What would Qu Yuan really feel about Bak Zhang? We never know.
Zong Zi 粽子 or more familiarly called “Bak Zhang” in Singapore, is a type of glutinous rice dumpling stuffed with different fillings such as pork and chestnut, then wrapped in bamboo leaves.
It is traditionally eaten during Duan Wu Jie or the Dragon Boat Festival which falls on the fifth day of the fifth month of the lunar calendar (legend also says that it is to commemorate the death of Qu Yuan, the Chinese poet of Zhou Dynasty.)
Dragon Boat Festival 2020 falls on June 25 (Thursday). But this is not considered a national holiday in Singapore, though there are 3 days of public holiday in China.
Other than Eastern Rice Dumpling, Kim Choo Kueh Chang, Daun Pandan Rice Dumplings, and Hoo Kee Rice Dumplings, the other famous place to get Bak Zhang in Singapore is from Hiong Kee Dumplings 香记肉粽 at Hong Lim Food Centre.
The stall has over 40 years of history.
I haven’t bought Bak Zhang in a long time, so much so that I had a shock at the current pricing.
Off my mind, I remember a single piece should be hovering about the $2.80 to perhaps $3.50 range. Perhaps there is also inflation…
Wait, a Pork Dumpling with Salted Egg at Hiong Kee is $6. All right, consider the seasonal festival pricing factored in.
On its menu are Pork Dumpling ($5.50, $6 with salted egg), Chicken Dumpling ($5.50, $6 with salted egg), Nonya Dumpling ($5.30), and Pork Belly Dumpling ($6).
However, the popular ones are often out of stock especially during June nearing the festival. So while closing hours state 6pm, they may be sold out afternoon to late afternoon.
They have also stopped advance orders due to high demand.
What I liked about Hiong Kee’s dumplings are they are tightly packed with generous fillings. It was oily but not unbearably so for the modern consumers who would be more health-conscious.
The glutinous rice came with enough softness, though I would have preferred slightly more seasoning in the rice.
For the Nonya Zhang, some would enjoy the sugary taste coming from the mixture of winter melon.
Parts were not too fatty, though one would wish for more savouriness or at least a more layered taste rather than just sweet.
If you dine there (unfortunately we cannot now for “Phase 1”), also provided is a special homemade chilli pepper powder with a mixture of dried prawns and sugars that brings out the flavours.
Hiong Kee Dumplings
Hong Lim Food Centre #02-37, Blk 531A Upper Hokkien Street, Singapore 058285
Tel: +65 6535 2783
Opening Hours: 8:30am – 6pm (Mon – Sat), Closed Sun
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