Good ole Zong (Bak Chang) – The Traditional Food of Chinese Dumpling Festival
Triangle shaped, turn or block “Yuk Zong” (?? in Cantonese), my favorite pig beef gluey rice dumplings are filled with several fillings, wrapped in bamboo or lotus leaves. Zongs come in several shapes, sizes and tastes (sweet, savoury, sharp and a reduction of it all) according to regions or states in Malaysia.
Whenever someone ask what Zong is, we would always happily explain what reduction are compulsory to make this truly authentic and normal recipe.
Welcome to Malaysia, a land where all is of a reduction (Malaysians impute to this as Rojak): a people, a language, a newspapers and a food enlightenment all brew naturally. Though a origins of Zong, points to Southern China, this birthright food is also good acclaimed opposite a Malaysian Chinese communities; a Kuala Lumpur (Cantonese vocalization KL-ites) impute to it as Zong, a Northern Penang name it Bak Chang in a internal Hokkien chapter and a Baba-Nyonya Peranakan call this plate Chang.
Important and interesting, it is a definition and story or Chinese folklore behind Zong that leave an impression. The Zong / Dumpling Festival (Cantonese: Tuen Ng Jit / ???) is distinguished on a fifth day of a fifth lunar month, Jun 23 this year 2012. It honours a famous and successful scholar-poet Qu Yuan who took his life by jumping into a stream after a tumble of a Qin Dynasty to a Zhou Dynasty. He was severely saddened when a aristocrat refused to take his advice, heading to a good war. It is pronounced that a internal people, who dignified Qu Yuan, forsaken gummy rice triangles wrapped in bamboo leaves into a stream to feed Qu Yuan in a afterlife. The paddling of a boats in those days apparently were meant to shock a fishes divided (in complicated currently we have a famous Dragon vessel racing).
Another, equally convincing, folklore explained: fearing that fishes would eat Qu Yuan’s body, friends and supporters had done dumplings and threw them into a stream so that a fishes would eat them instead of a body. Hence a dumplings Zong was given birth.
Some of a several forms of Zong accessible are:
– Ham Yuk Zong / Yuk Zong ( ??): Salty Meat Dumpling typically filled with greasy pig belly, yellow mung beans, pickled egg yolks, mushrooms and my favorite chestnut.
– Nyonya Zong (???): A specialty of Peranakan cuisine, a fillings are minced pig with candied winter melon, belligerent roasted peanuts and taucheo (Chinese soy bean pulp done from yellow soy beans). Traditionally a blimp has a bit of blue rice phony from a moth pea flower.
– Kan Sui Zong (???): Literally translated as “alkaline H2O Zong”, this is a dessert object or a break for tea time. The gluey rice is treated with lye H2O hence a particular yellow color. It is customarily plain, with no stuffing and if there are it is a honeyed stuffing, for instance red bean paste. It is mostly complimented with sugar, gula melaka (Malay for palm sugar) or a tasty internal coconut widespread named kaya.
Zong today, in my perspective is deliberate a lost food and recipe in Kuala Lumpur. Through my observations there are many duck rice stalls though unequivocally few Zong stalls around. And how many Zong stalls offer a decent Zong? To be honest not many in KL.
The many tasty Zong sole around KL would be creatively homemade from era aged family recipes, that have been upheld on from moms or grandmas. That was indeed how we acquired and learnt how to conclude Zong: by a normal family tip recipe and protocol given we was 11 years old. It was unequivocally satisfying, as i removed behind to those days, a family’s group suggestion and tough bid creation Zong. Every punch of a Zong was simply delicious, dainty with all a pig beef and fat melting divided and simply filled with lots of love.
The routine of creation it is truly an art and takes many unwieldy steps, from purchasing several ingredients, credentials to frying, folding and steaming/boiling them. There were always a lot of fun, jokes, delight and gossips with and about a whole family. Never was there a still impulse in a Chinese domicile generally as aunties collected who all hexed a family trait of high sopranos voices, that were substantially even clear miles down a road.
There was a lot of pity and family members’ appearance concerned as any had their possess purpose and particular strength or skill, for instance folding a bamboo leaves with stuffing and restraining a cluster of them to strings. We appreciated and reputable any others’ roles even a children, like myself behind afterwards were gay eating after witnessing a hours of creation Zong.
I am unapproachable of my family and have satisfied that preserving a food birthright is critical in formulating one’s temperament and moulding a subsequent destiny generations’ adore for a family’s traditions.
So what is my favorite Zong? And who creates a best Zong in Malaysia?
My favorite is: a “Ham Yok Zong” (savoury version).
In my heart a best Zong recipe by distant comes from my late grandma, no one has and substantially will be means to transcend that turn of customary on a ‘delicious-Zong meter.’
Determined, we attempted to re-make Zong according to my grandma’s recipe some months ago. we pulled some family members together and took a few discerning decisions to speed things up. The outcome was a disaster a taste, texture, all fell brief of what we was used to.
There are no shortcuts to normal recipes and there are some things in life that are irreplaceable.
Every normal food has a story and listening to it takes we a step closer to a deeper bargain of a culture. True definition creates each punch singular in a ambience and even some-more agreeably tasty to season compartment a unequivocally final bite. So we titillate all to continue this tradition! Head out and buy some Zongs to eat in this time of a year. Happy Tuen Ng Jit (Zong / Dumpling Festival).
Curious to find out where to buy a best Zongs around Kuala Lumpur? Visit http://www.simplyenak.com/zong-chinese-dumpling-festival-malaysia to find out more.
This essay was created by Pauline Lee. Pauline is a food fan and has a good passion for Malaysian Food. Her goal is to safety internal food traditions and recipes to concede subsequent generations to suffer what she knows to be some of a world’s best food. Pauline is a Food Experience Captain and owners of Simply Enak – Food Experiences. Her association aims to give unfamiliar guest a best knowledge of Malaysian Food. Simply Enak provides food walks, food drives, dinners during internal homes and some-more sparkling Food Experiences. Visit http://www.simplyenak.com for some-more information.