May 16, 2019
The Hui people are a group of over 10.5 million Muslims living primarily in northwest China. It is deemed an honor and an expression of trust for a non-Hui to be invited as a guest to a Hui family.
A Hui host will serve you a covered bowl of tea in Hui style. In addition to tea leaves, sometimes up to eight items will be added, including dry fruits or flowers such as red dates, rock sugar, chrysanthemums or roses. This tea is called the “eight precious tea.”
If the Hui invites his guests to dine in his home, the host usually does not sit among the guests but stands aside to humbly serve them. The Hui people never waste food. Even the crumbs on the table are swept into their hands and put into their mouth.
One time, I was invited to a banquet in a Hui friend’s home. I was regarded as “the most honourable guest” and sat in the middle of the table. After many courses of delicious dishes, the last dish of a large plate of a fatty chicken was placed on the table in front of me. Everyone looked at me and said: “As the most honorable guest, you must eat the chicken’s bottom, otherwise, we can’t leave this house.” What an unexpected experience for a foreigner!
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