Monday, May 8, 2017

The prominence of roast pig in Hong Kong (traditions)

Feasting on roast pig post blessing ceremony!
A number of delectable piggies got wheeled around 
on the streets of Shau Kei Wan during 
Around lunch time today, I passed by a group of people chomping on chunks of siu yoke (Chinese roasted pork) while standing on the side of the street, in front of a construction site.  Curious, I peeked in and saw that a roast pig cutting ceremony had taken place there -- and that plates of delicious looking siu yoke had been handed out to a bunch of people, including workers (still) wearing hard hats as they ate their food!  
Part of me wanted to walk in and ask if I could get a plate of that roast meat too.  But I felt like I had already acted unusually in some people's eyes by stopping to take photos of what was a normal part of Hong Kong life, so knew better than to confirm my serious weirdness to them!  Instead, I moved along, albeit with a big smile on my face -- since I do get satisfaction from seeing that the Big Lychee is a place where the traditional really still can exist along with modern practices and trend-fixated tendencies.   
In addition, I get a kick out of pig symbolizing good luck and plenty in this part of the world and  roasted pigs often being part of religious and cultural ceremonies as a result.  Think about it: how cool is it that eating a delicious food can have religious and cultural significance?  And then there's also the frankly pretty amusing realization (for the likes of me at least) that it's par for the course here in Hong Kong for whole roasted pigs to be wheeled about as part of annual birthday parade for a Taoist god that also features such as lion, dragon and unicorn dances! ;b 


Anonymous said...

Hi There,

I believe Taoists are generally vegetarians. When I was inducted int Taichi martial arts practice in the 1980s, the offering to the supposed yet unproven first generation grand master Zhang San Feng (we may not be able to prove it unless someone dug up some old enough documents saying otherwise) was just fruits.

If meat or sacrificing an animal is concerned, I think it is not of the Taoist believe\tradition at all. Maybe more towards Shamanism.


YTSL said...

Hi T --

Well, Tam Kung is a Taoist deity from what I've read and I've seen Taoist priests taking part in the Tam Kung Birthday parade at Shau Kei Wan. Also, from what I know, there is variation among Taoists with regards to diets (similar to Buddhists). I wouldn't be surprised though to hear of quite a bit of Taoism being mixed with Shamanism since Taoism appears to be an inclusive religion and I've also seen such as figures of Buddha and other Buddhist deities (some of whom have crossed over from Hinduism) in Taoist temples.

Paul said...

Somewhat related and somewhat unrelated topic ... what are your fave cheap Cantonese BBQ joints for suckling pigs?


YTSL said...

Hi Paul --

For suckling pig (and also siu yoke), I like Sun Yuen Restaurant over in Sheung Wan. The funny thing though is that its char siu is just plain ordinary and its roast goose pretty disappointing!

Paul said...

Wow I've never heard of this place. Thanks!


YTSL said...

Hi again Paul --

It's worth noting that Sun Yuen Restaurant doesn't have an English language sign (but does have an English menu). Maybe that's why it's escaped the attention of a lot of Western visitors for the most part (thus far)...