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LocalHood goes Dumpling tasting, customary for Dragon Boat Fest- edition 2021😀😀

Never say no to rice dumplings. They feel bad. They have fillings (feelings) inside😜😜.

Many of our Localhood volunteers and family said a big YES for sampling rice dumplings at our rice dumplings day held in celebration of the Dragon Boat Festival.

In Pic: Localhood volunteers digging our Dumplings Day (Kiddies were tolerated 😜😜)

First off, a big thank you to John Miers, our dear volunteer and advisor for letting LocalHood use his office space overlooking the bay and accepting that we cook up a storm with our laughter, shouts and confusion 😄😱😄.

Our cook extraordinaire, Sze Yeen, cooked up a storm of Hokkein rice dumplings (aka Zongzi 粽子in Chinese) with all kinds of feelings (ahem, fillings), some which are savory glutinous rice flavoured with sweet soy sauce and stuffed with pork and salty egg yolks and another which is called Kee Chang (alkaline dumpling) with coconut palm sugar syrup.

In Pic: Our rice dumplings day spread—Hokkein bihoon (rice noodles with shallots, dried shrimp, lime, chili, purple onions etc mixed with special sauce) and variety of savoury and sweet rice dumplings

In fact, rice dumplings have an unsavory Chinese legend—they were created in memory of a minister and poet in ancient China named Qu Yuan, who drowned himself in Miluo river in Hunan province after being banished by a jealous emperor. Qu Yuan was popular among the public and they made rice wrapped in leaves to throw in the river to keep fish from nibbling at Qu Yuan’s body. They also paddled boats and banged on drums to scare away the fish. Miluo river flows to this day, but whether there are man-eating fish in the river is subject to debate. Piranhas, for one, are predatory freshwater fish that originated in South America.

In Pic: Team LocalHood enjoying laughs and dumplings

Other theories about the origins of the Dragon Boat Festival is that it was celebrated to ensure a good harvest and to ask the dragons to watch over their crops on the unluckiest lunar calendar day of the year, the 5th day of the 5th month of the lunar year. Farmers decorated their boats with dragon motifs to celebrate the dragon’s day.

Whatever its origins, different Chinese provinces invented their own flavours of rice dumplings—Shanghai rice dumplings are similar to Malaysian-Chinese ones in that they have a strong soy sauce taste for the savoury ones, while Guangdong rice dumplings do not have soy sauce added to the rice and have more fillings like Chinese mushrooms, chestnut, dried scallop, fatty pork and green beans. Apart from the Dragon Boat Festival, you would be hard-pressed to find rice dumplings in Chinese restaurants on other days. However, you could have another type of breakfast rice dumplings in Chinese restaurants on other days called Luo Mi Ji (糯米雞) made with glutinous rice, chicken and mushroom wrapped in lotus leaves.

Do the descriptions and pics of these banana-leaf wrapped bundles make your mouth water?

If so, next time you are invited to have a rice dumpling tasting, say YES and don’t hurt their feelings .


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