Skip to content

Poon Choi(Giant Basin Feast) – intangible heritage in Hong Kong

September 23, 2010

This week, we are required to talk about an intangible heritage in Hong Kong here. Actually, I am not quite sure about what exactly “intangible heritage” can be, so I look it up in Wikipedia. And it told me “Intangible Cultural Heritage means the practices, representations, expressions, knowledge, skills – as well as the instruments, objects, artefacts and cultural spaces associated therewith – that communities, groups and, in some cases, individuals recognize as part of their cultural heritage.” (1) After reading this explanation, Poon Choi(Giant Basin Feast) is the first thing come to my mind.

Poon Choi is a traditional dish of walled villages in New Territories. It can also be found in Hakka. As its name suggests, It is served in wooden, or metal basin. In the basin, there are many types of food such as fishball, mushroom, chicken, pork, duck, prawn and so on. They are placed and divided in different layers. Food like pigskins, Chinese radishes and beancurd are put in the bottom of the basin. In the middle, there are pork and Chinese dried mushroom. On the upper part, you will find roasted duck, chicken and prawn. The practice of dividing layers is really clever. Relatively dry ingredients are placed on the top while others, which can absorb sauce well are assigned in the lowest part. This allows sauces to flow down to the bottom of the basin as people start eating from the top. Delicious and juicy, isnt it?

Nowadays, Poon Choi is usually served during festivals, wedding banquet, house-warming event, celebration of the first month of a newborn baby and many other special and joyful occasions in walled villages. In the present, everyone can eat Poon Choi. However, actually, Poon Choi was first made for Emperor Huaizong of Song, a Chinese young Emperor who escaped to Hong Kong in late Song Dynasty of China by walled villagers in Kam Tin, New Territories. In order to serve this young Emperor well, the locals gathered their best cuisines and ingredients. However, in such a rush and sudden, they were not able to find an approiate container so they put all the food into a wooden basin. That was the very first Poon Choi. In the present days, we can have a taste of food that was served to the Emperor in the past. WOW! :D

To learn more about Poon Choi at present, I interviewed my friend Cam who is a daughter-in-law of a walled village family in Kam Tin. According to Cam, Poon Choi is not served very frequently. We can only have it in some big events and celebrations, as mentioned above. Very interestingly, she told me that Poon Choi in her village is a very big project. It is a team work among all the villagers. All the women help preparing the ingredients. For the cooking, it is men’s duty. It requires much physical strength because there are sooooooo many ingredients in the basin! When the cooking and other preparations are done, all the locals gather in an open space of the village to have the food together. In order words, Poon Choi does unite all the locals in the village. So sweet!

Sadly, I have never experienced Poon Choi yet. But I have asked my dear friend to invite me when it is going to be served in her village. I will keep looking forward to it! :D :D :D 

Poon Choi

Poon Choi

(1)   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intangible_Cultural_Heritage

About these ads
No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

%d bloggers like this: