Today being the fifth day of the Chinese fifth lunar month, the Chinese everywhere in the world are celebrating the Dumpling Festival. We are no different. But as my family had decided not to make any chang this year, I have to thank thoughtful friends and neighbours who shared some of their dumplings with us.
While partaking some of these dumplings, I must say that the types we find in Malaysia constitute possibly the best in the world. Better, I must say, that even the ones found in China. The chang may have originated there but the Chinese there simply have no imagination when it comes to using ingredients.
When I was in Shanghai earlier this month, our tour bus had stopped outside some eateries. As we wandered through the building in search of food, we saw an eatery advertising their dumplings. There was a very long queue of possibly some 30 to 40 persons deep. Surprisingly, everyone was inching their way patiently and orderly towards the counter.
Soon, we reached the head of the queue and placed our orders. Despite the varieties that the eatery claimed to have, there were only two or three types on sale. We paid for our purchase and adjourned to the side of the shop to collect the dumplings which were already pre-packed in individual plastic bags.
The real surprise came when we ate the dumplings. Whichever corner we bit, we found only glutinous rice. We found a small piece of pork somewhere in the chang but that was it. What a disappointment. If ever there was a case of misleading advertisement, this would qualify. But that wouldn't have mattered to us. After all, we were on tour and this was a trip to see a small part of China. But our bigger disappointment was that the Chinese chang tasted quite unremarkable. Quite, quite ordinary and very bland, actually.
Therefore, as I sank into the dumplings which my neighbours have given us today, I must be thankful that we Chinese Malaysians have evolved to the stage where the quality of our food has surpassed that cooked by the Chinese themselves.