Bak CHang aka DUMPLIINGS!

Story and photos by Dr. Michael Lim The Travelling Gourmet TM

Copyright all rights reserved

The intrepid and indomitable Travelling Gourmet TM tells you about the best Bak Chang in Singapore this year from…

MOUTHWATERING Summer Palace restaurant in the Regent Hotel. Have you heard of the Dragon Boat Festival? This important festival commemorates the legend of the patriotic poet Qu Yuan (340-278 BC). Falling on the 5th day of the 5th month according to Chinese lunar calendar, the Dragon Boat Festival is very  significant. Held annually for more than 2,000 years it  and is notable for its educational influence. The festival

celebrates the…

Legend of Qu Yuan…As a minister in the State of Chu – one of the seven warring states before Qin (221BC – 206BC) in China’s first feudal dynasty – Qu Yuan supported the decision to fight against the powerful State of Qin (one of the seven states during the Warring States Period (476 BC – 221 BC)) together with the State of Qi (ibid). However he was slandered by the aristocrat Zi Lan and was subsequently exiled by the King. In order to show his love and passion for his country, he wrote many enduring poems such as Li Sao (The Lament), Tian Wen (Asking Questions to the Heaven) and Jiu Ge (Nine Songs) and is therefore regarded as a famous poet in China’s history. In 278 BC, after finishing his last masterpiece – Huai Sha (Embracing the Sand), he drowned himself in the river rather than see his country occupied and conquered by the State of Qin. Personally, this retarded concept of suicide to prove a point and become a matyr is very asinine! Also, the concept of martyrdom is a very idiotic to my mind! Nevertheless, Qu Yuan is remembered for being a patriot…maybe a little goondoo (imbecilic) to kill himself, but a patriot nonetheless.
On hearing of Qu Yuan’s death, all the local people nearby were very upset. Fishermen searched for his body by sailing their boats up and down the river and other people threw food like eggs and  zongzi (Dumplings or Nak Chang) ito the river to attract fish and other animals to prevent them from destroying Qu Yuan’s body. As Mr. Spock of Star Trek would say: That is illogical.  Later, many people imitated these acts to show their respect for this great patriotic poet and this practice continues today in some parts of China.
Qu Yuan died on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month so people decided to commemorate him on that day every year. Dragon boat racing and eating zongzi have become the central customs of the festival. For two thousand years, Qu Yuan’s patriotic spirit influenced numerous people in China and in countries with Chinese communities. I used to race Dragon Boats too but that is another story…

In 2015 the annual Chinese Dragon Boat Festival is on June 20, 2015. Summer Palace’s experienced Chinese Dim Sum Chef Leong Kwok Sing has crafted three handcrafted glut inous rice dumplings, including the NEW Eight Treasures Vegetarian Rice Dumpling! This novel creation is a nutritious blend of seven grain variations of oats, brown rice, pre-germinated brown rice, black glutinous rice, buckwheat, lentils and pearl barley. Packed with a hearty and tasty selection of ingredients such as Morel mushrooms, crunchy bamboo piths, golden sweet corn, Shitake, chestnuts and green beans! The healthy 8 Treasures dumpling delivers eclectic flavours and sublime textures that are light and palate pleasing! The sexy sauce has red dates and choice Morel mushrooms. As a rule, Morels are not commonly used in Cantonese and Chinese cuisine, but they are extremely popular in French and European cuisine. This dumpling is good for vegetarians!

I love the Chef’s classics like the luxurious and prestigious and satisfying Abalone Steamed Rice Dumpling; or for a sweet finish taste the Osmanthus Red Date Steamed Rice Dumpling for those with a sweet tooth. This sweet dumpling comes with Osmanthus Honey which has little bits of the Osmanthus flowers infused in it. Whether sweet or savoury, the lovingly wrapped bundles of wholesome goodness will lend a delicious and delightful touch to the family celebrations at Summer Palace or in the comfort of your home.

Glutinous Rice Dumplings from Summer Palace The Travelling Gourmet TM recommends…. Abalone Steamed Rice Dumpling | $38++ per piece Steamed rice dumpling filled with abalone, black mushrooms, chestnuts, green beans, lentils, dried scallops or conpoy, roast duck, pork and salted Duck egg yolk and goeey glutinous rice all wrapped up in bamboo leaf and lotus leaf like a little square pillow. This pillow is ueber yummie! Served with luscious and rich Abalone Sauce and a 7cm long Abalone, It is enough for 3 people unless you have a big appetite. Lotus and bamboo leaves not only seal in all the flavours of the ingredients and prevent the dumpling from drying out…BUT also impart their own unique subtle aromas and flavours to the dish! One time my friend, Steven “Judgment of Paris” Spurrier, the well known Wine Expert, asked me at dinner, “What do they use to wrap up these delicious dumplings??” Steven was referring to the Hor Yip Fan Tim Sum. I told him, “Bamboo leaf.” However, he did not believe me thus showing that he knew a lot about wines but not much about Chinese cuisine…C’est la vie, n’est pas!

To match with wine, I recommend a robust aromatic Amarone della Valpolicella from Italy or a balanced palate friendly Umamu Estate Margaret River 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon & Merlot blend.

Eight Treasures Vegetarian Rice Dumpling | $22++ per piece Steamed mixed-grains rice dumpling with eight treasures (morel mushrooms, bamboo piths, oats, barley, sweet corn, black mushrooms, chestnuts, green beans) wrapped in bamboo leaf.

Dumpling Regent 20150607_135553

Regent inside 8 Treasures20150607_135818Just look at the 8 Treasures inside!

OSMANTHUS Red Date Steamed Rice Dumpling | $13++ per piece

This is a steamed rice dumpling filled with sexy and delicious red date paste, wrapped in bamboo leaf and served with Osmanthus honey. This can be enjoyed hot or cold. Try it with Coconut Ice Cream for dessert! If you have ever wondered what exactly is Osmanthus,..Well, its scientific name is Osmanthus fragrans  or in Mandarin/Chinese桂花, guìhuā. The extract of dried flowers has shown neuroprotective, free-radical scavenging and antioxidative effects in ‘in vitro‘ studies. In Chinese cuisine, Osmanthus flowers may be infused with green or black tea leaves to create a scented tea (桂花茶, guìhuāchá). The flowers are also used to produce osmanthus-scented jam (t 桂花醬, s 桂花酱, guìhuājiàng), sweet cakes (桂花糕, guìhuāgāo), dumplings, soups, desserts like jellies and even liquor! All in all, this fragrant flower is a very versatile culinary jewel largely unknown in Europe.

Chef Leong’s glutinous rice dumplings are available from June 13 to 20, 2015.

For orders or reservations, please call 6725 3288/9 or email summerpalace.rsn@fourseasons.com Advance orders at least one (1) day prior to collection date is required. Note: All prices quoted are subject to 10% service charge and other applicable government taxes.

Summer Palace,

Level Three

The Regent Hotel

1, Cuscaden Road,

Singapore 249715

Lunch: 12 to 2:30 p.m. (Monday to Saturday) and 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. (Sunday – Yum Cha) Dinner: 6:30 to 10:30 p.m..

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About thetravellinggourmet

As a renowned Travel, Food & Wine Writer he has travelled the world in a keen & indomitable pursuit of exotic delicacies & fine wines. His articles have been published in over 20 prestigious publications, both local & international. Dr. Lim has toured and trained in Wine Evaluation & Oenology in most of the world's top wine producing areas from France to Australia. The Travelling Gourmet says, "Gastronomy has no frontier. These are the gastronomic voyages of The Travelling Gourmet. My unending mission. To explore strange new cuisines, to seek out new wines and new culinary experiences, to boldly go where no gourmet has gone before...." Have pen, will travel. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or any other information storage & retrieval system, without permission from Dr. Michael Lim The Travelling Gourmet and/or MSN. Material may be works of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents may be true but may also be products of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance whatsoever to actual person or persons, either dead or living, events, or locales may be entirely and purely coincidental and unintentional. No part of this website may be used to villify others or for criminal purposes. Interests: Travel, Food, Wines, Cooking, Wine Appreciation, Parachuting, Languages, Music, Reading, Swimming, Hunting, Ballet, Fencing, Archery, Anthropology and more... The Travelling Gourmet is a copyrighted trademark. All rights and photos reserved. No part may be reproduced without permission.
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