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A Look Into The Unique Li Food Culture in Hainan

The Li people are one of the minority groups mainly living in Hainan. They can speak Mandarin, Miao language and some Hainan dialects. Some Li people cohabitate with other minority groups. As a very important part of the culture in Hainan, the Li people's food culture definitely gets a lot of attention.



The Li people have a very colorful food culture. The people usually eat three times a day with rice as their staple food. Sometimes they also eat grains. They have a different style of cooking and prefer to cook rice using pottery clay pots and cast iron pots.


Zhutong Rice (竹筒饭) is cooked in a very unique way. People put rice and water in a bamboo tube and seal it. The tube is then thrown into a fire until the rice is cooked. When it's ready, they cut the tube into two and eat the goluptious rice. Sometimes, the Li people put meat, sticky rice and salt into the Zhutong Rice as well, which is regarded as treat for distinguished guests.



Leigonggen (雷公根) is a herb seen growing in the wild and often found on the Li people’s tables. Cooking Leigonggen with small fish and shrimp or meat bones is a very common way to use this herb.



Xiang (祥) is only eaten during big festivals or when guests visit. Xiang includes Yucha (鱼茶) and Roucha (肉茶):


Yucha is made by fermenting high-mountain grown rice and fresh water sashimi. The ingredients will be sealed into a glass pot for 25 days. It is a favorable appetizer particularly for sour food fans.

Roucha is made using raw meat, stir-fried rice flour and salt. Everything is then sealed in pottery pots for a month. A very mouth-watering dish for people to enjoy.



Eating mountain rats, field mice, house mice and squirrels is also a part of Li food culture.



Li staple foods are divided as follows:

1. Rice, including white rice, red rice and sticky rice.

2. Shanlan Rice (山兰米饭). Shanlan rice has an aromatic scent, unique texture and plenty of nutrition. It is usually used to treat guests.

3. Zhutong Rice. Zhutong Rice can be preserved for about one week, so it is a preferred food for Li people when they go on long journeys. During wedding ceremonies, the host will treat guests with Zhutong Rice.

4. Sweet Potato Rice. Every household of the Li people will grow sweet potatoes. They prefer to put sliced sweet potatoes into rice or porridge, which is a very healthy food and tastes sweet.

5. Pumpkin Rice. In Wuzhishan, Li people also put sliced pumpkin into rice. The Pumpkin Rice is delicious treat.

6. Yellow Ginger Rice. Mash yellow ginger and keep the ginger juice. Cook rice with the yellow ginger juice. Yellow Ginger Rice has a unique fragrance and provides many health benefits especially for new mothers.

7. Corn Rice. Dry corn kernels are pounded into small pieces and used to cook porridge or put into rice.

Source: www.d1xz.net (第一星座网)

Translated by: Hellosany

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