Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Hakka Soul: Memories, Migrations, and Meals

Lui goong bing bahng
Ten moon hoi

Yit tiow wong loong

Jon chut loi

Which translates roughly as:

Thunder goes bing bang
Heaven's gates open
Out squirms
A yellow dragon

(pg. 62)

So what exactly does this Hakka poem means? I will give you the answer* at the end of this post. :)

Written by a Malaysian-born Hakka, Chin Woon Ping, the Hakka Soul: Memories, Migrations, and Meals / Chin Woon Ping (ISBN: 978-9971-69-400-5) provides an interesting account of stories and also memories of a Hakka family.

Several Hakka cruisines, such as keo nyuk (braised pork), jiu gai (chicken in wine) and nyong teo fu (stuffed tofu) are also introduced to the readers but that could be made more appealing if she had included pictures of the dishes.

nyong teo fu

Besides the Hakka recipes, Woon Ping also mentioned about a wild plant called ma see han (which literally translated to "horse shit" spinach!) or callaloo. According to my chef, not many people know that such plant can be served as greens. However, this can't be blamed since most vegetable stalls in Singapore don't sell ma see han.

ma see han

My chef usually cook soups with ma see han and other ingredients - chopped garlic, sliced shallots, ikan bilis and sliced fish cake.

ma see han soup

* The Hakka poem is a metaphor for passing stool. ;p


Anya said...

Looks yummie........

Funny Hakka poem :))

Gattina said...

There are so many different chinese kitchens we have quiet a lot of chinese restaurants in Brussels, and they have such a variety of choice, but still adapted to the European taste. Only in the UK in China town you will find real Chinese kitchen, but then it depends from where the people are coming from.

LifeRamblings said...

i seldom take Hakka cuisines as they are not widely available in my neighbourhood.

Little Inbox said...

Hakka got a lot of healthy dishes.

Jama said...

I know I've seen this vegetable in a market, now I know it's name!

Symphony of Love said...

The bowl of soup looks like healthy. I would definitely love it especially when I am a soup person. Who would have known that the poem is metaphor for passing stool. :P

tigerfish said...

Any other English name or Chinese name for the "horse-shit spinach"?