Something I never had…

This was something that I had never seen, much less eaten before…

Banh Tet 1

mamakucing gave me these when I was in KL at the end of May till the beginning of June and at first, I thought they were the Cantonese pillow chang (dumplings) but they were not. Actually, they were the Vietnamese dumplings called Banh Tet

Banh Tet 2

This is a savoury but sometimes sweetened cake made primarily from glutinous rice, which is rolled in a banana leaf into a thick, log-like cylindrical shape…

Banh Tet 4

…with mung bean and pork fillings, then boiled. After cooking, the banana leaf is removed and the cake is sliced into wheel-shaped servings…and I read somewhere that I could pan-fry them lightly to eat.

I took them out of the freezer on the day of the Duanwu Jie (端午节) or the Dragon Boat Festival, also known as the Chang Festival. I had to defrost it first before trying to slice it. Unfortunately, I found that it was too crumbly so I was not able to cut it into into nice slices. Perhaps it was because there was too much mung beans inside and once cut, the whole thing would just fall apart. In the end, I just steamed it to heat it up and ate…

Banh Tet 4

It was very nice. The taste was different from the different kinds of chang that we would be more familiar with. The pulut (glutinous rice) had a taste of its own – very fragrant and very nice with the use of the banana leaves to wrap it up…and there was the mung bean taste to add to that and also that of the meat. I loved the meat that they had inside – something like the canned stewed pork, maybe a lighter and nicer version. I did wish they had more meat though…especially at the ends where there were only the mung beans, no meat. On the whole, I would say that I liked it a lot!

Papakucing kept telling me to pan-fry it to eat but I had given one to my mum and eaten up my own so there wasn’t anymore. Well, it so happened that my mum did not want to try so she asked me to take it back. I wouldn’t know whether it was because I told her I had only two and I had given her one – she’s always been like that, not eating herself and saving it for the children.

Anyway, this time around, I cut it cold from the fridge without removing the banana leaf and I managed it quite well without making a mess. Then I greased the pan with a bit of oil and lightly fried the slices…

BT - lightly-fried

…before sitting down to eat with Thai chili sauce mixed with my missus’ homemade pounded cili padi dip. Oooooo…it was soooooo very much nicer this way but unfortunately, that’s the last of the lot unless some kind soul thinks it fitting to give me some more again. Wink! Wink! Hehehehehehe!!!!

So, did you get to eat a lot of changs during the festival this year? I did not go out to buy any – in fact, I had stopped doing that for a while now. The ones here would be what we call the Hokkien chang which would be darker with the use of dark soy sauce and five spice powder. I was told that this would be the kind one would find in Taiwan which came as no surprise to me as there are many Hokkiens in the island republic.

Unfortunately, over here these days, for RM2.00, you can get a smaller one in which you can hardly see any meat at all. It seems that they use minced meat and mix it with the pulut and everything else. The taste is still there but it is not the same anymore and without doubt, the pleasure of eating it is gone. The RM3.00 ones would be much bigger but inside, you will find more or less the same thing, just a bit more of it and they’ve salted egg added. Sadly though, there would be so little of the egg that more often than not, you may be able to taste it but not see it.

Fortunately, I was given some changs as well by mamakucing and I managed to save three for the festival…


Hers would probably be the mainland ones…not the Taiwan Hokkien ones as they were lighter without the strong soy sauce and five spice powder taste.

As you can see, she had a lot of filling inside including the star attraction – the very delicious stewed pork belly…


…and other than that, she had chestnut, mung beans, shitake mushroom, dried prawn and salted egg inside so you can imagine how you would be able to savour the different tastes as you eat around that huge thing. Yummmmm!!!!!

That’s it for the festival this year and thank you once again, mamakucing – you certainly saved the day! I will have to start worrying about where I will get the changs from this same time next year but I guess we’ll just have to cross the bridge when we come to it…

Author: suituapui

Ancient relic but very young at heart. Enjoys food and cooking...and travelling and being with friends.

24 thoughts on “Something I never had…”

  1. Interesting Asian variations. Proof that hundreds of millions of people love dumplings, heh 😀 I had no changs this year so far =)

    Lots available all over KL. I saw people selling here and there but I did not buy any. The last time I bought was at a shop/stall right in from of BB Plaza in Bukit Bintang…in 1986 and in the years that followed – VERY nice…and the tua-pao also. They’ve got rid of that old shops and made the place “nicer” and since then, I have not bought any. Dunno where this one had moved to… 😦

  2. It looks good! 🙂

    I didn’t see it when I was in Hanoi last time but I always like bak chang. Surprisingly, Sibu ones are still the ones I like the most, although some Nyonya ones here are really good too.

    I like the ones with all the goodies – full egg (some have two eggs), entire mushroom, abalone, etc but that can cost a bomb. I shared a RM 200 (!!!) bak zhang with all the above (had more than 2 eggs though) with 2 other friends in 2011. It was memorable coz of the price! I remember it was being sold by this shop beside Jusco in Midvalley.

    I also liked the zhang from Small Kuching!

    She was kind enough to give us (well, she didn’t know it’ll wind up in my fridge, but we ate it together) a couple too during her last trip. Fabulous and when I asked the gf if there’s any more she said I finished it. Haha!

    Sibu ones are good? Where did you get yours? Perhaps that was many years ago – I don’t bother buying the ones now. No meat and sooooo expensive! Lucky you, got to it somebody’s share of smallkucing’s zhang.

    1. My grandma makes them. Haha!

      I think her ones are good coz I’ll tell her to put in more stuff. She also makes red bean ones for my dad (who prefers it to savory ones).

      Yup, Small Kuching’s zhang is good! I remember the RM 200 zhang too but can’t seem to find it anymore, and it’s to expensive if you don’t share with people (it’s 1/3 the size of a tissue box).

      My missus would insist that her mum’s would be the best – I guess one would love what one grows up eating the most… She doesn’t make anymore though…old already. Gosh! RM200 for one, I think I’d pass…thank you very much.

  3. Oh wow wow wow! You remind me of kelupis and lemang…. And raya is only two months ahead. I have made a pre-order of Kelupis/Patlau from my aunt in Sibu for Raya. hehehe.. 😀

    Ahhhhh!!!! Then, must invite me to your open house…. Hehehehehe!!!!

  4. These Banh Tet look familiar. On 2nd thought, I am sure I seen it when I was in Yangon Myanmar last year but didn’t get to try. Probably the same thing.

    Never seen it nor heard of it before, my first time. At first, I thought it was the Cantonese pillow chang.

    1. It was as round as a man’s arm and vividly remembered it to be about 1.5 feet long, right?

      Good grief! These were shorter, maybe 6 inches only…but my friend made these so perhaps she did not like it too long? Hehehehehe!!!!!

  5. Never had banh tet hut I always had the normal one every year!!! =]

    Very nice…and a welcome change from the usual. You probably have not had the nyonya ones, available in Malacca or Kuching, either…

  6. Oh, that is what most mum will do. Save each and every bit for their children. My first time seeing the Banh Tet too. At first I also thought it was chang wrapped in pillow lke style. Wow, mamakuching makes nice chang. Yummy!!!…Yummy!!…

    She does. Wish I could tie. At the prices they’re selling them now these days, I am sure I can make a fortune in no time at all. Tsk! Tsk!

  7. Funny… your blog didnt show in my bloglist today… something wrong with wordpress or my list?
    Back to your post, the Viet chang I took was squarish… this one is rectangularish.. hahaha… Next time must try panfrying them as what you did…

    Dunno. Maybe I accidentally published a back-dated post – June 11th and I quickly rescheduled it…so that messed up things on your list?

    These were more cylindrical than rectangular, I would think.

  8. Banh Tet Lesen L….Papa Kucing said should be less meat :p

    The chang duno what chang. just stuff in all the things I like to eat …

    Me, meat person…the more meat the better! 😉

  9. eh i must try that Cantonese pillow chang if i can find them la… never had them before

    The ones I had here were actually like the ordinary Hokkien chang – except that they were wrapped differently. Don’t see them being sold around here anymore – maybe they’ve stopped making – too expensive so not selling well.

  10. I had two bak changs last week. It was not the best but good enough for me. I only learnt to appreciate chang much later in life. When I was small I used to eat the cylindrical chang with sugar.

    We grew up eating the nyonya ones all our lives, only started to appreciate the Hokkien ones after I got married – my MIL used to make those. Ya…papakucing kept asking me to eat it dipped in sugar but I think I could do without the extra sweetness.

  11. wow. i must say it looks very appetizing! at first I thought it
    was like our suman, but then it was a different one
    mama kucing sure know a lot and her goal of pleasing you paid off

    She sure did and yes, they were all very nice.

  12. See your title ‘black nite’ but apa pun tak ada????

    A scheduled post – I forgot to change the month so it was published as a backdated post. Rescheduled it immediately but I guess the harm had been done – all the bloglinks went haywire – see Claire’s comments.

  13. I have heard and seen this Vietnamese dumpling before… not sure where to buy it… did mamakuching tell you where she got it?? love to try this especially to pan fry it… 🙂

    If I’m not mistaken, she made them herself… Probably learnt from her in-laws in Trengganu, they’ve some Vietnamese connections.

  14. Oh..this look interesting. I dont like my chong with mung beans, that’s why I wrap my own one. Hahahhaha. I still got few in the fridge, can slowly enjoy.

    I think the kucings love those beans – they have that in all of theirs. Hmmmm…poslaju – dijamin sampai hari esok! LOL!!! 😀

  15. I miss rice dumplings so much.
    Have you tried Nyonya dumplings from Singapore?
    Those are really good. 🙂
    Not sure if you can get them in Malacca or Penang…

    I got some from Malacca once – they were good but mighty expensive…and I’ve had better ones from Kuching. My brother would buy the ones from Katong home but they were ok, not the best – I think I had better ones long ago from a stall at the entrance of Cold Storage, Centrepoint (Orchard Road). On my later trips, I did not see them selling those there anymore… 😦

  16. I always admire the wrapping jobs they do on these! It’s an art in itself!

    Yes, and it certainly is not easy. I wouldn’t be able to manage anything half as neat and nice.

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