Traditional Cuisine of Wa People

The Wa people have two or three meals a day. Their staple food is rice, which is complemented with kaoliang, buckwheat, maize and beans. Chicken congee and camellia congee are regarded as their delicacies. Chilies are a great favorite with all the Wa people, young or old, and a meal is not considered complete without chilies.


Wa women weathers the rice in the sun. (Photo from

The Wa people mainly eat pork, beef and chicken. They also eat rats and over ten kinds of insects such as bamboo pupas, red caterpillars, besom caterpillars, and wax gourd caterpillars, etc. Usually the edible insects are mixed with rice and cooked to be congee, which tastes hot and delicious when combined with vegetables, salt and chilies. The typical Wa dishes are: camellia congee, grilled snake meat, peas fried with ant eggs, fried firewood worms, etc.

The Wa people like keeping bees, chewing betel nuts and drinking wine and bitter tea. The wine they drink is home-brewed. The tea, boiled in a pottery pot and brewed into a thick paste, is dark brown in color and bitter in taste. Bitter as it is, the tea is remarkably refreshing and is a great thirst- quencher. The Wa people, young or old, have the habit of chewing betel nuts. While working, resting or chatting, they are often seen chewing betel nuts.

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