It’s Malaysia and her multiculturalism at its finest. There’s always a festival or two to celebrate in a typical month. On 3 June, it is the turn of the Chinese community who will observe the age-old tradition of Dragon Boat Festival 2022.
While its simplistic English name doesn’t fully encapsulate the true scale of the festival, in Chinese, it’s called duan wu, which is translated into double fifth, as the festival falls on the fifth day of the fifth month in the Chinese lunar calendar. There are several explanations that seek to elucidate its cultural origin. The common understanding is that the month is considered to bring misfortune – not unlike the unlucky coincidence of a Friday that also happens to fall on the 13th day of a month, the West believes. Measures are taken to ward off evil spirits. Among the celebratory activities that take place are dragon ball racing, which explains why the day is called the Dragon Boat Festival.
What’s the story behind the Dragon Boat Festival?
The symbolic gestures that the Chinese community that continues to practise can be traced back to past Chinese dynasties and their historical events, such as the poignant story of influential poet Qi Yuan.
His suicide by drowning that triggered a mass rescue is said to have inspired dragon boat racing, as well as the locals, who greatly admired Qi Yuan wanted his missing body to be preserved and not be fed upon by aquatics, decided to feed the fish stick rice balls, thus giving rise to the serving of glutinous rice dumplings – not to be mistaken for the dim sum assortments – during the Dragon Boat Festival.
Various Chinese clans have since adapted the stick rice dumpling to their own tastes. Generally speaking, you can expect a dumpling to be made of seasoned sticky rice that has been pre-stir fried, chestnut, dried shrimp, pork belly, salted egg yolk, mushroom and mung bean, wrapped in either lotus or bamboo leaves, before they are cooked to perfection in boiling water. In Malaysia, nyonya dumplings and the vegan-friendly alkaline dumplings can also be found around this time.
Where to purchase sticky rice dumplings for Dragon Boat Festival 2022?
(Hero and feature images by Mandarin Oriental, Kuala Lumpur)
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Available from now till June 12 at outlets located in Imbi KL, Sri Petaling and Ipoh, Oversea Restaurant is celebrating the Dragon Boat Festival with sticky rice dumplings of Cantonese flavour. Shaped like a pillow and wrapped in broad lotus leaves, the Lotus Leaf Rice Dumpling is freshly made daily, containing essential ingredients such as salted egg yolk, green bean, dried shrimp, chestnut and pork belly marinated for 24 hours in a special homemade sauce. It starts at RM84+ (three pieces, 350g-380g), while the Jumbo Cantonese Style Rice Dumpling made with additional premium ingredients such as mushroom and dried scallop is priced at RM50+ per piece (650g-680g).
The Imbi KL outlet is located at 84-88, Jalan Imbi, 55100 Kuala Lumpur. Call 03-2144 9911 or 012-928 3170 to order. The Sri Petaling outlet is located at 62-66, Jalan 1/149 D, Bandar Baru Sri Petaling, 57000 Kuala Lumpur. Call 03-9057 9911 or 012-292 3170 to order. The Ipoh outlet is located at 57-65, Jalan Seenivasagam, 30450 Ipoh, Perak. Call 05-253 8005 or 012-938 3170 to order.
For premium looks yet rooted in traditional flavour, head over to Shangri-La Kuala Lumpur for handmade sticky rice dumplings made especially for Dragon Boat Festival 2022 by the Shang Palace. The price starts at RM36 nett, with order taking ending June 3. You may opt for delivery or self-pickup for the assortment of dumplings.
Premium options include ones made with XO sauce, foie gras and roast chicken (RM79), and Fujian-style rice dumplings (RM70), while traditional as well as unique flavours include Yunnan mushroom rice dumplings (RM36), sweetened purple with vanilla custard rice dumplings (RM36), and more. Gift boxes are offered too.
Shangri-La Kuala Lumpur is located at 11, Jalan Sultan Ismail, Kuala Lumpur, 50250 Kuala Lumpur. Call 03-2032 2388.
For sticky rice dumplings with luxurious touches, Lai Po Heen has you sorted. Mandarin Oriental’s signature Chinese restaurant is offering a delectable range for Dragon Boat Festival 2022. Options include the Steamed Supreme Sea Treasures and South Africa Abalone Glutinous Rice Dumpling made of abalone, dried scallop, dried shrimp, chestnut, fresh lotus seed, mushroom, salted egg yolk, green bean and chicken for RM120+; the Hong Kong Roast Duck Glutinous Rice Dumpling made with chestnut, black-eyed pea and salted duck egg for RM50+; and the Heritage Traditional Nyonya Glutinous Rice Dumpling made of chicken, dry winter melon, shallot, mushroom and garlic for RM38+.
Mandarin Oriental, Kuala Lumpur is located at Kuala Lumpur City Centre, 50088 Kuala Lumpur. Call 03-2330 8798 to order.
Li Yen is rolling out the most scrumptious ingredients for its sticky rice dumplings for Dragon Boat Festival 2022. Available from May 21 till June 3 for delivery as well as self-pickup, all orders must be placed and paid on the day between 12pm and 8pm, with complimentary delivery services offered to those at and above RM200 and within the radius of 20km. A RM20 delivery fee will be levied on orders below RM200.
Vegetarians will be delighted that Li Yen caters to them. The unique dumpling is made of sticky rice filled with either red bean or lotus paste, and served with honey. It is priced at RM20. On the other hand, the Cantonese sticky rice dumpling is made of pork, duck meat, salted egg yolk, dried shrimp and scallop, chestnut, and split yellow peas. It is priced at RM60.
Order yours through WhatsApp at 018-646 8033. The Ritz-Carlton, Kuala Lumpur is located at 168, Jalan Imbi, Bukit Bintang, 55100 Kuala Lumpur.
Available till June 3 for delivery and self-pickup, Shanghai Restaurant at JW Marriott brings a continental taste to the traditional sticky rice dumpling. Its unique and indulgent interpretation is made of Spanish pork, salted egg yolk and chestnut, emphasising on savouriness. It is priced at RM60. To appeal to vegetarians, an alternative filling of sweet bean paste is offered. Priced at RM35, it is served with an Osmanthus-flavour syrup.
All orders must be placed and paid on the day between 12pm and 8pm, with complimentary delivery services offered to those at and above RM200 and within the radius of 20km. A RM20 delivery fee will be levied on orders below RM200.
JW Marriott Hotel Kuala Lumpur is located at 183, Bukit Bintang St, Bukit Bintang, 55100 Kuala Lumpur. To place your order, WhatsApp to 018-591 8537.
Chynna, Hilton Kuala Lumpur’s answer to Cantonese cuisine, is ringing in Dragon Boat Festival 2022 with a dumpling galore. On the menu are four reasonably priced options – signature glutinous rice dumpling with abalone, dried scallop, chicken, black mushroom, salted egg yolk and cowpea (RM48), glutinous rice dumpling with black truffle, chicken, black mushroom, salted egg yolk wrapped in lotus leaf (RM38), Nyonya-style glutinous rice dumpling with chicken, mushroom and salted egg yolk (RM38), and vegetarian glutinous rice dumpling with Moral mushroom, assorted mushroom and red bean (RM28) – available till May 31.
You can pick and choose in accordance with your preference and have them all in the Dragon Boat Festive Package, comprising four dumplings and Chef Lam’s homemade sambal chili sauce for RM168. The piquant condiment is sold separately for RM38.
Hilton Kuala Lumpur is located at 3, Jalan Stesen Sentral, Kuala Lumpur Sentral, 50470 Kuala Lumpur. Call 03-2264 2264 to place your order.