What the Hakkas Do with Leftovers

13 06 2009

LunchLet’s say you have a delicious lunch like the one pictured to the left. Perhaps you’ve made a little too much… so what do you do? Feed it to the ducks? Or turn it into a nice Hakka pancake called “ding bian cuo (鼎邊銼)”?

Well if it tastes as good as the food in the picture to the left, then the ducks are going to be very disappointed. They won’t be getting their greedy little beaks on these leftovers!

Recently I went to a village in Huoyanshan Miaoli (苗栗縣火炎山稻鴨庄) where they make “Duck Field Rice“. It was part of a leadership program by China Life Insurance and Asian Wall Street Journal in which young people were encouraged to find new ways to prevent food waste.

The Hakka people from the village, in turn, taught us about a traditional dish called “ding bian cuo” which is a great way to use leftovers. Continue reading to see photos from my trip!

If you would like to hear commentary of my Miaoli experience, visit the Radio Taiwan International web page and click on one of the links next to “Saturday” in the upper-left-hand corner.

It all begins with "Duck Field Rice". That's the basis for the meal that I ate wit these young international students. It also becomes the basis for the "ding bian cuo" that we will make with the leftovers.

It all begins with "Duck Field Rice". That's the basis for the meal that I ate with these young international students. It also becomes the basis for the "ding bian cuo" that we will make with the leftovers.

These ducks act as farmers, helping to keep pesky snails out of the paddies so that the farmers don't have to use pesticides.

Quack! These ducks act as farmers, helping to keep pesky snails out of the rice paddies so that the farmers don't have to use pesticides.

The next step is to chop up the leftovers into even sized pieces.

The next step is to chop up the leftovers into even sized pieces.

I thought this milky batter was made from flour, but it turns out that they use powder made from crushing rice grains. This powder is mixed with water.

I thought this milky batter was made from regular flour, but it turns out that they use rice flour -- a powder made from crushing rice grains. The rice flour is mixed with water.

Bowls of batter mixed with chopped leftovers wait to be made into "ding bian cuo."

Bowls of batter mixed with chopped leftovers wait to be made into "ding bian cuo."

The mixture goes into the walk, and is pushed up onto the sides to give it more surface area.

The mixture goes into the wok, and is pushed up onto the sides to give it more surface area.

Done! Once they are brown, they're ready to be removed the wok and inserted into your mouth (sorry ducks, none for you!).

Done! Once they are brown, they're ready to be removed from the wok and inserted into your mouth (sorry ducks, none for you!).

Ahhh... the finished product: a yummy, savory Hakka-style pancake that tastes good and is a great disguise for your leftovers. PS: The colorful stripes in the wok are not edible -- they are a reflection of the tent overhead.

Ahhh... the finished product: a yummy, savory Hakka-style pancake that tastes good and is a great disguise for your leftovers. PS: The colorful stripes in the wok are not edible -- they are a reflection of the tent overhead. Thought you should know.

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2 responses

13 06 2009
Michael Stevenson

Wow, this sure does look delicious! The photos look great and I can’t wait to listen to the Feast Meets West on RTI but I have to wait until Sunday to listen as the link never seems to work on Saturday and shortwave reception is appalling at the moment! Thanks Andrew for this one, funny thing is, this is usually what my wife does with left overs too but we use normal flour rather than rice flour! Best wishes from Australia! Michael Stevenson, Port Macquarie, NSW

23 06 2009
Rose

Awesome sharing, Andrew! I never know this and I am living in Taiwan, you rock man!

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