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. 

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