Traditional food transformed with modern flavors

As people are becoming more health-conscious, Hakka food has had to change to keep up with changing tastes. Most organic farm operators in Taoyuan, Hsinchu, and Miaoli are Hakka. For instance, the Kunlun Health Garden (崑崙養生莊園) in Taoyuan County grows over two thousand kinds of medicinal plants, and many organic farms in Zhongli District and Hsinchu provide organic food and home delivery. The combination of traditional Hakka food and modern food preparation process has revived agricultural tourism, merging with eco-industries and bringing people the opportunity to return to the days of simple village life while creating an environment that is pesticide-and pollution-free. As it is in Europe, America, and Japan, certification of organic farms is all the rage. As people turn more to organic food, Hakka food that are less oily, salty and lower in cholesterol are being promoted. The marketing and packaging of Xian Cao Tea (grass jelly tea) of Guanxi, Hsinchu is a successful example of the recent focus on eating for a healthier, longer life.

Taiwan Hakka food is becoming healthier. The HAC had joined forces with Sheraton Taipei for a new Hakka gourmet event, in which chefs incorporated Japanese and Western cooking methods into Hakka cooking. Examples of cross-cultural innovation included the use of large amount of distillers’ grains, using Ban Tiao (flat rice noodles) and laver as sushi skin, and adding plums or replacing pork with low-fat chicken in Mei Gan Kou Rou (braised pork belly with pickled greens) to reduce cholesterol. Some participants used  Ban Tiao to make Hakka-style pasta, or transformed Mediterranean seafood noodles into Hakka stir-fried Ban Tiao. Long beans, often used in Hakka cooking, were made into soups and combined with salmon and prawns in a Thai-style curry. Prawns and orange sauce make a good combination, too. As long as there is creativity, Hakka food can become popular, healthy food.