Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Bakcang (Zong Zi) – Cultural Heritage and A Mother’s Love

Last Saturday was actually the d-day of the Duan Wu Jie (Dragon Boat Festival) but since I was so busy till the weekend, I couldn’t post anything about this great event. Luckily now the internet connection is quite good and my tasks are done so it’s time to blog! ^^;
Duan Wu Jie (Dragon Boat Festival) is a cultural event celebrated mainly by Chinese people on the 5th day of the 5th month according to the Lunar calendar. It was first held to commemorate Qu Yuan, a faithful servant of the Zhou Dynasty, who was accused of betrayal due to opposing the King’s new ally. To prove his innocence and show his disappointment, he committed suicide by drowning himself in a river. The people who knew he was a good man, made Zong Zi (glutinous rice dumplings wrapped with bamboo leaves) and threw them into the river so the fish would not eat his body. Some people also believe that Qu Yuan turned into god because of his good deed in life.
Recently, Duan Wu Jie has become a festival celebrated globally. There are several places that held international competitions last Saturday, like dragon boat rowing competition in Macau which attended by various countries and international lion dance competition in Medan last Sunday.
For the food, of course Bakcang (the popular name of Zong Zi for Chinese people in South East region, derived from Hokkian dialect) is one of the symbols of the event. Even though now people do not make it merely for commemorating Qu Yuan, eating Bakcang has been an irreplaceable custom of Chinese descendants all over the world.
The rice dumpling is commonly divided into two types, i.e. salty Bakcang and sweet Cang. Both of them are made of glutinous rice for the outer but they differ in the fillings. Salty Bakcang usually contains mushroom, pork, chestnut, salted duck egg yolk, la chang (Chinese sausage), and small dried shrimps; while the sweet one commonly contains red bean paste, or just plain.
Glutinous rice

Salty Bakcang fillings
No matter sweet or salty, Bakcang is one of the seasonal foods that we longed for, hahaha…. Since the market price was so high, my mom decided to make it by herself. Her skill in cooking makes me so proud of her! I took a picture of her when she was wrapping a Bakcang.
My lovely mother ^^
The results of the home-made Bakcangs were so successful that I encouraged my mom to make more next year and sell them to get extra income, haha… Here are the results:
Salty Bakcang

Besides the common glutinous rice Bakcang, she also tried to make another Bakcang of different color which was never seen before. It was black! 
Black Bakcang! One of a kind!
Hoho…maybe there’s no place on Earth that sells black Bakcang like my Mom’s. It was actually made of a mixture of black rice, carrot, and corn with the same fillings. Surprisingly, it tasted better! It was not as rich as the glutinous rice and moreover, it was healthier. That was surely a symbol of love from Mom to the family. 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


It’s always nice to write something related to Japan. Haha…it’s one of my favorite countries in the world and a place that I always dream to go. Japanese people are innovative in creating products and always have fresh and unique ideas in building an image. Even Japanese culture is also one of a kind! They have intricate eating manner and foods which are not only delicious but appealing as well.
Many people dislike eating sushi but for me, it’s yummy, no matter what topping or filling it has! Unluckily, Japanese food is so costly in Medan. I have to think twice before entering the restaurant to enjoy a plate of Dragon roll sushi.
Thus, I tried to make one at home (of course with my mom as the supervisor :P). We never go to any sushi-making class. We just learned by observing how the sushi chef worked in the open-kitchen when we were having a dinner once :P
We prepared a lot of things to make our first sushi. We bought sushi roller (a set of bamboo sticks tied together), dry roasted nori, canned tuna, cucumber, vinegar, etc. from the nearest mini market and started our first trial. It was fun to learn how to roll sushi and put various fillings like sausage, tuna, etc. I also found out that it was not easy as it looked to roll sushi. If we did not grab it tightly, the sushi would break and look messy because the fillings would fall from the rice. At first we intended to use Japanese rice to make sushi but it was not sold in the minimarket. It was also quite hard to find that kind of rice in Medan so we decided to use common local rice to make. However, we cooked the rice with more water so it would be stickier then my mom mixed it with the white vinegar.
Afterwards, we sprinkled some drops of water onto the nori, added some rice and the fillings, and rolled it with the bamboo roller. Voila! We’d got a pretty sushi! ^o^/
My yummy sushi ;P

Pretty Sushi ^^
Let’s eat and say “Itadakimasu!”