A Hakka-Chinese Family in Scarborough

​From my personal experience and research, Hakka-Chinese and Cantonese foodways are very similar to each other. For example, rice is a staple in both the Hakka-Chinese and Cantonese foodways. Furthermore, the Hakka and Cantonese have very similar cooking styles such as stir-frying and steaming (The Food). As both Hakka-Chinese and Cantonese foodways coexist side by side, it shows that Hakka-Chinese cuisine left a strong impact in Southern China since the 1980s and 1990s. Looking at the case study done by Sidney Cheung, it became more popular in recent years. It became more noticeable in Hong Kong as “some scholars suggests that the revival of Hong Kong style Hakka food…among Hong Kong migrants had to do with the development of 
a cultural nostalgia of [being a] Hong Kong Chinese" (Cheung, 57). 

On the other hand, Hakka-Chinese foodways in my family is somewhat different than the traditional Hakka-
Chinese family. The foundation of Hakka-Chinese foodways in my family is my mother as she is a Hakka-Chinese. My father, on the other hand, is Cantonese. It does allow me to have a mixture of both Cantonese cuisine and Hakka-Chinese cuisine. But what does it mean to my parents? 

I interviewed both my parents about their opinions and they provided an interesting insight of what they believed as Hakka cuisine. My father said that he was not entirely sure what Hakka cuisine is but dishes like “fish meat with tofu, salt covered chicken, fish meat with bitter melon, pork belly with preserved vegetables and many more…Those are Hakka cuisine but Cantonese cuisine has these as well”. On the other hand, my mother said that Hakka cuisine has its’ own flavor. It is generally rich in flavor, “high in calories” and “is typically salty” as well. She doesn’t cook it often either due to health concerns and the time that takes to make it. Simply put, my family does not always eat Hakka cuisine. We eat it on special occasions or when my mother decides to make them.

Carmen Lai