Dumplings still hot despite prices

Butterworth: The price hikes of ingredients used in the preparation of “bak chang”, or dumplings, have not dampened the excitement among locals eagerly awaiting the tasty treat at the Dragon Boat Festival.

Lee Choon Lai (59), a Kuih seller, said that she was forced to increase her prices this year due to the rising price of bamboo leaves and pork.

I have been selling dumplings and making them for 20 years. This year I am selling dumplings for RM8 a piece, an increase of RM1 compared to last year.

“As the wrapper and sealer of each dumpling is two layers thick bamboo leaves, I use the thinner leaf inside and the wider leaf outside to reduce costs.

“My regular clients understand the reason for price change.” Lee, who sells dumplings in Jalan Kampung paya, said that there had been no complaints.

Lee cooks her dumplings with pandan and garlic oil in water to enhance their taste.

Ooi Chin Heng (48), owner of Sundry Shop, says that the low ringgit and lack of bamboo leaves has led to a higher price this year.

The leaves are imported from China. The leaves are between 7cm to 10cm wide.

He said yesterday at his shop on Jalan Jeti Lama that the price ranged between RM30 to RM48 per kilogram, a 10% rise compared to last year.

Ooi stated that despite the rise, people still want to spend money on savoury delights.

He said that prices of other ingredients had remained constant.

Three weeks ago, people began shopping for ingredients like glutinous rice and dried mushrooms, as well as salted eggs.

He added that “the prices of these raw materials remain unchanged and they are still affordable.”

Rice dumplings, also known as chang or zongzi in Mandarin are an essential part of the Dragon Boat Festival (also known as Duan Wu Festival).

This festival commemorates the poet Qu Yuan who drowned about 1,000 years ago in protest against corrupt practices.

People threw the zong zi after his death as a sign to prevent fish from eating his remains.

One of the highlights of the festival in Malaysia is enjoying the dumplings together with friends and family.

Dumplings are made from glutinous rice and stuffed with various ingredients.

The Penang Dumpling Cultural Festival will be held at Sia Boey Urban Archaeological Park on June 8 and 9 from 10am-10pm.

He said that there will be cultural games and activities, as well as art and craft workshops and stage performances.

Wong confirmed that the Penang International Dragon Boat Regatta will only be held on November 23 and 24, as many teams are currently taking part in dragon boats races in China.

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