Tag Archives: dialect

Minced Pork Stew Ng Family Style


This is a recipe passed down to my mother from my grandmother. I reached out to my mother for the receipt of Pork Stew. It is a very traditional Chinese dish, specifically within Hokkein families. Hokkein is a dialect spoken by Southeastern parts of China, and in Singapore, it is one of the most common dialects spoken.




Dried Chinese Mushroom – 6 medium pieces

(wash ns oak in hot water for ½ hour. Thinly sliced)
Tau Pok – 1 packet

Minced garlic – 2 tablespoon

Chopped onion – 3 tablespoon

Chinese wine (Hua Tiao Qiu) – 1 bottle

(around 375ml)

Chicken stock – 800ml

Rock sugar – 5 small cubes

Dark soy sauce – 4 tablespoon

Light soy sauce – 1 tablespoon

White Pepper Powder

Cooking Instructions

Add a bit of oil, stir fry the garlic lightly, followed by onion

Stir fry until both is translucent (don’t brown it)
Add mince pork and make sure all of the pieces break up nicely, when the pork is cooked, add the mushroom

Add dark and light soy sauce, stir fry a little longer until fragant

Add the rice wine, rock sugar, add chicken stock until it covers above the pork. Around 1 inch. Let is simmer for ½ hour or longer.

Add the tau pork and cooked hard boil egg (optional)
Simmer another ½ hour. If the water evaporates, add more chicken stock.



This was my absolute favorite dish growing up and the first dish I asked my mother for the recipe when I left for college and had to start cooking for myself. It is a comfort dish that reminds me of home. On a personal level, it is a recipe that everyone in my family knows how to make and something that I had eaten growing up, thus it feels incredibly nostalgic. On a cultural level, this dish comes from China but has a Singaporean take on it. Pork stew is often made using large pieces of Pork Belly. However, this recipe using minced pork instead. In Singapore, most of the Chinese population were immigrants that were working to send money back to their families. Thus, they did not have a lot of money. The pork belly was a much more expensive cut of meat and minced pork was much more readily available. This pork stew, while having the taste of the dishes in China, the cut of meat is different and that is what makes it uniquely Singaporean. On a cultural and historical level, it reminds me of what makes Singapore, Singapore. And it reminds me of the hardship that was faced by my grandparents as they worked hard to make Singapore go from a fishing village to one of the busiest and most cosmopolitan cities in the world.

Slurs and Insults in a Coastal City

Background and context: The interviewer and the informant are both residents of Qingdao, a Northeastern coastal city in China. The city is known for its beaches, ports, and seafood. A big portion of the city’s economy relies on tourism. 

The informant talks in Mandarin, but with the Qingdao dialect. The interviewer and the informant talk about unique slurs and insults that only Qingdao people use.

1. 潮巴

pinyin: cháo ba

Transliteration: moist [“ba” doesn’t have meaning]

Translation: Idiot

2. 你脑子进水了

pinyin: ni nao zi jin shui le

Transliteration: You’ve got water in your head.

Translation: You’re so stupid.

Analysis: Because Qingdao is a coastal city and the sea has a very important role in Qingdao people’s life, language used by Qingdao people is heavily influenced by imageries and characters associated with the sea. In both insults, water or “moist” is directly linked with the geographical character of the city. “Moist” or having water in one’s head both signify a loss of control, a form of imbalance between humans and the ocean. This shows that Qingdao’s connection with the ocean is more complicated than people’s dependence on the sea. There might be an implicit fear as well in not being able to control the ocean and maintain a balance between human life and natural forces.

Jersey pizza

My grandfather called a new pizza parlor in the neighborhood to order a pizza pie (a lot of people in Jersey just refer to a pizza as “pie”) and when he asked for a large plain pie, they told him that they were sorry, but they didn’t serve pie.

My grandpa said it’s just something you know growing up in the area.