It certainly was a pleasant surprise that evening when my friends dropped by my house to give me these…
What? It’s the Dragon Boat Festival (端午节[duān wǔ jié]) already? That’s the time every year when we will eat these chang/zongzi (meat dumplings) but these days, they are available all year round so one can enjoy them anytime, no need to wait for the festival to come around.
Theirs is the Chinese or what we call Hokkien chang…
…not the nyonya ones that my dear friend, Richard, would make and give me every year. My mum loved his a lot so I would always give her a few from the ones that I got – in fact, Richard, always so very considerate, would set aside some specially for my mum. Sadly, she would not be around anymore this year to enjoy those – if Richard will be making any and giving me some, that is.
Needless to say, these own home-made ones would be heaps nicer than those sold in the town. Those may taste all right but other than being rather expensive these days, the meat filling is hardly visible to the naked eye. When one makes one’s own at home, one can add chunks of meat…
…according to one’s heart’s desire and one has the prerogative, like my friend’s health-conscious missus who made these, to use only lean meat. I sure do not mind a bit of fat though – it makes the chang more oily and somewhat nicer and for those of you who are shuddering at the mere thought of eating pork fat, perhaps you should read this article – it is not as bad as you think. As a matter of fact, it is ranked among the Top 10 most nutritious foods, believe it or not.
There is a bit of shitake mushroom inside too and I could taste the delightful taste of hay bee (dried prawns) and true enough, I spotted one…
…in the dumpling. Don’t ever dream of finding anything of the sort in those commercially-sold ones.
I also love it when there is chestnut…
…inside and also one salted egg yolk but no, my friend did not add that.
The last time I bought one of those sold at the shops, I could detect the salted egg yolk taste but no, I could not see any evidence of its presence in the dumpling…and mind you, the ones with salted egg yolks cost a bomb! Needless to say, you would not catch me buying any anymore, never ever.
For one thing, I’ve noticed that these days, a lot of people here are using nylon strings to tie their chang and I am not too sure what harm that may cause to one’s health. From what I’ve heard, this traditional dried grass breaks easily so it is quite tedious to use but unfortunately, we all know that plastic is bad when used to serve hot food so imagine, these strings being boiled for such a long time while one is cooking the chang.
I googled to check the date and I found out that the Dragon Boat Festival will be on the 18th of June this year, three days after Hari Raya Aidilifitri, tentatively expected to fall on the 15th instant. It is not too soon actually – we are already into the 2nd week of Ramadan and soon the fasting month will come to an end and right after the Hari Raya festivities, the Chinese will be celebrating this festival so if you intend to make your own chang…
…perhaps you should get down to it soon. Thank you so much to my thoughtful and generous friends for giving me some of theirs – I sure enjoyed them very much…and if there is anyone else who would like to let me try the fruits of their labour, rest assured that I would welcome them eagerly with my two hands wide open. LOL!!!
7 thoughts on “Not too soon…”
I just don’t like people using nylon string to tie their bak changs. I avoid buying from them no matter how nice. I prefer bak chang with lean meat only. Your friend’s bak chang really looks very nice.
Same thing with some people still using polystyrene containers. All that talk about change but they are not in the least willing to change and get rid of all those bad habits and practices.
I love the nonya changs, but good ones are hard to find.
I know my brother gets them from some place in Katong everytime he stops by Singapore on his way back to Sibu.
That could be the shop called Glory. But since my mother’s passing, I hardly go to Singapore any more.
Dunno the name. I guess since both my parents are no longer around, he will not be coming back this way again either.
ooo, i didn’t realise it’s coming up to the chang season already … i guess it can be kinda a double celebration, aidilfitri and dragon boat festival … even though they’re not directly connected, they both involve tasty food, including rice stuffed in leaves, heh
Actually, in Malay, they call chang ketupat – they do not have ketupat babi but they have ketupat daging (chicken) and ketupat kacang (red bean) and yes, they can wrap those changs very well, so small, perfect cones. Puts me to shame!
I don’t buy dumpling (Bak Chang) outside, as my MIL makes and sells Bak Chang during the festival.
I love those puffs and tarts in your previous post so much. I just can’t resist them.
Lucky you! Yes, my MIL used to make a lot and give to us too so we never made and that was why my missus never bothered to learn how to do it but my MIL had passed away. Sigh!!! I love those tarts too, just that I do not buy them to eat all that often – all the rest in the house are not fans of those plus they are not gluten-free. My girl cannot eat.
Already? Time flies doesn’t it? My aunt’s homemade chung is the best to me. I helped her once and I doubt if I ever make chung on my own. So much work involved!
It does not seem like a lot more work than a lot of things but it does need time and a very special skill. Sad that if the tradition is lost, one loses one’s culture and identity too. I am guilty as charged – wish I had learnt how to do it from my mum when she used to make it in my younger days.