Food plays an important element during Chinese New Year. For the Hakka at Sabah, these few traditional New Year dishes using ingredients with auspicious symbols and meanings appear on the new year’s table.
1）Hakka Pork Roll 春卷
Hakka Pork Roll (Chun Kien) literally means “Egg Roll.” It is a traditional dish that originated from China. Sabah “Chun Kien” tastes and looks much different from egg roll in West Malaysia.
2）Hakka Yong To Fu 釀豆腐i
Hakka Yong Tofu (stuffed Tofu)釀豆腐is very popular in Sabah and can be found at economy noodle stalls. Yong Tofu can also be found in West Malaysia but Sabah’s version is different since Sabahans prefer to use minced pork. Additionally, the Tofu in Kota Kinabalu is much softer and fresher than West Malaysia’s Tofu. The combination of silky soft tofu and minced pork make it a mouth-watering dish suitable for breakfast, lunch or dinner. The best Yong Tofu is served at Tenom town; they claim their tofu tastes much better and they use the freshest pork meat.
3)Steamed Chicken 老水包粟雞
Steamed chicken (Corn-fed Chicken老水包粟雞 ) with salt. The steamed chicken is tender and juicy, great to serve for dinner with dipping sauce. Chicken must be served whole during Chinese New Year to symbolise family unity and togetherness.
4）Pork Belly with Yam芋头扣肉
One of the main stays in Sabah Hakka dishes is the steamed pork belly with yam (客家芋头扣肉). Locals call it Kiu Nyuk. This heavenly pork dish is labour intensive, time consuming and complex. Pork Belly is deep fried and sliced thickly, then alternately “sandwiched” with deep fried yam slices. The fish is thoroughly infused with red nam yee and five-spice powder.