I had my first opportunity to celebrate the Chinese New Year in Tai Po, Hong Kong. My husband’s brothers and sisters were all back home for my father-in-law funeral in 2015 before the Chinese New Year. the ethnic group of the Hakka People have suffered huge controversy. Historically, the Hakka in Hong Kong were considered as outcasts. The population of Hakka has appeared a rapid decline and their traditional culture and language are under threat.
None of our children are able to speak Hakka language, with just a minority of older Hakka locals in the community. Every year this community will organize the Chinese New Year feast for the local Hakka, each family can either give free donation to this good cause.
We reached the rural temple in the village, hundreds of tables were set and ready for all the locals to enjoy themselves with the traditional Hakka Poon Choi. Before the feast started the villager headmaster will lead the lion dance into the temple to pay their respect to the God, and he gave a red packet for the lions to catch it.
There was a stage for troupe of dancers and singers to perform whilst the Hakka locals enjoyed themselves with Poon Choi and a good gossip. Poon Choi is a traditional dish originated from Hong Kong village Cantonese Cuisine. It is served in wooden porcelain or metal basins due to its size and communal style of consumption. Poon Choi consist of the best food gathered together, cooked it in the basin and served it to a table of 12 people.
It was awe inspiring to see the rural temple come to life with bright colors, and there were laughter and smiles from the locals, all their friends, members of relatives and guests. If you happen to be in Hong Kong during the Chinese New Year, go for it as it is a amazing experience and the Poon Choi are so yummy.
After our Poon feast, we went to Ah San to see our ancestors’ land, the place where our ancestors’ land fall in decline and in need of new buildings to replace it soon.