It’s time…

…once again for the Chang or Dumpling Festival, more accurately called the Duānwǔ or Dragon Boat Festival which falls on the fifth day of the fifth month of the lunar calendar (approximately late-May to mid-June) every year – today. How time flies…and I really must thank my friend, Richard, for giving me some of the gorgeous ones he would make every year

Nyonya chang from Richard

– the sweet and salty nyonya variety with the fragrance of ketumbar (coriander) that I love so very much. We can’t get those here, just in Kuching where there are places that sell pretty good ones.

For the uninitiated, the Chinese have this tradition of eating chang to commemorate the death of Qu Yuan, a famous Chinese poet. He tried unsuccessfully to warn his king and countrymen against the expansionism of their warring neighbours and when they conquered and took over their territory, he was so deeply grieved that he drowned himself in the river. Legend has it that the dumplings were thrown into the river to prevent the fish from eating the his body. In this connection, there is a superstition that when you make and give changs to friends and family, you will have to cut them and not give the dumplings tied together in a bundle as that was how they were thrown into the water as an offering to the deceased poet. Of course, on my part, I do not care whether they are tied or not – just give them to me! The more the merrier! Hehehehehehehe!!!!

Here, we can only get what we call the Hokkien chang

BreadSense Hokkien chang 1

…but the ones available are getting more and more expensive and the quality has gone from bad to worse. Do not expect any trace of meat inside – no, there will be none of those slices of stewed pork belly, no shitake mushroom, no chestnut, nothing…and should you be so foolish enough as to fork out the money to buy the bigger ones with salted egg inside, be prepared to find the same inside, just that they’re bigger…and if you’re lucky, you may find bits of the egg, not just the taste of it. One problem I’ve encountered was that they did not use very good eggs so that, of course, made it all the more disappointing.

I got these from a bakery here, their branch located right behind Delta Mall round the corner from where I live at over RM2.00 each, and they’re much nicer that the rest in terms of taste and the meat inside, quite a lot of it, is visible…

BreadSense Hokkien chang 2

…to the naked eye except that it’s chicken as it is, after all, a certified halal bakery. The ones from another bakery where I got these curry puffs are quite good too and likewise, they also use chicken for their dumplings. Well, as the say, beggars can’t be choosers…and until I can find some place that has anything better than these to offer, I am afraid these would just have to do.

Thank you so very much, Richard, for remembering me each year without fail. I wish you were not watching your figure and sticking vigilantly to a strict diet. Then, I would be able to invite you to dinner or give you some edible goodies to reciprocate…but one thing’s for sure, your kind and generous gesture is truly very much appreciated.

Happy Duānwǔ Festival to you…and also to one and all…