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Sorry, the last copies of POR PORs Cookbook were sold in October 2015

Home cooking through the generations since Chinese Women Settled in New Zealand over the last 100 years

This book contains over 140 recipes and 15 Chinese women’s life stories.

Download a flyer and order form below.

Through the generations the recipes have been passed down by SHOW and TELL

We learnt by observation not by recipe.

My aim was to record these home cooked recipes that we all love to eat.

When the Chinese first settled in NZ, they used whatever fresh produce was available to them and added their own flavourings and seasonings.

Aim of Cook Book;--Within the recipes sections;

  1. to record the Por por’s recipes as well as my own recipes.
  2. to record recipes for my daughter, and generation X & Y who now live all over the world and with their busy careers eat out more than they cook BUT yearn for the meals that they were brought up on.
  3. to present and record Home Chinese cooking in NZ over the last 90-100 years.
  4. to provide recipes using a base of healthy food ingredients for all New Zealanders who are interested in Chinese cooking.

With 15 Biographies of Chinese women to record 

  1. Life stories of grandmothers of varying ages the oldest 88yrs to the youngest of 65 years.
  2. Their ancestral roots as related to first arrival to NZ.
  3. Interests and achievements, contributions to their community.
  4. 2-3 of their family recipes and any significant events or customs of the past.

Background  Information;

In the 1901 NZ census, it showed that there were 78 Chinese women to 2, 885 Chinese men. The men folk had left their villages in Southern China due to poverty caused by famines, floods, attacks from bandits and civil wars.

Upon hearing of gold in NZ in the 19th century and the chance of making their fortunes, they left their wives and families and came to New Zealand. They had planned to stay a few years and return to their families and live in comfort. Unfortunately this was not so.

In the 1921 census there were 2993 men and 273 women. Chinese men worked wherever they could get a job, lived frugally and when they saved enough money, set up small businesses such as market gardens, fruit and vegetable shops and laundries.

As Chinese women, either born in NZ or had come to live here as the government immigration laws permitted, the families lived off the bare necessities, raised their families and worked long hours with their husbands.  It was not easy as they faced verbal abuse and racial prejudice. Many New Zealanders may not have understood what hardships the Chinese endured in the earlier years up to the 1960s.

I received a small monetary grant from the NZ Chinese Poll Tax Heritage Trust which enabled me to commence this book. My Por Pors Cookbook meets the obligations of the trust as it records the lives of Chinese women, and recipes.

I hope that this book will be a fine tribute to all these great women for their fine contribution to the New Zealand Society.

September 25, 2013.

Carolyn King

Reviewed by:

Margaret Agnew, Journalist, Past editor of The Christchurch Press, Weekend Supplement.

“ Food is one of the strongest ties to our culture and this unique cookbook is an important link to the culinary past and present of our multi-generational New Zealand-Chinese community. The women (and men) have been cooking up a taste of home since they arrived from mainland China in the early 1900s. Modern Kiwis of Chinese descent will find this book especially fascinating for a taste of our Porpor’s past. A poignant and piquant slice of culinary history.”

Kuan Meng Goh (ONZM, JP, Ph D, FRSNZ), Emeritus Professor, Lincoln University; Canterbury Branch President and Past National President, New Zealand Chinese Association

“It is widely known that few other cultures are as food oriented as the Chinese. According to the famous Chinese scholar and archaeologist, K.C. Chang, “Chinese people are especially occupied with food and food is at the centre of, or at least it accompanies or symbolizes, many social interactions.” Traditionally, in Chinese culture, there is always an important relationship between food and health. This book adds a new dimension to the relationship by linking the experiences of Chinese grandmothers to their recipes. The recipes as presented are not only home-proven to succeed but are also authentic and achievable. Most people enjoy Chinese food and the recipes provide the opportunity to cook these delicious dishes. “

Meilin Chong, NZCA, Auckland Branch Committee Member.

“This is a beautiful, well presented and illustrated Chinese cook book which is informative combined with family stories. It brings back fond memories of childhood days and the foods that our mothers and grandmothers cooked for us.”