Hakka festival foods

1. Chinese New Year
The Chinese New Year is called Ru Nian Jia (入年假) beginning December 25 of the lunar calendar. People begin cleaning their houses, making Fa Ban (steamed glutinous rice cake made with brown sugar), Tian Ban (sweet rice cake made with japonica rice), and all sorts of foods. On the morning of January 1, vegetarian food is ingested to cleanse the stomach.

2. Tomb-sweeping Festival
Pork, mutton, chicken, wine, Fa Ban, spring roll and Aicao Ban (mugwort rice cake) are used on this occasion.

3. Dragon Boat Festival 
Calamus, mugwort, and kudzu are hung on the front door to ward off evil spirits and avoid diseases. Zongzi (glutinous rice dumpling wrapped in bamboo leave) is the traditional food people make to celebrate the holiday.

4. Bogong’s Birthday
On June 6, pork and fish are prepared to worship the deity of the land.

5. July 15 Festival 
Sacrificial pig competition is held. Only the top 30 winners are allowed to enter the altar to worship. The festival is also called Yulan Festival or the Ghost  Festival.

6. Moon Festival 
People eat moon cakes and pomelo. Children often play word puzzle game.

7. Double Ninth Festival 
People drink chrysanthemum wine.

8. Winter Solstice 
Pigs and goats are butchered to make sausages, liver, gall, and duck.

9. Worshipping deity of the stove 
The deity of the stove is worshipped with three kinds of meat and wine. Sugar is spread to the statue of the deity.

Couplet: “Heaven says good things, good luck bestowed on earth; heaven reports good things, safety descended on earth.”

10. Chinese New Year’s Eve
Stamping and making Ban, grinding bean curd, butchering chicken and ducks for worshipping. The family gets together and has dinner with a stove burning with charcoal under the table.


Food for weddings and funerals

1. For weddings, 10 carts of gift boxes are used as wedding gifts. In the carts are one pig, one goat, 2 jars of aged wine, 4 chickens, 4 ducks, 1 cart of 100-200 eggs with 8 painted red and returned to the bridegroom’s house, and 1 cart of squids. The bridegroom drinks Beginning of Spring Wine and sugar wine. After the ceremony is over, the couple eats Wufucai (dish of five blessings) and Wuweifan (five flavors rice). In the bridal chamber, watermelon seeds, jujubes, lotus seeds, olives, peanuts, sesame, and hard bean curd are prepared. Peanuts and watermelon seeds are used because, in Chinese, their names sound similar to the phrase giving birth to a son.

“Calling food of husband’s family ‘your food’ at the first half of the night but ‘our food’ in the second half of the night” – The old saying describes the changing of the couple’s relationship over the wedding night, in which the wife and the husband become one and should never separate.

Giving birth – In the first month after giving birth, a woman has to eat chicken. During the month, the woman shouldn’t eat the head of the chicken for fear of shaking her head; she shouldn’t eat chicken wings for fear of attracting the wind; she shouldn’t eat pig liver for fear of clogged milk duct; she shouldn’t drink tea for fear of upsetting the belly button; she shouldn’t eat beef for fear of urine leakage while coughing at old age; she shouldn’t eat distillers’ grains for fear of eyes rotting; she shouldn’t eat glutinous rice for fear of rice sticking to intestines; and she shouldn’t eat garlic for fear of bad breath. The best food for women after giving birth is fatty chicken and dry rice.

2. Funerals – The right hand of the deceased have to hold Da Gou Ban (打狗粄). During the funeral period, all dishes cooked should contain no soy sauce.

Food for entertaining guests at a banquet

1. Similar to southern Fujian customs, cold dishes, stewed chicken and duck, pig stomach soup, Feng Rou (braised streaky pork), fish balls, braised fish, fried cuttlefish, shrimps, guts, and stewed pig knuckles were common dishes in the early days. Soups are often cooked.

2. Cold dish comprises of  duck eggs, beef jerky, pig ears and tongues, fried vegetables, tomatoes, and shredded radish. Some use raw fish or boiled chicken or duck. Raw fish is made of sailfish and tuna, to be eaten by dipping it in mustard soy sauce.

3. Fried dishes are made by deep frying fish, pork, and vegetables covered with batter.

4. Feng Rou (braised streaky pork) is made by sealing and cooking a chunk of pork with green onions, soy sauce, sugar, and wine until it is soft. Other Feng foods include cabbage, squash, and balsam pear.

5. Banquet don’t offer rice. Fried rice and wheat noodles, or Eight Treasure Rice Pudding , cakes, and bread are provided instead. Eight Treasure Rice Pudding is made by steaming glutinous rice along with sugar, squash slices, orange cakes, Gorgon fruit, dried longan pulp, lotus seeds, and large jujubes. Rice is an indispensable ingredient for dessert on wedding banquets.

6. Sweet soup is made of sour plums, pineapple, salted prunes, and sugar.

7. Si Dian Jin, which mean “four points of gold” in Chinese, refers to a plate of whole chicken placed in the middle of the table, with the head facing the seat of honor and the bottom facing the back. People are not supposed to eat the head, bottom, and wings of the chicken, or it would bring bad luck the family.



1. Noodles, dumplings, rice noodles, Ban Tiao (flat rice noodles), Mishaimu (silver needle noodles), Fen Wan (sweet potato starch balls), Shui Ban (savory rice pudding), fish balls, red bean soup, green bean soup, peanut soup, soy milk, pan-fried cakes, buns, bread, and Zongzi are common snacks.

2. Snacks for festivals and celebrations
On Moon Festival, moon cakes are made with bean paste, lotus paste, and ham as the stuffing. Moon cakes are given to friend and relatives as a present.
Regular pastries are made of rice or wheat flour, with bean paste as the stuffing. Bean paste is mostly made of broad bean powder.