With more new-fangled varieties entering the market each year, it’s good to know that old-school bak changs are still going strong. This Dragon Boat Festival, savour the best traditional glutinous rice dumplings from various dialect groups that our homegrown and heritage brands have to offer.
SohGood Bak Chang’s Grandma’s Hokkien Bak Chang
When the Covid-19 pandemic left Mr Soh jobless last year, he decided to open a stall to sell Hokkien bak chang, using a recipe his grandma taught him. Every step is done the way she used to, from separately frying the glutinous rice and meat with freshly fried shallots to braising the chestnuts till tender. Thankfully for Mr Soh – and for us – it’s since turned into a full-time career. While available throughout the year, there’s no better time than now to discover this super-traditional rice dumpling that harkens back to its origins in Anxi, a county in southern Fujian province, China. Do drop by early as these ‘SohGood’ dumplings are made fresh at the stall in limited quantities each day (closed on Sundays and Mondays).
#02-209 Chinatown Complex Food Centre, 335 Smith Street
BreadTalk x Thye Moh Chan’s Teochew Bak Chang
Heritage Teochew pastry brand Thye Moh Chan has teamed up with BreadTalk to present two varieties of Teochew bak chang this year. Like many Teochew delicacies, the key is the combination of sweet and savoury flavours. And that’s exactly what you get with the Teochew Double Delight Bak Chang, full of pork belly, shiitake mushroom, chestnut and sweet mung bean paste encased in premium glutinous rice steeped in pandan. Whereas salted egg yolk brings umami to the Teochew Salted Egg Bak Chang, which packs pork belly stir-fried with shiitake mushroom and spices, chestnut, and dried shrimp. For more value, purchase the buy-6-get-1-free and buy-10-get-2-free bundles.
Available till 14 June from $6.50; more info at breadtalk.com.sg/shop
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Cui Nyonya’s Homemade Malacca Nyonya Kueh Chang
A private Peranakan kitchen based in Tampines, Cui Nyonya specialises in making Nyonya cakes and kuehs from scratch. Throughout the year, they churn out small-batch delights from Kueh Kosui and Salat Seri Muka to Orh Nee Tarts and Orh Koo Kueh and have gained quite a following on social media. This Dragon Boat Festival, Cui Nyonya are presenting Nyonya Kueh Chang, Malacca-style. What sets it apart from the local version is that the filling is not just sweet and savoury, but spicy too. Of course, it’s made with 100% hand-squeezed blue pea extract and hand-wrapped in pandan leaves. Malaccans living in Singapore have given it the thumbs up for authenticity!
Kim Choo Kueh Chang’s Nyonya Kueh Chang
Of course, we can’t leave out Singapore’s own Nyonya chang, which many of us grew up with. A heritage brand since 1945, Kim Choo Kueh Chang continues to make and sell their signature the old-school way from their flagship stores in the east of Singapore. Each pandan-leaf-wrapped parcel is filled with perfectly spiced minced pork and cubes of candied wintermelon, which add refreshingly sweet nibbles to the otherwise savoury dumpling. They are available in regular and mini sizes, the latter in boxes of 10, which make for a (less sinful) light snack, or a great gift.
60 Joo Chiat Place; 111 East Coast Road; more info at kimchoo.com
Crystal Jade’s Grandma’s Braised Pork Belly with Purple Glutinous Rice Dumpling
To commemorate this centuries-old tradition, Crystal Jade’s Group Executive Chef Martin Foo has tapped upon his Hainanese heritage to bring you the new Grandma’s Braised Pork Belly with Purple Glutinous Rice Dumpling. Made with wholesome purple glutinous rice, this plump, speckled parcel is filled with Grandma’s Braised Pork Belly, his signature dish from Crystal Jade Palace’s a la carte menu. Shiitake mushrooms and chestnuts accompany the fork-tender pork belly that’s slow-braised with soy sauce, rock sugar and spices. Jadeite members and selected credit cardholders enjoy 10% discount, plus an additional 5% e-store discount with promo code “5OFFCJRD” till June 9.
Available till 14 June from $10.50; more info at estore.crystaljade.com
Where’s your favourite place to get bak chang? Share with us at firstname.lastname@example.org!