Miao Cuisine, Simple and Authentic

Miao people 2 You may think Miao/Hmong people are wealthy as wearing splendid silver jewelry, but in reality, most Miao/Hmong living in mountains with poor transportation and far away from commercial cities, most Miao live in simple lifestyle.

Miao/Hmong food is quite simple even during holidays and weddings. The main food is rice. Other foods are yams, millet, corn, wheat, buckwheat, and sorghum. All of them are cooked in a bamboo steamer. The Miao like hot pepper and all their food is spicy. They also like sour flavor. Vegetables are their main dish. However, they do have a few interesting delicacies. Food displayed on their table is different from any other Chinese food.


Oil- Tea


Miao People 4 Miao People 5

If you go to Miao/Hmong village, you may feel shocked when the host serves you bowls after bowls of delicious oil-tea. You may feel forced to drink them all. Oil-tea is made of ginger, salt, and of course, oil. All of these ingredients are fried and mixed before put into a pot to boil with water. After the water is boiled, beans, peanuts, corn, glutinous rice, spring onions, garlic, and peppers are added. It is rich and tasty served in bowls with chopsticks. When you don’t want to drink any more, just put your chopsticks into the bowl and that signals you don’t want any more.


Sour Soup


Miao People 6 Miao people have a saying that one can’t walk if he /she doesn’t eat sour food for 3 days. Sour food is so popular that almost every Miao family has a jar to contain a sour soup with different vegetables. The vegetables can be leeks, carrots, radishes and cucumber. These vegetables are cut into pieces and mixed together with glutinous rice flour, salty water and pepper. Put all these into a jar and the soup will be ready in about 10 days. Miao people like to cook sour food together with meat, chicken or fish.


Rice Wine


Miao People 7 Like most Chinese liquor, Miao wine is made of rice. Wine toasting combined with singing and dancing are Miao’s special ways to welcome guests. For important guests, wine toasting start from the village gate all the way to their homes, usually 12 bowls along the way. The guests need to drink all these bowls of wine before arriving. If the guests can’t finish, they’ll be challenged and laughed at by the Miao people.

Miao/Hmong cuisine is rich and unique which reflect their history and interesting culture. In fact, Miao cuisine inspires the designs of Miao jewelry as well.

by Xiao Xiao @ InteractChina.com

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7 thoughts on “Miao Cuisine, Simple and Authentic

  1. I was wondering, are you Miao/Hmong? I just came upon your blog, trying to research on Miao cuisine. Also, it would be awesome if you can find and post some Miao food recipes if possible. I would love to try and make food that my long ago ancestors once ate.


    1. Dear Dina,
      I’m not a Hmong, but we are located in Southwest China where most Hmong/Miao ethnic tribes are. I have been interested in Hmong/Miao history, custom and culture. Most Hmong/Miao food recipes are written in Chinese. I could translate some for you if you like. I could also share you some website about Hmong/Miao recipes but they are in Chinese though. 🙂
      A recipe of a famous Miao food “fish in sour soup” is attached for your reference:
      Step 1, chop a snakehead into pieces, and then pickle it with salt, ginger, cooking wine and white vinegar for ten minutes;
      Steps 2, heat oil, add ginger, garlic, rod chilli, pickled chillies. Saute for 2 minutes;
      Step 3, pour into the tomatoes sour soup and boil it for 3 minutes;
      Step 4, add more water;
      Step 5, add the fish and cook until it is cooked;
      Finally, sauce with scallion and ground pepper.


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