Traders enjoy brisk business selling dumplings
THE Dumpling Festival is widely celebrated by the Chinese community despite the changing times.
This is evident from the high demand for the dumpling known as “bak chang”, which is made of glutinous rice with fillings of water chestnuts, Chinese black mushrooms, cooked peanuts and dried shrimp or meat, wrapped in bamboo leaves before it is steamed.
Cheah Soo Xi, 62, who has been selling bak chang from her house in Air Itam for the past 20 years, said she received a lot of orders for the dumplings during the festival every year.
“I usually supply bak chang to a few stalls near my house but during the Dumpling Festival, I have so many orders that I cannot supply to the stalls.
“Most of the orders come from my regular customers and sometimes from other people,” she told the yesterday.
Cheah said she woke up early yesterday to prepare fresh dumplings.
“All my ingredients are fresh and natural as my grandmother and mother had taught me.
“Even the blue colour of the glutinous rice is from natural ingredients,” she said.
A bak chang seller in Lebuh Cintra here, Lor Kah Fai, said he had also been inundated with orders a week ahead of the festival.
“Today (yesterday), I also received a lot of walk-in customers,” he said.
Meanwhile, lawyer Alicia Lee, 31, said she and her family had always observed the festival.
“It has always been a tradition in my family to gather and eat bak chang together.
“We are a family of food and bak chang lovers, so every year we try to have bak chang from different places and with different ingredients.
“This year, as there was a recent family wedding ceremony, we decided to splurge on a RM410 two-kilogramme Abalone King Bak Chang,” she said.
The Dumpling Festival falls on the fifth day of the fifth month of the lunar calendar every year, earning its other name, the Double Fifth Festival.
It is a celebration Malaysians will associate most with the dragon boat races, held primarily in Penang, hence its alternate name of the Dragon Boat Festival.
The festival is believed to have originated during the Warring States period in China when beloved government official and poet, Qu Yuan, drowned himself in the Miluo River after his country fell into enemy hands.
Distraught villagers raced out in their boats to salvage his body and that is said to be the origin of the dragon boat races.
The same villagers also took to throwing dumplings into the river in hopes that the fish would eat the food instead of Qu Yuan’s body.
Despite a rather morbid beginning, the festival is celebrated with great festivities, dragon boat races and eating of dumplings.
Lor Kah Fai arranging an assortment of freshly prepared rice dumpings at his shop in George Town yesterday.