Whether you call them bak changs, zongzi or rice dumplings, these pyramids of rice and meat wrapped in bamboo leaves are a delicious tradition we can all get onboard with. Typically eaten during the Dragon Boat festival every year, did you know that there are at least five different types of traditional bak chang in Singapore?
While many restaurants and eateries have created modern flavours these days, there’s no replacing the traditional ones. The latter can be broadly classified according to the different dialect groups in Singapore.
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How Did Bak Changs Originate?
Quick history lesson: The folklore about how this traditional snack came about took place in ancient China around B.C 287.
A patriotic poet from the state of Chu, Qu Yuan, was exiled as the king refused to heed his advice of attacking the state of Qin, resulting in the fall of the state. Dejected, he later drowned himself in the Mi-Luo River.
When people learned about his death, they started throwing rice dumplings into the water, hoping that the fishes and dragons would not eat his body. They also rowed boats to look for his body and this was how the tradition of racing dragon boat came about too.
Here are five traditional bak zhang flavours you should try: