October 25, 2015

Sibu Tales : Fillings for Baos and Zongzi

During my childhood, my maternal grandmother and an aunt made the best baos and changs (zongzi) for the whole extended family. Grandma would use the zongzi as her annual gifts to her daughters and sons-in-law and grandchildren.

This aunt would get up early to collect the pork from the village butcher well ahead of the other villagers. And the whole morning the mother and daughter-in-law would be busy wrapping up the changs. By noon, the changs boiling in the large tin would be ready. Children would eat first. The process of boiling the changs would be right into the night as many batches had to be made.

Early the next morning my maternal grandmother would bring the changs to Sibu by motor launch, to distribute them to her three daughters and their families. It would take her at least two hours by the slow boat. This was our May festivity and we looked forward to it.

Later as Sibu developed, and as grandma aged, she would come to Sibu to make the Changs for us, while Aunt would make for her growing children in Nang Chong. Grandma could not make so many by then and my sister had already learned to make changs. My mother and I were not very good with the wrapping of changs and we gave up making them..

Also by then things were more expensive and grandma also made less. The grandchildren were growing up and moving away, so she did not have to give so many to each of her daughters.

One of the greatest lessons I learned from grandmother and especially aunt was the love we should put into the fillings : the best of lean meat and the best of mushrooms.

As for changs,we must always put in a whole chestnut together with the meat slice amd mushroom.

With this kind of cultural background and family culinary home education, today we actually find it hard to accept the commercial baos which contain all sorts of poorer quality meat and tissues in the fillings. It would be very hard to find baos with a good slice of meat as filling nowadays.

Love is putting the best meat in the fillings for baos and changs.

(However, the biggest red beans must be found to make the best of Foochow Whole Red Bean Chang, which is very iconic and special for us, who had enjoyed our maternal grandmother's changs...now that's another story.)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Ya, remember the Sing Chu Ang paos! RM1 for 6 (veg), RM1 for 3 (bak paos)!

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