We overheard some of our colleagues discussing how to make delicious rice dumplings! We are envious as we love to eat them! Fragrant glutinuous rice wrapped with pork meat, mushrooms, chestnuts, salted egg yolk etc. Yums! We were delighted when we saw some of our F&B restaurants selling them! We decided to buy some and conduct a mini food tasting session and provide recommendations to our shoppers!
Oh….but before we do that, in case you didn’t know…. Duanwu Jie, also known as Dragon Boat Festival occurs on the 5th day of the 5th month on the Chinese Calendar.
It is believed to have originated in ancient China and the best known traditional story holds that the festival commemorates the death of poet Qu Yuan, in the Warring States Period of the Zhou Dynasty. A descendant of the Chu royal house, Qu Yuan served in high offices. However, when the king decided to ally with the increasingly powerful state of Qin, Qu Yuan was banished for opposing the alliance. He was then accused of treason. During his exile, Qu Yuan wrote a lot of poetry, for which he is now remembered by. Twenty-eight years later, Qin conquered the capital of Chu. In despair, Qu Yuan committed suicide by drowning himself in the Miluo River on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month.
It is said that the local people, who admired him, threw lumps of rice into the river to feed the fish so that they would not eat Qu Yuan’s body. This is the origin of the glutinuous rice dumplings. The local people were also said to have paddled out on boats, either to scare the fish away or to retrieve his body. This is said to be the origin of dragon boat racing.
We sound knowledgeable, don’t we? :p Glad to be providing some background information and before you start yawning, let’s move on to the best part – putting these rice dumplings to the test!
We sampled 4 kinds of rice dumplings and these are our recommendations.
Glutinuous Rice Dumpling with Dried Scallop – $10.80 from Imperial Treasure Nan Bei Restaurant #02-04
We like to call this the power rice dumpling! Definitely not for the faint-hearted! Of course, we were impressed by the generous portion of ingredients stuffed in. We’ve never really seen a rice dumpling this size before. The ingredients used include glutinuous rice mixed with green bean paste, mushroom, salted egg yolk, duck meat, pork meat (with fatty meat) and dried scallop.
We love how this dumpling is very rich in flavour with so many ingredients mixed together. Not very healthy for the health-conscious as there is a lot of salted egg yolk, but we totally heart it (yes, we admit to being fans of salted egg yolk)! 🙂 Also, we’ve never eaten a rice dumpling with duck meat and it tastes delicious, though we don’t fancy finding the bone in there!
Glutinuous Rice Dumpling – $4.80 from Imperial Treasure Nan Bei Restaurant #02-04
This dumpling has the classic assortment of ingredients – glutinuous rice mixed with green bean paste, mushroom, salted egg yolk and pork meat. What’s different is that it has also lotus seed (giving it a crunchy feel) and dried prawns. We love how it smells so fragrant when we unwrapped the bamboo leaves and it tastes savoury. It also can be a little salty.
Glutinuous Rice Dumpling with Lotus Seed Paste – $3.80 from Imperial Treasure Nan Bei Restaurant #02-04
We’ve not tasted a rice dumpling with lotus paste and we were really excited to try it! We like how the paste melts in your mouth and its sweetness is just right, not too sweet. The texture of the rice is smooth, though it can taste a little raw.
Hong Kong Style Rice Dumplings – $4.80 from Hong Kong Sheng Kee Dessert #B1-K12
This Hong Kong styled rice dumpling is packed with an assortment of ingredients including chestnut, mushroom, salted egg yolk, pork belly and roast pork. It has a nice sweetness to it as there are red beans. The strong lotus leaf fragrance really whets your appetite. You will want to ask for more. It has quite a lot of fatty meat though.
In conclusion, more votes were given to………..the Hong Kong styled rice dumpling from Hong Kong Sheng Kee Desserts! Go on and indulge in these time-honoured delicacies. Our advice though is to drink Chinese tea after eating them as they could be rather oily.
What we like too about these rice dumplings is that it’s also a perfect festive gift for your family and friends!
Happy Duanwu Jie everyone!
Love, Tampines 1