India’s Hakka Chinese Legacy

Speaking of the Indian-Chinese community, its size—never very large in India—has shrunk considerably over time. But there is still a Chinatown in Tangra, Kolkata. The Hakka Chinese who had settled there worked mostly in the tanneries that once thrived in the area. Their descendants have scattered, but the Chinese New Year continues to be celebrated with gusto in Tangra. And the Hakka legacy lives on in other ways. Its most famous contribution is the distinctive Indian-Chinese cuisine, which has a large and devoted following even outside India. What can sum up this gastronomic fusion better than Gobi Manchurian? As any aficionado would note, this spicy dish has nothing to do with the Gobi Desert. But it has a lot to do with cauliflower. Even hole-in-the-wall Indian restaurants often serve Hakka noodles and Chilli chicken. In an earlier period, the Hakka Chinese also became known for the beauty parlors they owned and operated in India.

In a shameful chapter during the Indo-China war of the early ’60s, the Hakka Chinese in India came under suspicion and suffered persecution. A short film called The Legend of Fat Mama celebrates the life of Tangra’s residents. The Kali Chinese Temple is a landmark in that area. Kwai-Yun Li, now based in Canada, writes about India’s Hakka Chinese in her fictional works, which include The Last Dragon Dance, The Palm Leaf Fan and A Kiss Beside the Monkey Bars. She grew up in Kolkata’s Chhatawala Gali, where many of her stories are set.

Meiyang Chang, a Hakka Chinese dentist, saw his life change when he became an Indian Idol 3 finalist. He made his film debut in Badmash Company. According to the website Dhapa, Tina ki Chaabi is the first Hindi film to have scenes set in Tangra. One way the Hakka Chinese remain connected to India is through Bollywood movies. After attending a diaspora conference in Toronto last year, Richard wrote on the website: “I really luved [sic] the person singing Dil Deke Dekho. Thanks. Made me feel proud to be Hakka.”

source: khabar

ps: Meiyang Chang is HuBei Chinese dentist.


  1. Thien says:

    Meiyang is not hakka chinese, he is hubei chinese

  2. Slyvester says:

    Leon and ycli688

    The below video clip is worth posting for all to watch and feel good about here. The essence is very similar to documentary: Blooming Pei May ( youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qa03NJhwUfO ) labelling who we are – Chinese, Indian, Chinese-Indian, Indian-Chinese, Chindian or Rozak. The latter two terms are used widely in SEA. It won’t be any surprise that most Hakka Chinese currently still living in Tangra know who she is. It is with pride that she speaks English with little or virtually no Indian or Hakka accent fluently as well as Hindi – like a native. She is nobody but our very own desi made Chinese Indian daughter, Sylvia Ku. Do not know how well she speaks Mandarin though. The video clip was taped at a presentation session at National University of Singapore. Appreciate if any one could update on what she is doing now.


    Please get this video posted in Youtube format for ease of viewing. Thanks

  3. ycl1688 says:

    thanks for the heads up.

    it is truly amazing how a world citizen with multi lingual skill is.