Food Policy

In recent years, Taiwan’s Hakka Affairs Council has been very active in promoting Hakka culture and encouraging its diverse development. As a result, Hakka cuisine in particular has received a great deal of favorable attention from the public. Hakka cuisine culture has gone through a significant transformation due to Taiwan’s higher standard of living and increased exposure to advanced culinary art and information about healthy living. The Hakkas not only want to preserve their cuisine’s traditional ingredients, signature techniques and characteristics, but also hope to refine, reinvent, and perfect Hakka cuisine. Combining the culture’s delicacies with modern cooking techniques, Hakka cuisine develops new variations as exquisite culinary taste and higher quality is instilled into their own dining culture. The Hakkas also aspire to expand Hakka cuisine in the international market so that people from home and abroad can experience its wonders, which is also one of the Council’s main priorities in promoting Hakka cuisine.

Beginning in 2005, the HAC has organized the “Hakka Cuisine Festival” with resources and support obtained from both public and private sectors. Activities such as Hakka gourmet food competitions, Hakka food fairs and the Hakka food month are all held during the festival, and Hakka culinary businesses are given management guidance. Drawn by the allure of Hakka cuisine, the event generates over 150,000 visits from Taiwanese and international guests.

To enhance the diversity and creativity of Hakka cuisine, the Council held its first “Hakka Flat Rice Noodle Competition” in 2008, giving every participating team an opportunity to rewrite the history of flat rice noodles. The contestants adapted the characteristics of Hakka “bantiao (wide rice noodles)” and made an amazing variety of dishes. The creativity of the contestants truly reinvented this traditional dish, showcasing their originality in making wide rice noodles into Chinese, western, exotic cuisine and even deserts in the competition. The resulting variety of culinary art displayed is as colorful as it is tasty.

Immediately after the 2009 Creative Hakka Gourmet Food Competition – Hakka Stir Fry Contest was held alongside the First International Fair on Hakka Goods 2009 at the outdoor plaza of the Taipei World Trade Center Nangang Exhibition Hall among the New Year’s Eve celebrations. To encourage public participation, amateur chefs were allowed to attend the competition for the first time. Contestant categories included Expatriates, Families, Students and Working Professionals, as well as Contestants with Entertaining Cooking Skills. A total of 130 teams entered the contest, including non-professional chefs, showing off their cooking skills and engaging the general public. Of all the contestant categories, Expatriates was designed to most expand the diversity of Hakka cuisine. An 88-year-old Hakka woman and her Vietnamese daughter-in-law were awarded the winners of the competition, with a dish that was a mixture of traditional Hakka sautéed ingredients, Vietnamese flavor, and Southeast Asian flair. Overall, the event re-interpreted Hakka gourmet food through various ingredients and diverse cooking methods and inspired endless culinary creations.

In 2010, to continue the advancement of Taiwan’s Hakka gourmet industry, a Hakka-styled dinner feast competition titled Hakka Gourmet: 2010 Hakka Dinner Feast Competition was organized to promote Hakka gourmet foods by adding elements of Taiwanese local culture. The finals were held on December 18, 2010, at the parking lot next to the A11 building of the Shin Kong Mitsukoshi Department Store in Taipei’s Xinyi District. A total of 131 teams attended the competition, with 12 professional and non-professional teams advancing to the national finals. The panel of judges selected a champion, a first runner-up, a second runner-up, honorable mentions (two teams) and winners of the Creativity Award (three teams). Activities such as DIY Hakka snacks, gourmet food samplings, prize quizzes and promotional sales of Hakka goods were also held at the competition.