Do you know what is ‘Bak Chang’? Do you know why Chinese people eat ‘Bak Chang’ and the history behind it? Let’s see together!
‘Bak Chang’ which is also known as Zongzi is a traditional Chinese rice dish made of glutinous rice stuffed with various fillings and wrapped in bamboo leaves, Indocalamus tessellatus leaves, reed leaves or other large flat leaves.
They are steamed or boiled to cook. They are also known as rice dumplings or sticky rice dumplings in the Western world.
Like many traditional Chinese food, the traditional Chinese rice dumpling was created to honor the divine Qu Yuan who is a famous pioneer poet of ancient China.
Dumpling Festival traditionally held on the fifth day of the fifth moon on the lunar calendar which is from late May to mid-June on the solar calendar.
The Dragon Boat festival commemorates the life and death of Qu Yuan. Qu Yuan, who was then his home state minister, advocated reform to his state of Chu, which made the King angry. The King continuously refused to listen to Qu Yuan’s advice and instead banished him from the Chu’s capital.
Qu Yuan wrote poetry expressing his concern for his country and people. In 278 B.C., he committed suicide by drowning himself in the famous Ni Lo River when Qu Yuan heard that his home had been invaded.
Chu’s citizens jumped into the river to save their beloved minister but it was too late. The people furiously splashed and threw steamed rice wrapped in reed leaf into the river as a sacrifice to his spirit and to keep the fish from consuming the body of Qu Yuan.
Since then, for more than 2000 years ago, it has been customary to enjoy the rice dumplings as a memorial to this patriotic poet during the dumpling festival.
Everyone who has tried rice dumplings were impressed with the delicacy, with the faint scent of the leaves imprinted on the dumplings. In fact, dumplings are now eaten throughout the year by anyone who enjoys this delightful rice pyramid.
I definitely can’t wait to taste Bak Chang!