'One-bite' dumplings

'One-bite' dumplings
Teoh preparing the dumplings with the help of her daughters (from left) Chan Lay Beng, Chan Lay Li and Chan Lay Suan at their factory in Weld Quay.

GEORGE TOWN - Teoh Siew Hong, 76, has come a long way since her humble beginnings selling bak chang (glutinous rice meat dumpling).

From selling 50-odd dumplings a day using a trishaw, she now sells a few thousands daily at her shop in Weld Quay here.

Popularly known as Feng Yi or Hong Yi to her clients, Teoh said she started selling dumplings in the 1970s.

"Our family was poor and I had to sell dumplings and other types of kuih to help my family.

"Business improved over the years, thanks to the many customers who liked our bak chang for its authentic and traditional taste," she said.

Teoh said she used dried scallops, meat, salted egg yolk, mushrooms and chestnuts as the main ingredients.

"All my children (two sons and four daughters) learnt to make bak chang at a very young age.

"Although my two sons are in the United States and Vietnam, they will be back for the Bak Chang Festival.

"Even my grandchildren can now help me prepare the dumplings," she said, adding that the festival was the most important celebration for her family.

This year, Teoh's shop is offering a new variety - "one-bite dumplings (yi kou zong in Mandarin)".

"We introduced yi kou zong because some people think the traditional bak chang is too big and unhealthy.

"For this new variety, you get the authentic taste in just one bite," Teoh said.

The Rice Dumpling Festival, which falls today, is celebrated on the fifth day of the fifth month of the Chinese lunar calendar.

It commemorates poet Qu Yuan, who drowned himself in a river to protest against corrupt practices in China over 1,000 years ago.

After his death, the local people started to throw rice dumplings wrapped in lotus leaves into the river to prevent fish from eating his remains.

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