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Nov 2, 2013 07:14 PM

A Taste of "Zongzi" (粽子)

"Zongzi" (粽子) is a Chinese glutinous rice dumpling containing different types of filling and wrapped in fragrant bamboo leaves. In Singapore and Malaysia, it goes by the Hokkien-influenced moniker "bakchang".

The "bakchang" is also part of the Dragon Boat Festival (Duanwu Festival/端午节 or, as it's known in Hong Kong: Tuen Ng/端午節) to pay homage to the Zhou Dynasty poet, Qu Yuan (c. 340–278 BCE).

My fave type of "bakchang" is the Hokkien version, where the glutinous rice is tinted dark-brown from the use of dark soysauce, and flavoured with Chinese 5-spice. The filling usually consists of fatty pork belly, salted duck's egg yolk, chestnuts, dried shrimps, and shitake mushroom. There will be variations where, in addition to the ingredients described earleir, you also get mashed mung beans (Cantonese-influence), mashed yam (in Thailand) and candied wintermelon ("Nyonya bakchang" from Malacca). There are also luxury version versions with the addition of pieces of roast duck or even abalone.

The *best* bakchang I'd ever tasted in Singapore? Hoo Kee at Amoy Street Food Centre

The best in Malaysia is undoubtedly from Guan Kee in Ipoh, Perak state - 2 hours' drive north from Kuala Lumpur

Address details
Hoo Kee Rice Dumpling
Amoy Street Food Centre #01-18
7 Maxwell Road
Singapore 069111
Tel: +65 62211155

Guan Kee
Restoran Ipoh Central
51-53 Jalan Raja Ekram
30250 Ipoh
Perak, Malaysia
Tel: +6019 5571107

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  1. Ah, you haven't tried the famous bakchang from A1 Bakchang at Tavoy Road, along Burma Road (just before Him Heang) in Penang. Their Cantonese bakchang also very good, too - we call them tau chang in Penang as you get yellow mung beans for the filling together with pork belly and salted duck's egg yolk.

    Also off Campbell Street along Cintra Street is the very famous bakchang stall at Cintra Food Court kopi tiam. Their bakchang is the same source as A1's, I think, as they taste and look the same.