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“Double burner” stove in San Tau Village
(Photo taken in 2021)

Around San Tau Village were mostly farmlands. The village was built aside mountains with its back against the woods. Streams on the mountains flowed through the village and into the sea. Villagers of San Tau Village were mainly from the Tse’s, Ho’s, Cheng’s, Chau’s, Wong’s and Chan’s families. At that time, the villagers were engaged in farming, but most of them bought white rice from Tai O and exchanged crops for fishery products and firewood.

The Open Stove for Everyone

There is a “double burner” stove built with bricks in San Tau Village. Between the stove and the Village Office is an open space where villagers would get together for celebration on festive days. According to the villagers, they would celebrate every lunar new year by holding a reunion dinner there. And the dishes they enjoy together (such as fried vermicelli with dried shrimp) are cooked with this firewood stove.

Open Stove
Open Stove
San Tau Now & Then
Aerial Photos from Lands Department
©The Government of the Hong Kong SAR Reference no. G14 /2022
What do these sayings related to food mean? (Matching Game)
Try pairing the two-part allegorical sayings related to cooking!
No omelette can be made without breaking some eggs
Cut the mustard
Go down in flames
Like two peas in a pod
Out of frying pan and into the fire
Things are going from bad to worse
Do a good job
You don’t get something for nothing
Fail spectacularly
They are always together
Check for Answer
The Various Fillings of Cha Kwo Steamed with Firewood
Cha Kwo Making Technique (Demonstrated by the Tang clan in Tai Po Tau)
(Source: Intangible Cultural Heritage Office)

In the past, villagers in San Tau mainly lived on farming. Back then, they would make all kinds of special Hakka food in the traditional way at special times and during festivals, such as brewing black glutinous rice wine, steaming radish Cha Kwo (Sticky Rice Dumpling) with firewood and so on. The filling of radish Cha Kwo mainly consisted of radishes, mushrooms and dried scallops.

Cha Kwo is the most common Hakka traditional dim sum, and the making technique of Cha Kwo has been included in the Intangible Cultural Heritage Inventory of Hong Kong. It is indispensable for deities worshipping and guests serving, and is welcomed as gifts for various occasions. To make Cha Kwo, mix glutinous rice flour with water, knead the mixture into balls, and then roll out dumpling wrappers. After that, wrap a moderate amount of filling into each wrapper and knead it into a ball again. Finally, place the balls one by one on a large steamer, put the steamer into a pot and steam it with firewood. Cha Kwo can be salty or sweet, and there is also seasonal Cha Kwo, i.e., “Paederia scandens” Cha Kwo. As this kind of Cha Kwo will only be made during Ching Ming Festival, it is also called “Ching Ming Tsai”. Ching Ming Tsai is made of the herb “Paederia scandens” and glutinous rice flour without filling. It is said that Ching Ming Tsai has the effects of cooling and detoxification.

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Freshly Steamed
Cha Kwo