The pyramidal rice dumplings that answer to zongzi often seem leaden and gummy. But, as prepared by Ipoh, Malaysia-born Aunt Ooi, who called this by its Hokkien name, bak chang, the rice was moist and abundantly laden with chestnuts, shiitake mushrooms, pork, black-eyed peas, and dried shrimp. I've never tasted a better one in New York.
For delivery a minimum order of ten, at $3.50 each, is usually required to secure a taste of Aunt Ooi's bak chang. My single dumpling was procured at the May 4 Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Festival in Flushing.
Previously: Nasi lemak is named for rice steamed with coconut milk, which delivers a caloric kick-start to a meal. The rice in the platter below ($7.50) at first seemed very mild-mannered; the contrast with sambal ikan bilis, or chili-sauced baby anchovies, teased out more coconut flavor. The thick-crusted deep-fried chicken was notably moist within; even the peanuts were nicely roasted. Also shown: kuih dadar ($1). The pale green color, and the flavor, of the rolled crepe comes from pandan leaves; the dark brown of the grated coconut indicates a heavy dose of palm sugar.
Aunt Ooi's Kitchen
Flushing, Queens; pickup available there and in midtown Manhattan