Some may not know that there is a rice dumpling stall awarded with a Michelin Bib Gourmand. So the French inspectors do give accolades to a humble Bak Chang stall.
What would Qu Yuan think about it?
(Just so you know: Rice Dumplings, otherwise called “Zong Zi” or “Bak Chang” are traditionally eaten during the Duanwu Festival / Dragon Boat Festival, which falls on the 5th day of the 5th month of the lunar calendar. Long story short: It was eaten to commemorate the death of Qu Yuan, a famous Chinese poet from the kingdom of Chu during the Warring States period.)
Hoo Kee Rice Dumplings has been around since the 1940s, and relocated to the Amoy Street Food Centre in the 1980s where it has remained ever since as a result of the government’s ban on street hawking.
The stall has appeared on the newspapers many times and has even been featured on CNN Travel. Renowned food blogger ieatishootipost wrote that it is the “Best Bak Chang I have ever eaten”.
To avoid disappointment, customers are recommended to place orders on phone before heading down to collect if they are buying a sizable number.
The stall serves these traditional Chinese dumplings in an authentic Hokkien style. All their dumplings are made by hand and are thus of a quality that cannot be reproduced by machines.
These come in a number of flavours including Original, Salted Egg Yolk as well as mushrooms ($2.80 for original, $3.60 for salted egg yolk or mushrooms).
The Hokkien style of rice dumplings are generally darker and more robust in flavours than the Nyonya or Cantonese counterparts.
They are wrapped in fragrant bamboo leaves, filled with a blend of moist glutinous rice with savoury meat, Shitake mushrooms, salted duck eggs, and crunchy chestnuts.
Actually, I do not see the younger generation of Singaporeans having Bak Chang often, partly because it is typically heavy in carbs and oily – thus fattening, and often seen as a traditional festive food.
It is not your everyday kind of food.
While I have Bak Chang say just a couple of times per year (also due to health reasons), I happen to like Hoo Kee’s version.
The rice is stickier than usual and rather flavourful. As lean meat is used and not the fatty parts, the dumpling is not as greasy compared to the average Hokkien rice dumpling.
With that said, a female friend shared mine, but did not enjoy as much as it was too heavy.
If you want to make your calories worthwhile on a rice dumpling, then it shall be Hoo Kee’s. And great that they are keeping the traditions alive.
Hoo Kee Bak Zhang
Amoy Street Food Centre #01-18, 7 Maxwell Road Singapore 069111
Tel: +65 6221 1155
Opening Hours: 11am – 3pm (Mon – Sat). Closed on Sun
Other branch: Blk 161 Bukit Merah Central #01-3735 Singapore 150161
Tel: +65 6222 7866
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