When “The Hakka Cookbook” appeared last year, I immediately set up a cooking date with its author, Linda Lau Anusasananan, who lives in the exotic and far-flung city of San Mateo, south of San Francisco.
The book’s subtitle is “Chinese Soul Food From Around the World,” which could mean almost anything. The Hakkas are sometimes thought of as the Jews of China, because they’re dispersed all over the place. But the Hakka people cannot even point to an original homeland (sources say “north-central China,” but that’s a big place), and the word Hakka roughly translates as “guest families.” These are itinerants, and you can find Hakkas everywhere. “Some people call us dandelions, because we thrive in poor soil,” says Anusasananan, who was born in California. She has also traveled widely to learn new recipes for the book.
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