Originally a seasonal food, Bak Chang is now available year-round in most major cities with a significant Chinese population. The different types of dumplings are distinguished from the coloured strings used to tie the dumpling.
The dish is often consumed with Chinese tea to aid digestion.
Traditional Nyonya and Hokkien versions of dumplings use pork belly, chestnuts, Chinese mushroom, dried shrimps and salted egg yolks as filling. Hokkiens stir-fry the glutinous rice grains with five-spice powder and dark soy sauce to give the rice a more fragrant and a darker appearance. On the other hand, Nyonya dumplings use minced pork with candied winter melon for the dumpling’s filling.
Another type of Bak Chang popular in Singapore is the Jianshui Zong, typically consumed as a dessert. The glutinous rice is treated with lye water to give it a distinctive yellow colour. Usually, it does not contain any filling and dipped in kaya or light syrup.
There are other variations such as Jianshui Zong (碱水粽), Nyonya chang (娘惹粽), Teochew Dumplings, Cantonese Dumplings.