Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Nyonya Chang

The Chinese Glutinous Rice dumpling or "Chang" (Hokkien dialect) festival is just round the corner. Being celebrated on the fifth day of the fifth Chinese Calendar. The history of this Chinese dumpling from the little that I knew is related to the attempt of the Chinese community in China long time ago to save the life of one of their local scholar who was sentenced to death by drowning in the lake. The community cooked some glutinous rice filled with sweet meat and nuts wrapped with bamboo leaves and threw the wrapped rice into the lake - for the fish to eat? Not too sure....... Ai ya, will try to source for its story and update this blog which I believe for those who are unfamiliar with the story would love to know. Those who knew the story, you are welcome to share! Now.....my own curiousity is being pricked! LOL!

The Baba Nyonya Chang has a glaring physical difference from the normal Chang as it has blue hue which is taken from the Butterfly Pea Flower (Bunga Telang) juice. Its filling of minced meat is sweet and aromatic from the use of spices. Its size and shape is the same with the other dumplings.

The Baba Nyonya community is a group of minority Chinese in Malaysia that originated from China who came to Malaya (Malaysia's former name) together with Princess Hang Li Po's entourage who was betrothed to the Sultan of Malacca. This group of Chinese married the locals and adopted part of their way of life in terms of food, language, culture and even dressing whilst maintaining their Buddhism religion. Initially most Baba Nyonyas could only conversed in Malay Baba language which is Malay mixed with Hokkien language, and hardly spoke any Chinese. However, over time, most of them could now converse in their mother's tongue and some had even embraced other religions. The menfolk were addressed as Babas whereas the ladies were known as Nyonyas.

This community which is also known as "Peranakan" is found mostly along the Straits of Settlement ie Penang, Malacca and Singapore. Some had migrated to other places such as Kuala Lumpur. Yours truly is a Nyonya herself, from Malacca.

The Peranakan's culture is beautiful and colourful. One of the most recognised and appreciated culture is their housewares. In the photo below and above, the plate and bowl are some samples of their beautiful culture (the white and blue version). They also have a colourful version which I hope one day to share its beauty in this blog. My family does not own many of these beautiful wares as most of them were either sold by its owner or given away to other relatives. What a pity...... sigh...

Read this link if you are curious about the Baba Nyonya's background......

For those who wish to taste this unique Baba Nyonya glutinous rice dumpling, it is available for RM5.00 each, minimum order is 15 pieces. For quantity above 40 pieces, special price of RM4.70 each.
Requires 3 days of advance notice as they are freshly made and no preservatives are added. Furthermore, most ingredients are hand prepared.
Yippee.......found some links which have the story on the Chang........

Happy Reading!


LY said...

Hi there. I just stumbled upon your entry here. Do you make these nyonya chang for order? I would like to order some from you soon. Thanks.

Handmadechoc said...


Didn't realise you've posted an enquiry! Thousand apologies.

Yes, I do make. Do let me know whenever you have the craving for it.

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