Singapore and the surrounding areas are home to a vast and varied selection of interesting foods. Whether you live in Singapore or you’re just visiting, take some time to try a few of these dishes. You’ll gain a deeper appreciation of the culture, history, and beauty of Southeast Asian cooking. Want to start with a dish that’s a blend of unique tastes and cultural significance? Tang Yuan is the perfect place to begin.
What Is It?
When tang yuan is served to you, it will probably look like a collection of balls submerged in clear liquid. The balls may be white, yellow, or other colours. When you dip one out and cut into it, you’ll find that each ball is hollow, stuffed with a special filling.
The Legend of Tang Yuan
Like most significant Asian foods, Tang Yuan brings with it a legend of its origins. The tale describes a young servant, Yuan Xiao. Taken away from her family to work in the Emperor’s palace, Yuan Xiao was so sorrowful and depressed that she was considering suicide. An advisor to the Emperor saw the girl’s tears and was moved by her story of longing for her family.
The Emperor’s advisor decided to bring the girl and her family together again. Disguised as a fortune teller, he took to the streets of the city and began spreading the rumour that the God of Fire planned to destroy the place on the fifteenth day of that month. Shocked and concerned, the Emperor called his advisors to come up with a plan. In his capacity as a wise counselor, the clever advisor suggested that everyone in the city set off fireworks and light red lanterns. Hopefully, these measures would fool the God of Fire into thinking that the city was already burning.
Then the advisor mentioned the God of Fire’s liking for Tang Yuan, a special dumpling that the servant girl was an expert at making. On the fifteenth day of the month, the city celebrated together with fireworks and Tang Yuan, and during the festivities, young Yuan Xiao was able to spend time with her family. The round shape of the Tang Yuan dumplings represents the wholeness and togetherness of family, as well as the roundness of a full moon.
When to Eat Tang Tuan
To this day, Tang Yuan dumplings are eaten during the Lantern Festival, Yuanxiao. Many people also eat Tang Yuan during the Winter Solstice Festival (also called Dongzhi), at Chinese weddings, or whenever a whole family comes together for a special occasion like Chinese New Year. If you have a large family and no time to cook a huge batch of dumplings, find a catering service in Singapore that includes Tang Yuan among its menu items.
How To Make Tang Yuan
Tang yuan dumplings are typically formed from a glutinous rice flour. If you like, you can colour the batches of dough so that the Tang Yuan will be a variety of interesting hues.
The traditional filling is black sesame seeds, roasted, ground, and made into a paste with butter and sugar. Sometimes, cooks will make the filling into balls and freeze the balls, so that they are hard and much easier to wrap with the rice dough.
Once the dumplings are formed, they go into a pot of boiling syrup made of water, rock sugar, and ginger. After the dumplings boil for a short time, they should become translucent and bob to the top of the syrup water. Serve them up in bowls along with the syrup to enjoy an occasion of family togetherness.