June 7, 2014

Guilin :The Bamboo Leaves for ZhongZi

 Have you ever seen fresh bamboo leaves (ti neoh or jerng neoh) for zhongzi making? We might be able to find this type of bamboo but I do not at the moment know its whereabouts.

According to an old relative , she heard that some of the leaves were used by the Foochows in Ah Nang Chong a long time ago. This could have been planted by my own maternal grandfather!! Perhaps the original plant was washed away by river erosion.

Thus seeing this particular bamboo grove  in reality, made me think of my maternal grandmother, Tiong Lien Tie, who was born in Fujian, in Kek Tou Buoh. (Head of the Stream). I have only seen photos of this kind of bamboo in the past.

The owner of the house in the photo must have inherited this old house from his great grandparents in Guilin. My grandmother probably was born in a house like this.

The walls are all mouldy and some parts are already worn out and broken. The backyard is still in good service. An old plough hangs on the wall outside the old store. The front part of the house must be the living quarters. Next to this old house is a new home being built in modern style.

This house must have a lot of history.

This clump of bamboo caught my eye as I walked down to the ferry for the Guilin River Cruise. These are called Jerng Neoh, or Ti Neoh or Leaves for Zhongzi by the Foochows.

this bamboo plant is not very big. And the stems are rather small, like reeds actually.

How convenient it is to just cut the leaves when one is getting ready to make hundreds of zhongzi.

I remember my grandmother telling me stories about how in China they did not have to buy any ingredient to make their zhongzhi. They were so self sufficient, being subsistence farmers. They could collect the wild mushrooms in the hills to dry and they would have enough for the year. Chickens, ducks and pigs were in abundance. However when famine struck they became so poor they had to sell their daughters.

The making of zhongzi often make me think of my grandmother and how she was sold to the Lau family because of a spreading famine in the 1900?

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