The Hainanese Lup ( pronounced L-Ar-P ) is the dumpling inherited from the home island of Hainan. Bound in layers of fragrant coconut leaves and stuffed with juicy glutinous rice, salty dried shrimps, tender pork belly and more, it is a compact savoury meal in a neat little package.
Stuffing of salted egg yolk, fried onions with shrimps, pork belly, more shrimps and chestnuts. My aunt used her own idea of what additional stuffing to be included.
Yesterday in my grandma’s house, my aunt florence and Grand aunty Lan sat in traditional fashion on stools weaving the coconut lup skins one by one. Each piece is a memento of delicate hard work and an simple yet intricate design to the point that it is almost wasteful to open it up to enjoy the goodies inside. This cuisine is made only by the Hainanese dialect group.
- Take 2 strands of coconut leaves.
- Open it up into 2.
- Slit it open with a knife or scissors.
- Fold a knot at one end.
- That was the easy part. Now you go in and out in and out.
- Ok I really don’t know how to explain this. I think I should take a video of my aunt making and then post it online on how to make the wrappings.
- And voila! You have the coconut shell for the Lup.
- Then, through sole opening, put the rice, put the stuffing, put the rice, put some more stuffing, put the rice again.
Boil it in water for about an hour and there you have it. Lup to eat=)
It is perhaps a tradition that is slowly fading from in the Singaporean Hainanese community. A lot of time and effort is placed in making this traditional delight. Lup as it is, is usually made in the repeated double months of the Lunar calendar which happens every 3 years and it can be made for weddings and housewarmings to signify blessings and a bon voage for trips.
However, the traditions why Lup is given varies between the cities and the villages on the islands. In the cities, lup is more represented as a significance for good fortune and safety. While in the villages, it is more for celebratory and religious events.
For this year, the double month happens in June (the 5th month in the lunar calendar), each time when this happens, it is a different month in the chinese calendar.
Lup given to my family by relatives when we visited my maternal grandfather’s ancestral home in the village on Hainan Island. You see only 3 left, but these two baskets were full with Lups.
Also, on the 2nd day of a wedding in Hainan island, relatives would bring Lup to the newly wed couple to represent prosperity and childbirth. This Lup giving also happens when the Hainanese people visit their hometowns as a sign of “Welcome home”
It is also given as offerings to the ancestors as a sign of respect.
Apart from only the Lup to eat, there was the Sweet Potato Soup dessert. My Grand aunty Lan made this using sweet potato, ginger, brown sugar, pandan leaves and dried longans.
A delightful and refreshing way to finish off the meal!
I know you are craving for a sip =p
Many thanks to my relatives in both Singapore and Hainan for providing valuable historic information on this traditional Hainanese cuisine.