Rice Dumpling – Bak Chang

   Posted by: CK Lam   in Bak Chang, Chinese, Dumpling, Events

Happy Duan Wu Festival to all my readers!

In line with tradition, every year my MIL prepares her own Bak Chang (rice dumpling).  This time around, I decided to put up a post in my food blog on this savory rice dumpling which is literally a meal on itself as it is stuffed with various types of ingredients.


Rice Dumpling – Bak Chang (Hokkien), Zong Zi (Mandarin) & Ham Yoke Chung (Cantonese)

There are different variations in ingredients but the basic ones would be the braised meat with five spice powder, dried mushroom, mung beans, Chinese chestnut and pre-fried glutinous rice.  For our homemade version, we ‘kei liao’ by adding in the salted egg yolk, scallops and the dried prawns. Most of the ingredients are pre-cooked, and the bamboo leaves boiled for easy wrapping.


All the ingredients with the straw and bamboo leaves

The wrapping process requires a lot of work, stuffing all the ingredients into the cone shaped bamboo leaves.



I like my Bak Chang stuff with salted egg yolk as the saltiness and grainy texture combines well with the rest of the ingredients.


All the ingredients are finally covered with another layer of glutinous rice and some mung beans.

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The next part is giving the dumpling a firm and tight grip as you fold in the rest of the bamboo leaves. This is to prevent any spilling of the ingredients during the boiling process. It does look easy but it needs some skill.




Securing it with the straw

The dumplings are placed into a pot of hot boiling water and left to simmer in the hot water for 3 hours under moderate heat. That’s a need to stand by to kor hui (jaga api) as hot water needs to be replenish on and off. I enjoyed seeing the whole process and I am wondering if I will be able to keep the tradition going in years to come as I am lacking the skills in making it.


Hope everyone get to indulge in your favorite rice dumpling this year. This Bak Chang is my lunch for today. Now..where did I put my ‘Char Wong’ tea leaves?


Tips…Do you know that you can freeze up the dumplings for months and warm up when you feel hungry? I have done it before, just steam it over boiling water but do not heat it in the microwave oven.

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, May 27th, 2009 at 1:21 pm and is filed under Bak Chang, Chinese, Dumpling, Events. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

41 comments so far


nice photos! i also don’t have the skill in making bak zhang, know how to wrap, but dunno the final step of tying it properly…so no choice have to buy from outside!

lingzie´s last blog post..Wickedly Good Weekend Chee Cheong Chok @ China Street

May 27th, 2009 at 1:48 pm
Penang Tionghua

I would consider Bak Chang from the cart at the junction of Burma Road/Tavoy Road (side of 7th Day Adventist Church opposite SRJK Cina Union) as the best now.

Don’t spend time making your own Bak Chang, it could end up as quite expensive.

In 1955 – 1962, I was helping my late aunt selling and “wholesaling” Bak Chang at the corner of Bridge Street/Katz Street (Bridge Street = Jalan CY Choy). Go there, you could still see the terrazzo/brick table built by my aunt way back in the 50s.

She was considered the best at her times. In fact, she was the only maker, wholesaler and retailer at same time. But, she had to start work at 2am and dragging with family chores to rest only 2 hours a day, every day for nearly 30 years! Serious!

I had my share of making Bak Chang and I could still fold the leaves around the dumpling beautifully… sorry self-praise motivation to write… hahaha

CK’s blog has provided me a lane to walk my memories of the good, the bad and the ugly in life. Many thanks…

May 27th, 2009 at 3:09 pm

lingzie – It is indeed not easy to master the skill as it is done once a year only. Anyway, there is still plenty of time for you to pick it up.

Penang Tionghua – Hats off to your aunt for doing it for so long. Moreover most of the things in the earlier days have to be prepare by themselves too.
Thanks again for sharing a bit of the history as well as the street names with me :)

May 27th, 2009 at 3:40 pm

Make me salivating lor… I only got to eat it later this week when I back to my aunt’s place . Your MIL bah chang looks soo yummy!

allie´s last blog post..Penang Restaurant | Opera Oriental Cuisine (Valuable Set Lunch)

May 27th, 2009 at 3:46 pm

Later I will got my sis, sis-in-law and mum to sponsor some bak chang and kee chang. One day, I’ll pester my mom to coach me and pass down her skill and knowledge to me. :)

Little Inbox´s last blog post..Fried Instant Noodle

May 27th, 2009 at 4:06 pm

Your photos really me hungry la! Can’t wait to get few bak chang from the pasar malam tonite….but I still prefer Penang version:-)

FoodnTravella´s last blog post..FEEL LIKE BAKING……

May 27th, 2009 at 4:35 pm

i bought one nice bak chang from new world park that day…drooling seeing your post abt bak chang…happy duan wu jie!!!

SimpleGirl´s last blog post..Penang Food Post 1

May 27th, 2009 at 4:54 pm

I enjoy making bakchang… and always end up giving away the changs. Yes, they can be kept in freezer for a very long time and never reheat using microwave as this dries them up!

Pureglutton´s last blog post..Chicken Rice @ Loke Yun

May 27th, 2009 at 4:56 pm

allie – Have a pleasant journey!

Little Inbox – It’s good if you are interested in picking up the skill.

FoodnTravella – If I am right, there is a big pasar malam in Cheras tonight.

SimpleGirl – The stall in NWP has plenty of varieties too. Happy duan wu jie to you too.

Pureglutton – Wow…at least you know how to wrap the chang…pui fook pui fook.

May 27th, 2009 at 6:25 pm

Wah …scallop inside? and also salted egg. My home version dun hav that lea..Yours must be delicious LOL

Satisfyingtummy´s last blog post..Chinese Glutinous Rice Dumpling/ Ham Yok Zhong/ Bak Chang

May 27th, 2009 at 7:31 pm

Happy Duan Wu to you and your family. Yeah…. it needs time to master the skill. This is the second year hubby and I learn wrapping bak chang from my MIL. My hubby done it better than me. lol

FoOd PaRaDiSe´s last blog post..Invited Review – JL Steamboat Restaurant @ Nagore Road, Penang

May 27th, 2009 at 9:08 pm

i miss the brown rice version one..also got veg version (which is a no-no ;p for my chang!) but the meaty version is good! cos glutinous rice makes me feel bloated..

thenomadGourmand´s last blog post..Foodies day out – OuG market & Loke Yuen Chic Rice

May 27th, 2009 at 9:36 pm

Wish you and family happy dumpling festival. I have made some bak chang here, feel free to drop by and have some. :-)

wendy´s last blog post..Glutinous Rice Dumpling (?? – Zong Zi)

May 27th, 2009 at 10:24 pm

wahh..i’m gonna miss the bak chang..uhuhuhu..drooling rite now..hehe

May 28th, 2009 at 3:42 am

hahahah now I know who will make bak chang for me! my graciously CK Lam! :)

Big Boys Oven´s last blog post..Bake with Me | Johor Bahru, Singapore, KL & Penang

May 28th, 2009 at 9:07 am

CK, Thanks for photo-documenting this heritage process of making Bak Chang. Great photography. Did you make the chang yourself? Kudos!! Unfortunately, I do not have the skills….

Alan´s last blog post..Ko-Fu Loft

May 28th, 2009 at 9:14 am

nothing beats homemade bak chang-it looks firm, well cooked full of all the tasty ingredients-one of the best that I’ve seen.

foodbin´s last blog post..RESTORAN WAI KEE.

May 28th, 2009 at 9:40 am

it’s nice and warm to have MIL’s bak chang. :)

New Kid On The Blog´s last blog post..Fat Mum Seafood House ??????

May 28th, 2009 at 12:59 pm

My MIL can make very good dumplings and I am only her assistant. LOL! Maybe in our next meet-up, I prepare the tea and you provide the bak chang? ;)

food-4tots´s last blog post..

May 28th, 2009 at 1:19 pm

The ingredients are same with what my mom’s prepare but urs got extra dried scallop~~ I like dumpling with lots of ingredients!!!

mimid3vils´s last blog post..Souled Out Kuala Lumpur

May 28th, 2009 at 1:55 pm

haha .. taking about freezing it, i’m very tempted to try the frozen ones they sell in cold storage!!

Jane Saw´s last blog post..Happy ‘Dumpling’ Festival

May 28th, 2009 at 2:39 pm

awwww so jealous! got people made bak zhang for u. :( i have only managed to eat one this year, and i think thts it.

xin´s last blog post..Nail Art Tips: Express French Manicure and Pedicure

May 28th, 2009 at 3:18 pm

Satisfyingtummy – From what I know, not many people put in salted egg in their chang.

Food Paradise – Great team work, husband & wife. I am sure you will make the best chang in time to come.

thenomadGourmand – I have yet to try the vege version…being a meat lover, usually go for the bak chang :)

wendy – Wow…you do have the skills…very nicely done.

Hong – Ask your mum to keep some in the freezer so you can have it on your trip home.

Big Boys Oven – It would be nice to share some with you.

Alan – My mother in law is making it and I am just helping around…no such good skill yet.

May 28th, 2009 at 5:17 pm

foodbin – Hope you will share your version with me next year.

New Kid On The Blog – Sure is…comfort food.

food-4tots – Good idea, waiting for your visit.

mimid3vils – Me too, plenty of ingredients…more flavorful.

Jane Saw – Do heat it up over boiling water.

xin – I am happy to share some with you too.

May 28th, 2009 at 5:19 pm

wow, very nice.. is hard to find nice homemade bak chang already. Lucky You!

May 28th, 2009 at 8:50 pm

wahlau..until july ar..haha…i think the bakchang will turned into stone d..haha

Hong´s last blog post..In the Wild..Safari of South Africa

May 28th, 2009 at 10:00 pm

Oh I just love the 2nd shot with all the ingredients displayed! Such goodies going into a dumpling… so much so that one is never enough! :)

P.S. As for your tip, my mom’s told me she’s frozen some of my favourite Nyonya zhang already, ready for me to take back the next time I visit my hometown. :D

Life for Beginners´s last blog post..Humanly

May 28th, 2009 at 10:07 pm

aiyo so beautiful!! u want one :’(

christock´s last blog post..Top 100 Bloggers in Malaysia – I’m a Standout in Life, NOT

May 29th, 2009 at 12:39 am

hko – True…not many people are willing to do it now.

Hong – It will be fine if properly frozen…but can always ask your mom to wrap it when you come back. I am sure she is more than happy to do that.

Life for Beginners – So nice… get to eat mom’s homemade zhang. I have tried many types of Nyonya version but till date have not come across one that is very ‘genuine’.

christock – Already eaten your favorite dumpling?

May 29th, 2009 at 9:53 am

Hi CK,
This is something I have never try making. Too much work but after seeing all the ingredients in your mil’s chang, I am so tempted to try this out one day. I did not try making my own chang is becoz I have not learn how to wrap the chang and is afraid that if I cant wrap it properly…the whole load of glutinous rice will be wasted together with the expensive ingredients….LOL but I will try one day…your mil is super good at it . Neat work! Thanks for showing the photos step by step how to wrap the chang.

Elin´s last blog post..Century Egg With Homemade Pickled Ginger

May 29th, 2009 at 11:37 am

aiks..i didnt know that can last for 1 month. but last year for 1 week in a row my breakfast and lunch is bak chang. my aunt made too much. this year onli ate 1… but homemade is always the best yet with scalobbb..wonder how it taste~

taufulou´s last blog post..Club Monaco Warehouse sale 29 – 31 May 09

May 29th, 2009 at 1:15 pm

Elin – Maybe you could start with a smaller amount of rice and ingredients… at least not much is wasted if it goes wrong. Glad you like this post.

taufulou – Oh my…that is a lot of chang for a day. Do store it up in the freezer next time and can heat it up anytime you wish.
For homemade chang, we have an option to stuff anything that we like in it, including scallop…tasty :)

May 29th, 2009 at 4:00 pm

Initially i was thinking steaming the frozen bak chang is the best but this year i tried the microwave reheat and it actually better then steaming. It took only 4 minutes to microwave reheat my bak chang but it took 10 minutes to steam it. Moreover, the steam bak chang is a bit “lembik” after steaming and steaming requires more effort. I could not explain but this is what happend.
CK, did you bring the frozen bak chang to the fridge from freezer before you steam it?
And did you try the Tavoy road bak chang this year?

May 30th, 2009 at 9:55 pm

CK .. step by step intructions for ‘bak chang’ing.. with clear picture summo.. very useful.. thx for the info..

June 1st, 2009 at 12:16 am

My wife and I are lovers of good food.WE are also good cooks,serving some traditional food.One of them is your favourite “bak chang’Our friends ve fallen in love with our food that ther ve requested us to fulfil their orders.Our ‘bak chang’ is made up of 8 fillings,namely pork,dried prawns,salted egg,water chestnut,mushroom,red beans and yellow beansThe best part is that there is no boric acid.Will be making another batch onthe 25 June as it the repeat of the fifth month of the Chinese lunar calendar.Do contact me 2 send u some 2 sample.With regards

June 11th, 2009 at 6:58 pm

Z – I leave the frozen chang in room temperature for a while before steaming them.
Besides those made by my MIL during the festival, I used to buy from the Tavoy road and Cintra Street.

Lysanne – You are most welcome.

richard tan – Thanks for dropping by…it’s nice to know another couple who loves eating. Very kind of you for sharing your chang. Would very much like to try them.

ck lam´s last blog post..Vintage Bulgaria Restaurant and Bar – Revisited

June 13th, 2009 at 11:48 am
Richard Tan

I can be contacred at 019 4727346 will deliver 2 u on 25 June

June 14th, 2009 at 9:58 pm
Richard Tan

Hi CK.I nearly forgot to share with your readers another way of eating your favourite ‘Bak Chang’.Freeze the dumpling in the freezer until it is hard. Then take it out and using a very sharp knife,slice it into slices, not too thick or too thin. just the right thickness.When frozen hard, the fillings will not drop off when sliced. Over a low fire,fry it until it is crispy and dip it with your favourite chilli sauce, soya sauce and a dash of pepper in the soya sauce. Love the fragrance and crispiness of the dumping.This is way out and no amount of words can describe the satisfaction. Quickly, get your dumpling from your favourite stall and enjoy.Comments are much appreciated.Cheerio.

June 17th, 2009 at 1:21 pm
Starving for Bak Chang

Anyone can recommend any place in Penang that sell tasty yummy Bak Chang pleaseeeeeeee

CK Lam Reply:

There are several stalls that you can visit….one in Lorong Susu (off Macalister Road), another one nearby Him Heang on Burma Road and a shop in Cintra Street (nearby the Rolex shop).

June 16th, 2010 at 11:53 pm

Hi CK, wow my compliments! Nice pictures and a good inspiration for this weekend to try out! Love the hint that you can freeze it up :-)

July 22nd, 2011 at 5:30 pm

I just buy the frozen one from Chinese supermarket.Maybe steam it for breakfast tomorrow,by the way i in Trinidad And Tobago so no choice but to buy the frozen.

July 26th, 2012 at 10:27 am

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