    I know when I’m in Taiwan, my first meal request is that pork dish with the fat on top that just falls apart when you stick your chopsticks into it. I’ve had the Shanghainese version and that is also delicious, but I prefer the Hakka version to any other, though I once had it deep fried somewhere in Taiwan on business and it was terrible!

    No99, it IS true that Hakka women make the best wives. How do I know this? Because my wife told me, of course! 😛

  56. Rhan Says:

    Isn’t that a Braised Pork Belly with Yam (扣肉)?

    Leicha (擂茶) is quite popular here in Malaysia, not sure if is the same in place like Borneo, China, HK and Taiwan?

    My wife a Hakka (finally there is something link me the yellow Rhan to that white Steve) and she definitely can’t cook, however her mum is one of the most traditional Hakka lady I meet, she cook the best Hakka dish.

    Some claim Japanese is Hakka because they like Hakka dishes.

    I learn to speak Hakka when i am seven, i think i can speak better Hakka than the Hakka Hker, haha.

  57. No99 Says:

    Hi Steve,

    我怕女人. so yes, I will agree that Hakka women are the best.

  58. HongKonger Says:


    I ‘ ve had the bright red Hakka dish at a remote pepper plantation in Borneo. mind you, I am talking 1975 here. Stone stove, fire wood, crooked furniture and clay floor – Heavenly ! It was my Hakka father’s favorite dish !

  59. HongKonger Says:

    Yes, Rhan, I love 擂茶 !!!!

    Lei cha literally means “pounded tea” A mix of tea leaves and herbs pounded together with roasted nuts, seeds, and grains. Lei cha is very popular in Malaysia, but I’ve never had it in China or Hong Kong. As for 扣肉, I’ve only seen the very common Mei chai Kou rou – thinly sliced 3-layer pork strips like bacon cooked with preserved vegie and yam with, quite unlike the fat chucks of cubicle pork in red juice. Yummy !

    Traditional Hakka women were the best ! Hard working, loyal and even tempered. 40 years ago, if you went to the New territories of HK, you would have seen them on the fields everywhere from Shatin to Yuen Long. According to my mother, my grandmother albeit uneducated was a very smart and capable Hakka woman. She took very good care her family of 10, helped my quiet grandfather with his Traditional Chinese Medicine business and was very good with people.


  60. HongKonger Says:

    Congratulations, No. 99

    怕老婆才會發達 .. Wife fearing will bring one good fortune, ha ha, HK woman are fond of saying.

  61. Steve Says:

    @ Hongkonger #59: Ahh… I knew you’d come through! Your “mei chai kou rou” sounds very similar to what my wife mentioned, which I probably should have spelled “mei gan kou rou”. Does that ring a bell?

  62. Rhan Says:

    Hker, there is one “芽菇炆南乳豬肉” which is a must have during Lunar New Year, some does make use of 砂煲 but I doubt many will do today, it sound like your “fat chucks of cubicle pork in red juice.” but many claim this is Cantonese origin, I am not too sure because I took it mostly from Hakka.

    Both “yu tou (Yam) kou rou” and “mei chai kou rou” is very common, we don’t mix the two. The classic is 木耳炸肉 (fried pork), the main dish during wedding feast in the Hakka village that I grown up. Due to the “Halal” issue and to respect our Muslim community, there is less and lesser chance to have the pork dishes in most restaurant nowadays.

  63. HKer Says:


    “mei gan kou rou” may be just another way to call the same dish, I dunno. “Gan” sounds like dry / dried. Mei Gan could mean the sun dried “mei cai” a vegie used for the kou rou.


    “Due to the “Halal” .. there is less and lesser chance to have the pork dishes in most restaurant nowadays.”

    What? That can’t be right ! I love Malaya and Indian food in the respective restaurants in Malaysia. How did Halal, ( the Jews called kosher) food get mixed up with Chinese restaurants there? I am puzzled.

  64. No99 Says:

    Hmm…I posted some video links but it didn’t get through.

  65. No99 Says:

    Try this again.


  66. No99 Says:

    Sometimes, I don’t know the difference between Cantonese and Hakka cooking. There’s also this dish you all can try.

    Ground pork with seasoning (salt, pepper, or dried salty veggies) flattened it unto a round plate. You can choose salty fish or tofu and place it on top. Add sliced ginger to the plate. Then steam the whole thing until it’s hot and ready to eat.

    There’s also steamed eggs, but I think that’s common throughout China. I saw a Shanghainese lady made it once. Basically a lot of beaten eggs into a mixer bowel. You can add ground pork or century old eggs and salty eggs. A little bit of seasoning. Cover the mixer bowel and put it into a hot water bath, like a wok. Cover the whole thing until it’s hot and ready to eat.

  67. Rhan Says:

    Hker, Overseas (Malaysia) Chinese love to eat, we don’t say “ni hou”, only the contemporary Chinese did that I believe, we say “sei pao fan mei?” (Have you taken your meal?). Hence the eating places such as restaurant play the common role to see business deal went through, to improve relationship and etc, and most of the time, the best or establish restaurant serve Chinese cuisine. The “halal” status is actually more beneficial for business to attract a bigger crowd. Apart from this, eat lesser meat and more vegetable is now becoming a trend, and pork dishes is no more enjoy the same rank as in the pass when most of us are poor, except perhaps the “乳猪”.

    But no worry, we still have many small and rural areas that serve traditional food. The yummy continues.

  68. HKer Says:


    民以吃為先 。。。


  69. Ling Says:

    Steve, actually i can’t read Chinese. Trying to understand by copy-paste it into google translate..

    Its Mei Gan Kou Rou name sounds different, might be some diallect issue. I think i called this Mei Gan kou Rou as “Dun Nyuk” I can’t describe that “dun” might be a verb for some cooking technic, “nyuk” is for “rou” (meat). And, we dont often have this for meal only for some big event like lunar new year or birthday, fatty like your wife said.

    1975? Woww.. I even haven’t exist that time. It seems that i am talking with some elders here. Hehehe

    I know this steam egg. One of my favorite.. I called it “Choi Cun”. Japanese have this too, they called it Chawan Mushi.

    “Sei pao fan mei?” for me “Sit pao fon mang?” There is area in Jakarta with many Borneo-Hakka restaurants. And, for sure pork are very available there 😀

  70. HKer Says:


    watch this posted by No. 99


    ” It seems that i am talking with some elders here.”

    I don’t know about Steve, but I am 21 going on 20 🙂


  1. Global Voices Online » China: Hakka Tulou in Fujian Province

Leave a Reply

301 Moved Permanently

Moved Permanently

The document has moved here.