Today’s the day…

Today’s the actual day of the Dragon Boat Festival also known as the DuanWu Jie (Double 5 Festival) but more commonly referred to as the Zhang (rice dumpling) Festival.

The other day, I had a post on the nyonya zhang or rice dumplings that my friend, Richard, made and was so kind as to give me a few. There are some like me who actually prefer that type which is also called the Pua Kiam-Tee Zhang (half-salty and sweet dumpling) as sugar is added so it is a little bit of both – sweet and salty. However, there are others who prefer the Hokkien bak zhang…

Hokkien bak zhang 1

…which is salty and meat with dried shitake mushrooms braised in soy sauce and five-spice powder (in place of the crushed ketumbar or coriander seeds in the nyonya variety) is used for the filling.

When my missus was making her not-very-successful ones, I saw her putting in some chunkier slices of the cooked meat and a few hay bee (dried prawns) in with the glutinous rice before wrapping the whole thing up in the bamboo leaves and boiling the dumplings.

However, in the case of these that I bought at a shop near my house, they had finely-chopped meat inside instead and though they were big…

Hokkien bak zhang 2

…they did not come cheap – RM3.20 each…

Hokkien bak zhang 3

…as they had salted egg yolk inside.

Hokkien bak zhang 4

They were pretty nice…but I was quite disappointed that there were no chestnuts inside as well. Considering the price, they should be able to add one at least or perhaps, a measly half even. Tsk! Tsk!

Well, whatever it is, I certainly would think twice about buying them if it had not been for the festival which would come only once a year – just to preserve the culture and tradition. Frankly, I would consider it a tad too expensive for the likes of me, I’m afraid…and with that kind of money, I would much sooner go and enjoy a plate of kampua noodles or Foochow fried mee and derive a lot more pleasure and satisfaction from it.

Anyway, Happy  DuanWu Jie, everyone and enjoy eating your zhangs!