Yesterday was Dumpling Festival (端午节), and our family commemorated the occasion by praying to our ancestors. The only thing missing from the worship table, however, was the tetrahedron-shaped bak chang. And behind this festival lies a little legend that is unique to our family, and perhaps, some Liang/Neo families.
One of the thrills of living in another country is discovering something from your homeland that you have absolutely no inkling of. When I first came into contact with lot chong Singapore* (ลอดช่องสิงคโปร์), a Thai iced dessert of green noodle-like strands doused in coconut milk, I remember feeling a slight embarrassment of not knowing my native cuisine well enough. But I’d quickly assumed that this pseudo-Singapore dessert was a Thai variant of the famed cendol that we all know so well in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia. After all, this being Southeast Asia, there are lots of dishes, which are, in regional speak, ‘same, same but different’.
* This dessert also goes by various names, including lot chong naam kathi and lot chong thai, which are very similar desserts made of different ingredients. However, the impression I get is that most Thais use the different names interchangeably—and rather loosely.