Bitter-sweet Glutinous Rice Pearl Dumplings
彭家洛PANG Ka Lok
林昭賢LAM Chiu Yin
Our group interviewed the Indonesian migrant workers at Victoria Park on 10th February 2019. They were putting many Indonesian snacks onto the tablecloth.
The workers have travelled more than 2,500 km from home to a foreign place for making a living. Every Sunday is a precious chance for their gatherings. They buy native Indonesian ingredients from local shops to prepare simple and authentic Indonesian snacks. These are the refreshments at their Sunday gatherings. We, the interviewers, were attracted by some pink dumplings. The pink color was as sharp as the hijab on the head of our interviewee Sandy. She and her friends emphasized again and again, “This snack is very easy to make. You can try to make some yourselves.” For this HMW Festival Creative Arts Fair, we decided to make this colorful snack which has different layers of texture.
Inside a glutinous rice pearl dumpling, there are glutinous rice, tapioca pearls, coconut milk, coconut shreds and sweet potato shreds. When we bite the dumpling, we will first taste the outermost layer of plain glutinous rice, which is slightly salty. It signifies the early hardship when the workers just began working in Hong Kong. When our bite reaches the middle layer, we can taste the sweetness of coconut shreds and coconut milk. This represents how they have gradually adapted to their job in Hong Kong, meanwhile they feel the warmth and support from their families. Although they are in a foreign country, their hearts have found the shelter. The first-salty-then-sweet taste is a metaphor for their journeys of being migrant workers in Hong Kong. We hope this dessert can offer them some comfort and let them know that there can be sweetness in their bitter lives in Hong Kong. If they persevere, the fruitful results, like the surprise when they bite into the sweet layer of coconut milk, will certainly come to them one day.
Translated by YIM Yuen Hai, Carolina