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Sep 16, 2006 12:01 AM

hakka chinese food? 'splain please!

what's the deal with hakka chinese food?

i live about a 30 second walk from danforth dragon, and in all my years here (4) have never ventured in, although i'm next door at sakawaya all the time.

i'm a born and bred fanatic of chinese cuisine, but i was raised in markham so i'm spoiled for the choices up there. what is hakka chinese cuisine? how does it differ? anyone recommend any particular dishes?

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  1. Hello vox... we meet again. :-)

    In the GTA hakka is billed as 'indian style chinese food', although I think the dishes vary from place to place. Think chinese prepartions with indian (ie. curry) flavours. It seems to be hit or miss on Chowhound, some people like it while others don't. Such is life.

    Anyways, my favourite is Lin Garden in Scarborough, it is considered one of the better hakka places in the GTA (at least for me anyways)... the chili chicken, house shrimp, and green beans combo does it for me everytime. Their chicken pakoras and manchurian vegetable balls are also great.

    As for Danforth Dragon... ordered from there a bunch of times, its ok but not outstanding (relative to Lin Garden imo). I think their best dish is the crispy honey garlic beef, but their chili chicken , chicken pakoras, and a few others are decent as well. Take a look at their site for their definition of what hakka is... and you can also search 'hakka' here, the topic has been covered a bunch of times.

    6 Replies
    1. re: Vise

      while i have never tried the dragon, i have tried (and will NEVER go back to) the lin garden. Dry chili chicken, with little flavour. .

      In the west end my fav is the ming room. I have tried alot of their menu but their chili chicken is one of the best around.

      around the airport there is china garden also very good. (line ups most lunch hours)

      east end i like china cottage also a hot (and they can make it even hotter if you want) chili chicken

      1. re: galambo

        where is china cottege? thanks in advance

        1. re: chalenegirl

          pharmacy one block east of vic park, on the north side.

        1. re: chalenegirl

          It's in Scarborough... Pharmacy & Sheppard, just south of Sheppard on the west side in a small plaza. It's actually right next store to Cafe Michi which has been discussed here as well.

      2. From an Ethno-Historical perspective, the term Hakka refers to an ethnical distinct group of people originally from part of China. The Hakka have been particularly important at various points in chinese history -- particularly the Taiping Rebellion. Theri migratory history and outsider status has led to the formation of Hakka communities outside of China -- particularly in Calcutta, Malaysia or even in the Carribean.

        Even Hakka cuisine from within China has elements that show influence from the subcontinent, but, Vise is right that Hakka cuisine in Toronto seems to have particularly strong ties to the expat communities of Hakka in Calcutta or the Carribean and taste strongly of those cuisines.

        For more info on the people try:

        Even if you don't like Wiki, there are some links at the bottom of the article.

        1. galambo, I've had Lin Garden's chili chicken and green beans several times and loved them. I could never describe the chili chicken as 'dry'. Just moist, flavourful and delicious. On the other hand, I'd like to try some of the other places you mentioned.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Yongeman

            we will agree to dis-agree. Lin garden is in the bottom of my list for rest. your maybe the top, so be it.

            Ming room, which i mentioned earlier is the best of the lot, with china garden a close second. There in the west is a place called bombay chopsticks, one of the first hakha in toronto. last time i went the service was not so good, but the food was not bad... a tad more money though

          2. I'd really enjoy seeing some examples of "subcontinent influence" on Chinese Hakka food, simply because I can't see ANY. Hakkas(or kejia in Guoyu, lit. guest people)tend to be from upcountry Guangdong province and most are Meixian dialect speakers. They were once scattered around s.e. China, mainly in marginal areas but often took work at the fringes of urban economies. I guess their closest Western social analogue would be the Cajuns--uprooted, linguistically distinct, and culturally dissimilar from the larger society around them. So-called "Hakka" Sino-Indian food doesn't have much to do with any of this.

            1. Kagemusha, you're absolutely right. I wrote that sentence went away and thought about it and realised I had it wrong -- but, the edit feature disappears after couple of hours and now I can't change it.

              The cuisine is distinct though. Tofu and pork heavy, seafood poor and a sizable number of salt-cured dishes.