Bak Chang festival

Tomorrow is bak chang festival. Bak = pork. Chang = dumpling.

It is some Chinese mythical celebration, base mostly on tradition than any religious background. The story I heard is this scholar who was drown in the river and the people were afraid his body will be eaten by the fishes before they found him. So, these people threw this meat dumpling into the river to feed the fishes (lucky fishes, I tell you!) so that they can fish the corpse of the scholar out of the water in whole and not left skeletons. I don’t know if they did found the corpse. ‘Cos I was too busy eating bak chang myself to care.

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When my mom was alive, she made the most delicious, sinful and absolutely yummy bak chang on earth. I used to help her peel those dang chestnuts and its brownish, bitter shells. Then, when I was older, I helped her to fry the glutinous rice with lots of garlic, shallots, dark soya sauce, oyster sauce and five spice powder.

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So, in theory, I know how to make bak chang. But physically, I have never wrapped one before because my mom was such a nag. My two older sisters who are 10 years and 14 years older than me used to get drilled by mom. “It’s too tight, it’s too loose, too tight, the rice will swell and burst, too loose the rice will be mushy, you forget the salted eggs, remember to dip your hand into the water after you touched the rice, you pull the string like this…bla bla bla…” So, I was smarter. I go play far-far. She would nag throughout the whole process, from morning till night (when the bak changs are cooked)!

Moreover, the bak changs my mom made were enough to last us for days as breakfast, lunch and dinner. She used the fattest belly pork and the fats just melt in the mouth. And bak chang festival is always around the same time as durians season. So, every May/June/July means I will put on weight because of over indulgence in these two things. That’s why I never want to make bak changs because I have my supplies from my eldest sister already. It is never as good as mom made but it is better than those we buy. If I were to make my own, it means even more eating.

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My sister used black eye peas, dried oyster, dried shrimps, chestnuts, salted duck egg yolks, Chinese dried mushroom and pork. Hehehe, like my mom would say, she did not fill it with enough rice so the middle is a bit ‘loose’ after I cut into it. But still, I have homemade bak changs.

Now, what I want is some kee chang. It is those yellow variety. Burpppp…..

25 Replies to “Bak Chang festival”

  1. You take so nice photos! Yes I also don’t like to cook with mother, always complaint this and that. Eventually all us are lousy cook. I started learning only after I turned 24. Anyway, still miss mother’s bak zhang, hubby also love it. Damn stuck in this land, no good Malaysian foods, their bah zhang is selling for 2 euros each = RM9 each and I heard it tastes very bad.

  2. Should I learn from MIL & AIL? She is not naggy but a bit char bou when it comes to shopping. Don’t want my boys to miss one of her good food.

  3. Ohhh, i love the one that has meat+egg yolk+small yellow beans filling. The red bean oso I like! I’ve helped my mum wrap bak chang before, and I find the tying portion the most difficult. If you use the really traditional type of string (instead of the plastic raffia strings many sellers use nowadays), it can cut your fingers *ow*. So I always end up wrapping then passing it to my mum to tie 😀

  4. So tempting !!! Send some to me lah…KL don’t have nice wan…too much rice, small piece of bak (1cmx1cm), 1 slice of mushroom, 1/4 salted yoke….that’s it! You say shit or not…Sigh

  5. :drools:

    Waaaaaahhhh… Why your dumpling pic looks better than mine. Oops!! 4got, I got cheapo digital camera vs DSLR. 😉

    Anyway, Happy Bak Chang festival. Noticed that fewer and fewer ppl are making their own bak changs? For me, I’ve only witness the making of it once, I can’t pao the bak chang to save my life.

    Lovely pics.. I’m craving for the nyonya changs.. 😉

  6. just like you…. if my mom is still alive, she will also make very nice bak chang for me. if she doesnt have time, she will scout around for the best ones. such festival really reminds me of my mom…

    i love the hokkien type… cos my mom is hokkien lang.

  7. Nice dumpling. Make me hungry.

    By the way, I think a more accurate story would be, the scholar fell into the river, fearing that the fishes will eat him, they throw rice into the river. They threw dumpling for the scholar, because the bamboo “hair” and wrapped, won’t be eaten by the fish.

  8. Woops. Its not a scholar. It’s a government official name Chu Yuen, who commited suicide cause government want to torture the “rakyat”. So people throw the dumplings to feel him and rice and dragon boat to scare the fishes.

  9. Happy duan wu jie! Like you, I’ve never bother making my own bak chang cos got free supplies from relative too. Even then, I prefer to buy from the market.

  10. hijackqueen – I missed eating karn sui choong. *bawls*

    melvin – Poor Chu Yen, kena murdered by me. LOL.

    joansdaily – I think this is teochew version, never try before.

    mamabok – So kesian…nvr mind, here we have it all year round. Come to Penang.

    zewt – I love those pua kiam tee type of chang too. The white coloured rice with wintermelons, oily pork and groundnuts, right?

    cindy – LOL, no lah, my sis does for friends and relatives only.

    angie – This one I oso use cheap point and shoot camera only. Heh, it takes lots of practice to get good photos, not just good cameras.

  11. kuE – LOL, that’s quite a bitch you are dealing with. Sampai polis repot. Fuyoh.

    mott – Haiyor 10! Lucky I got limited numbers and have to share with my sons and hubby.

    ren nee – Can buy, market a lot. But very expensive. RM8 for those special ones.

    clare – Next time you come to Penang, you go find bak changs lah. I got blogged it before. Got Cantonese tou choong oso. Very nice.

    mendee – Yeah, I heard it is hard to tie it very tight because of the oily palms we are dealing with. And those straw type of strings tend to break too.

    agnes – It takes practice to tie it. Otherwise, the flavourings part is not difficult. Some moms gave their daughters practice with plain rice. Kena go through lessons wan ler. Go buy better. LOL.

    bee ean – You can try making lor mai kais which is almost the same. Provided you have the basic stuffs lah. Or lotus leaf rice. I got the recipe on Best Recipes.

    wuching – Drools…you can see but you can’t eat.

    kiasumum – Hahaha, can buy frozen wan. KG Mantou makes some decent ones, available from Tesco. I tried before.

    terence – I send you in jpeg or raw format?

    ahpek – I notice older liao, hard for our stomach to digest hor? Those days when I can eat for all three meals. Now, 1 oso can last me for the whole day already.

  12. That chang looks SOOOOO delicious!!! Oh dear….I think I’m going to force the Hubs to go on a chang hunt tonight after he gets home from work. To hell with the no carb at nite diet this week.

  13. i have never eat kee chang before. i love eating the salted egg yolk in it. ^^ brought bak chang to school this few days for breakfast. wakakax

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