Hangout: Sticky Rice Dumplings
    2014-05-30 19:38:55         Web Editor: Mao

With the Dragon Boat festival approaching on Monday, people around this country have begun gathering the ingredients needed to make the traditional "zongzi" rice dumplings.

CRI's Sam Duckett has ventured out to sample the snacks ahead of the festival.


The Dragon Boat Festival, or "Duan Wu Jie" occurs on the fifth day of the fifth month of Chinese Lunar calendar. The festival commemorates the death of the poet and minister, Qu Yuan. The story of Qu Yuan occurred during the Warring States period and the Zhou Dynasty.

Qu Yuan was a poet and a minister for Chu during the warring states period. He was banished for apposing the alliance between the King of Chu and the state of Qin. During his banishment Qu Yuan wrote a great deal of poetry. After the sate of Qin took the capital of Chu, Qu Yuan drowned himself in the Miluo River.

It is said that the local people that admired Qu Yuan raced out on boats to try and save him or at least retrieve his body. This story gave birth to the tradition of holding dragon boat races during dragon boat festival.

Another tradition that is held during the dragon boat festival is the practice of eating zongzi. Zongzi is a Chinese food stuff made of glutinous rice, stuffed with different fillings and wrapped in bamboo reed. They are also known as rice dumplings or sticky rice dumplings.

I have decided to go to Guo Hui supermarket and try this sticky delicious Chinese treat.

Before departing on my quest for zongzi I decided to have a chat with Jinjiang hotel chef Li Peng Yu to find out a bit more about what I would be eating.

"Most Sticky rice dumplings are filled with sweet potato's or bean paste. In Sichuan we like to eat sticky rice dumplings with spicy meet in the middle. In Guangzhou they often eat them with Cantonese BBQ pork in the middle. Sweet Sticky rice dumplings and preferred in Northern Chinese and salty ones are preferred by southerners. In south China they are also a lot smaller and in the shape of a cone. In northern china they are more of triangular shape."

Wrapping a zongzi neatly is a skill that is passed down through families, as are the recipes. Making zongzi is traditionally a family event of which everyone helps out.

Now let's see if I can order a zongzi.

"We have ready made and freshly made zongzi. We have meat, vegetarian, sweet potato and red bean paste zongzi. Try a red bean paste one; I am sure you will like it. When you get home you may want to re-heat it, you can do this by either putting it in the microwave or boiling it"

I have just ordered a red bean paste zongzi, I need to wait a couple of minutes for it be heated up.

Ok so my Zongzi is ready to eat. Mmmmm it tastes delicious. The smooth sticky tecture complements the sweet taste so well.

I thoroughly enjoyed my sticky rice dumplings and understanding the story behind them made the Dragon Boat Festivalmuch more pleasing. Wishing everyone a happy Dragon Boat Festival or "Duan Wu Jie Kuai Le".


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The Beijing Hour updated 20:00 2014/05/23

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