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Bak zhang (rice dumplings) is no longer just festive food. This compact meal-wrapped-in-leaves is now available commercially at outlets across the island throughout the year. Some stalls are even open 24 hours to satisfy those with glutinous-rice cravings at any time of the night. This is not to say the significance of having rice dumplings during the Chinese Dragon Boat Festival (or duan wu jie) has lessened – many still eat bak zhang only during this period of the year, which tends to fall in June (the fifth day of the fifth month in the Chinese lunar calendar). Here are five of the top bundles from Singapore's hawker stalls. (Note: prices quoted are regular, expect prices to rise during the festive season.)
Image 2 of 6 | Image credits: Tris Marlis
FOR GENEROUS HOKKIEN-STYLE BAK ZHANG | HOO KEE RICE DUMPLINGS | Hoo Kee is known to make the best commercial bak zhang (glutinous rice dumplings) around. The menu is simple, only Hokkien-style pork dumplings are available with an option of an salted egg yolk included in the wrap ($3.80; with salted yolk $4.60). The shop is generous with the ingredients – sticky and flavourful glutinous rice with juicy pork, mushroom and chestnut for a pad of sweetness. You are advised to place your order in advance, especially when close to Dragon Boat Festival, although we hear orders have all been booked up in early June 2015. Pity, since its pork dumpling with salted egg yolk is worth standing in line for.