It has been some time since I’ve stepped into a museum. Recently, I discovered that there is a museum in town that is dedicated for Hopo (河婆) Hakka. This museum is called Hopo Cultural Museum and to my surprise, it is strategically located at Changkat Thambi Dollah (behind Berjaya Times Square). It was launched last year and spanned 2,488 square feet.
Hopo Cultural Museum @ Changkat Thambi Dollah Spearheaded by Dato’ Sri Chong Ket Pen
The only knowledge I had about Hopo is – Hopo dialect is the most difficult Hakka dialect. Thanks to Dato’ Sri Chong Ket Pen for spearheading the creation of Hopo Cultural Museum together with Hopo Cultural Foundation. The existence of Hopo Cultural Museum enables us and the future generation to learn about Hopo heritage and culture.
Hopo in Malaysia
Hopo is one of the many sub-linguistic groups of Hakka. 200 years ago, Hopo people migrated from Jiexi, eastern Guangdong province, China to Malaysia because the living condition is too tough. It is just too difficult for them to survive in poverty. Back then, Hopo people are quite inferior and don’t dare to tell people that they’re Hopo due to their poverty.
In Sarawak, Hopo people mostly worked in pepper farms. In fact, most of them were involved in agricultural industry.
Thanks to their perseverance, many Hopo people turned out to be successful and they’re not afraid to admit that they’re Hopo people.
In Malaysia, there are half a million of Hopo people out of 3 million worldwide. That’s a pretty huge population! In China, there are more than 1 million people who are of Hopo descent. In Indonesia, most Hopo people are residing in Pontianak. Former Jakarta Governor, Ahok is also a Hopo. Most Hopo people bear the surname Liew, Chong, Wong and Chai.
There are many tasty food that we didn’t realize is Hopo food. We learned so much from this sharing session with Dato’ Sri Chong Ket Pen.
Lui Cha (擂茶)
Lui Cha or Lei Cha has been pretty wide known now especially among health conscious people. It is easily recognized by a bowl of green drink that accompanies the rice. Using pestle and mortar, vegetables, tea leaves, roasted nuts, roasted grains, and herbs are pounded into paste before hot water is added and stirred. To enjoy it, you can either pour the drink into the rice or treat it as soup to accompany with rice.
Yong Tau Fu (酿豆腐)
Yong Tau Fu is another dish that we Chinese love to eat, but might be unaware that it’s a Hopo Hakka dish. Marinated minced meat is stuffed into tofu cube or other vegetables and then deep fried until golden brown. That’s how our favorite dish was made!
Hopo Mochi (菜板)
A snack made of rice flour that has texture like mochi. Inside, it is filled with salted pork, leek, and shrimp. Very addictive and tasty!
If you’re interested to know more about Hopo food and Hopo culture, feel free to visit Hopo Cultural Museum.
Hopo Cultural Museum
65 & 67, 1st Floor, Wisma Hopo,
Changkat Thambi Dollah, Off Jalan Pudu,
55100 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Tel: 03-2148 6567
This 1st December, Hopo Cultural Festival will be held in Malaysia. The whole day session attended by Hopo people from all over the world will cover talks, discourse, food tasting and cultural night.
In an effort to preserve Hopo Culture, Chinese faculty in all universities in the world will also receive free copy of book about Hopo that they’re currently working on.