Festive Food — Turnip Cakes


Turnip cakes is a Chinese dim sum dish. As it’s a traditional Chinese dish made of shredded radish and plain rice flour, which is unlike how Western-style turnips cakes are made. Turnip cakes are often cut into regular slices and sometimes pan-fried before serving. Although it is plain to look at, a good pan-fried turnip cake is a flavor explosion.

My family members always gather around to make this iconic and delicious dish right before Chinese Lunar New Year. It is easy to make and that’s why even young toddlers can be involved, which makes it a truly family activity. Family members across generations can enjoy making the food and the festive atmosphere in this reunion. 

Turnip cakes are very important to my family. Some of my relatives live outside of Hong Kong where Chinese Lunar New Year is not celebrated. I remember that one of my younger cousins who is living in England felt so excited to come back to Hong Kong just because he extremely loves our homemade turnips cakes which outcompete all other turnip cakes sold in terms of taste of the cakes itself and the taste of home. Turnip cakes make family members united.

Celebrating festivals offers us a chance to maintain the relationships, and festive food serves as the bridge connecting us all.