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Location: Selangor, Malaysia

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Friday, December 22, 2006

Tong Yuen N Its Evolution

Today is TANG CHEK, the day the chinese make glutinous rice ball or 'Tong Yuen'. It is to mark the winter solstice festival. We usually make it twice a year, 'nee tiong' and 'tang chek'. Once u eat the tong yuen, ur labelled as a year older (its just a believe, not true). There are of course different flavour and colors of tong yuen nowadays. It just evolved with time. U can also buy it readily in the market every other morning now.I remembered when I was young, it was a very special occasion. After dinner, my grandma will clean up the table and set the colorful kneaded dough on the table. She will start pinching small amount of the dough about the size of 1 cent coin. Then the whole family will help out by rolling the dough pieces with both hands.

There are fillings for tong yuens too; peanuts, black sesame and even chocolate. Talking bout evolution! There are also plain rice balls. My personal favourite is still the black sesame. These tong yuen is then cooked in syrup with pandan leaves or sweet ginger flavoured syrup. The evolution version is in coconut milk (like bubur cha cha), in Peanut paste soup or in red bean paste soup. There's this famous hawker in penang opposite Trader's Hotel (then shangri-la) in an alley selling tong yuen the whole year round. I used to follow my aunt there when she's craving for it.

This year, I had so many bowls of tong yuen, meaning i'm very old now if we follow the old believes. During chinese new year, my tts home's hse warming / christmas party (thanks pui san for the lovely tong yuen in red bean soup), occasional tong yuen from the morning market and now tang chek.

The colorful tong yuen i helped make this morning.

What u can get from the market.

Despite all the conveniences, i still love my grandma's tong yuen best! A truly scrumptious experience not to be forgotten.

"Winter Solstice Festival is about balance and harmony in life, and a time for optimism" (really need that optimism part especially exam is so so near!)


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