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  • It's going to be the dragon boat festival soon.

  • Can you describe to us what that's like for your family?

  • When it became a business to us, we started to view its culture differently.

  • During festivals, we'd help people wrap dumplings.

  • Our family would gather once a year specially to wrap dumplings.

  • How long would you take to wrap the dumplings?

  • We'd start at 6am and finish at around 4am the next day,

  • so we'd only get about 2 to 3 hours of sleep every day.

  • Does that mean that you've only gotten 2 to 3 hours of sleep last night?

  • Yes, so if you look at my eyes...

  • Everyone's wrapping dumplings from 6am till 4am the next day?

  • We have to wrap about 4000 dumplings per day.

  • 4000 dumplings in a day? For how long?

  • We start around the beginning of May.

  • Wow, and you continue until the dragon boat festival.

  • Yes. Until after the festival.

  • Greetings to our global audience.

  • Even though everyone might feel that Singapore is very westernized, that is not actually the case.

  • In fact, a lot of Singaporeans value the Chinese culture as well as traditions, just like this Jin Zhu Dumpling Museum.

  • Whose work is this?

  • It belongs to this man sitting next to me, and whom I'm meeting for the second time, Ding Xiang.

  • Hello, Ding Xiang.

  • Hello.

  • Schools often teach that the dragon boat festival is for the sake of remembering Qu Yuan.

  • It actually has a bigger goal, and that is to welcome the summer festival, ward off insects

  • and illnesses, and bring everyone together to wrap dumplings in order to usher in the new season.

  • We're gathered here today to wrap nyonya dumplings together.

  • I must tell our friends from around the world, this can only be eaten in South East Asia.

  • Perhaps the next time you visit Singapore, you can come to Jin Zhu Dumplings

  • and look at their special product, the nyonya dumpling.

  • Does its name imply that it's a dumpling that won't anger your mother?

  • What is meant by nyonya dumpling? Could you explain for us?

  • Nyonya is a Malay word.

  • The males are called baba.

  • The reason why it's called nyonya dumpling is because when we Chinese first arrived

  • in South East Asia, we were unable to find bamboo leaves to wrap dumplings.

  • What were the other similar types of leaves in Singapore that we could use?

  • That would be the pandan leaves.

  • Are the pandan leaves bigger or smaller?

  • They're long.

  • The pandan leaves in Singapore are extremely big.

  • Only in Singapore will you be able to find big pandan leaves.

  • There's also a reason for that; our pandan leaves are imported from Malaysia.

  • The nyonya dumplings in Malaysia are wrapped with smaller leaves.

  • There's also a reason why they use small leaves while we use big leaves.

  • The nyonya dumplings in Singapore use the big pandan leaves, while the ones in Malaysia use the small leaves.

  • The one we're using today is a bamboo leaf?

  • A bamboo leaf.

  • For demonstration purposes, we'll use a bamboo leaf to teach you how to wrap dumplings.

  • Other than the pandan leaves, the fillings for the nyonya dumplings should be very special as well, right?

  • Yes they are.

  • Can you elaborate about that?

  • Our nyonyas hope to look slim with beautiful body lines, that's why they're very particular about what they eat.

  • Yes.

  • You can see some white spots in our filling, right?

  • Yes.

  • Is that fatty meat?

  • That isn't fatty meat.

  • No?

  • Those are actually winter melon strips.

  • It's very fragrant.

  • Did you prepare this yourself?

  • My mother specially prepared it.

  • I get it, it's so that it looks like fatty meat but it won't actually make you fat,

  • that's why you've substituted with winter melon strips.

  • That's very clever of you.

  • It has sweetness, right?

  • Yes, the sweetness is from the winter melon strips.

  • Is there anything that you absolutely have to add into the filling,

  • otherwise it wouldn't be considered a nyonya dumpling anymore?

  • We have what's called "kondobang" and we also have five-spice powder.

  • Coriander powder.

  • Oh, coriander powder. It's great that we have your mother here.

  • Coriander powder, and...

  • We also have a secret family recipe that we cannot divulge.

  • Oh, no wonder it's so fragrant. You actually have a secret recipe.

  • It really is very fragrant. Smell it.

  • You smell it as well.

  • He really breathed in very hard.

  • We'll get to eat this later.

  • What about the rice?

  • The rice is ordinary glutinous rice.

  • Our glutinous rice is special because it's completely white.

  • White?

  • We don't have any transparent rice, that's why our glutinous rice has been specially chosen.

  • Which country does the rice come from?

  • Thailand.

  • I'll take a look.

  • It's completely white.

  • It's pure glutinous rice.

  • Do the others have anything extra added?

  • No.

  • Oh, so this is the only one? That's great.

  • Is there any special type of string used to wrap the dumpling?

  • In the early days, we used to use hemp rope.

  • But now because we have a variety of dumplings, for the sake of differentiating them,

  • red strings are used for nyonya dumplings.

  • Oh, red represents the nyonya dumplings?

  • Is this for Jin Zhu or the same in the whole of South East Asia?

  • Only in Jin Zhu.

  • If you come to Jin Zhu, you'll have to look for the ones with red strings if you want nyonya dumplings.

  • I'd like to ask, some nyonya dumplings have blue coloring on them. What's that?

  • That's from the blue pea flower. It's blue in color.

  • We have to make a lot of rice nowadays, so we're unable to add the blue coloring.

  • In the past, after the rice was steamed, the blue coloring would be added.

  • The blue pea flower?

  • The color from the blue pea flower.

  • We'd press it in, add the meat, add another layer of rice, and then steam it.

  • Oh, no wonder.

  • When I looked nyonya dumplings up on the internet, I saw some that were blue and I thought that was very special.

  • The reason why the blue color can come out so vibrantly is because our rice isn't cooked yet.

  • Now we'll start to learn.

  • There are two sides to the leaf, one is smooth and the other is rough.

  • The side we're using is the smooth side.

  • One person should take two leaves.

  • Should it be one big leaf and one small leaf, or does it not matter?

  • It doesn't matter.

  • Even if we see that the leaves are a little damaged, they still can be used, right?

  • Yes.

  • The second step is that you can see that the leaf has one side that is hard...

  • And a soft side.

  • The two leaves should be put together like this, with the rough sides facing each other.

  • Both sides should be smooth.

  • Put them together.

  • Can you see how I've done it like this? I'm going to push it up higher.

  • You have to pull them like this.

  • Can I tell you a secret? This is my first time ever learning to wrap dumplings.

  • The second step could be a little difficult if it's your first time wrapping.

  • Do you see my hands like this?

  • I'm pushing the leaves in like this so they turn inwards.

  • As I'm doing that, this should appear.

  • Is it like this?

  • That's too much.

  • Too much?

  • It's more or less like that.

  • Your leaves have to be pointing upwards and not like this.

  • This is like a rabbit.

  • Yours looks like a rabbit.

  • Mine doesn't look like a rabbit, mine looks like cow horns.

  • They have to be like this.

  • It's fine as long as they're like this?

  • Oh, they have to look like a pocket in order to hold the rice.

  • Why is this important?

  • It's because we hope that the rice won't fall out as it's cooking.

  • As the rice cooks, it'll expand, right?

  • The moment it moves, it'll try to find a way to fall out.

  • You've made it rather big, but it doesn't matter because it'll still work.

  • It's too big?

  • If you want to wrap the rice in it, it'll be better if it were smaller.

  • Let's show them off to the camera.

  • Very good.

  • We have to hold it like you're doing, with the long ends pointing forward and the pocket facing us, right.

  • Yes, like this.

  • You'll have a hand gesture like a gun.

  • Yes, like a gun.

  • There'll usually be a shelf for you to tie the string, but it isn't here.

  • Oh, so that's how it usually is.

  • We have to grasp it at the bottom, right?

  • Yes, like this.

  • It's very important when you're adding the rice that you add them in layers, as if you're applying to bread.

  • Yes, one layer's enough.

  • Come and add the rice.

  • Don't add too much rice.

  • Just place them properly.

  • Be generous and add a large amount of meat filling.

  • Can I add more rice and less meat?

  • Some people prefer it that way.

  • The rice will expand a lot.

  • Oh, so that's why more meat should be added.

  • After that you just add one more layer like this to cover the meat.

  • Jus t like this.

  • I don't have to cover completely?

  • No, you don't need to.

  • Do I pass the test?

  • Yes, you have.

  • But you don't have to press it in, just lay it on top.

  • Don't press, just lay it on top.

  • Actually, just sprinkle on a little bit and that will do.

  • I get the feeling that while these mothers have been cooking for many years,

  • it may be their first time wrapping dumplings.

  • Right now the progress we've made is to first add rice in a layer, add the filling, and then add another layer of rice.

  • That'll do.

  • One very important step is to wrap the dumpling.

  • My method isn't to press downwards but to just fold.

  • Fold, don't press.

  • You definitely cannot press downwards, because you have to leave some space for when the rice cooks and expands.

  • Yes, so just folding will do.

  • Fold, and then do you see my hand?

  • I use two fingers to press down on the sides.

  • Do you see this line?

  • Director, help me, this is too difficult.

  • Don't press downwards, just fold directly.

  • Do you see this line?

  • Fold downwards along this line.

  • And then I'll fold the leaves.

  • Where do I fold them towards?

  • Look at this line, do you see this line?

  • There's another line here, right?

  • Fold it according to the line.

  • It's amazing; I've folded it into a square.

  • It's really not that easy.

  • After folding, we can move on to tying it.

  • How do we tie it?

  • Tying is easy.

  • Do you see my hand?

  • Grasp the dumpling with your four fingers.

  • Don't let the leaves escape.

  • Go one round and then tie it.

  • It'll just hang there, right?

  • Yes.

  • And then tie one more round.

  • Do I have to pull it tightly?

  • Just like this.

  • I don't have to pull it tightly but just tie it up like that?

  • Yes.

  • It's very firm.

  • The dumpling he's wrapped is very firm. This type of man you can marry.

  • For the wrapping, it won't unravel as long as you tie around its legs.

  • I'd like to ask you, how long did you take to learn to wrap dumplings?

  • Because right now I no longer have any confidence in myself.

  • I originally thought I could wrap it and then cook for everyone to eat, but in the end I couldn't even wrap it nicely.

  • How long did you take?

  • How long have you been practicing.

  • I've been doing it since I was young till now.

  • When I was young I had to learn how to wash the leaves.

  • Yes.

  • As well as how to help others tie with the string.

  • After that I had to tie it myself.

  • The important thing about wrapping the dumpling is that you have to wrap according to that line, right?

  • Yes.

  • It's because aside from the filling inside, the outside has to look good as well.

  • How many can be tied with this bunch of string?

  • 50.

  • 50? So do you cook 50 dumplings at a go?

  • No. Our pot is quite big so we can cook about 800 at a go.

  • Wow, 800 dumplings at a go?

  • That's great.

  • Do we get to eat nyonya dumplings today?

  • Yes you do. It's already been prepared for all of you.

  • That's great, we really have to give applause for that.

  • How long does it take to cook?

  • Two hours.

  • Two hours. It really isn't easy.

  • It takes two hours to cook, and then another half an hour after that.

  • For it to cool down?

  • Yes.

  • It's fine after it's been cooled down?