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Zongzi - Festival food for Duanwu Jie

Category: Chinese Culture

Zongzi are Chinese rice dumplings traditionally eaten during the Dragon Boat Festival (Duanwu Jie) on the fifth day of the fifth month of the lunar year. Actually, People are not eating zongzi, but culture. Zongzi has been handed down as a traditional food for about 1,700 years. Everyone loves talking about them, making them and passing them out as gifts, or receiving them.

At the most basic level, a zongzi consists of soaked glutinous rice wrapped in bamboo and reed leaves, and tied with string. The little packages of rice are then cooked in boiling water for a few hours. Once cooked and unwrapped, the rice will have become one dense and somewhat chewy mass. 

The fillings used for zongzi vary from region to region, but the main ingredient remains unchanged - sticky rice. Generally speaking, zongzi is divided into two categories, salty zongzi which is popular in South China, and the sweet ones in North China.

In the North, zongzi might be filled with a few jujubes, a little red bean paste, or some other dried fruit. These sweet rice dumplings are gooey, sweet, and infused with the nice grassy aroma of the bamboo leaves.

Southern-style zongzi, however, tend to be more savory. The salty fillings usually include salted duck egg, pork belly, taro, shredded pork or chicken, Chinese sausage, pork fat, and shiitake mushrooms.

Just like for dumpling fillings, there are countless combinations; and you can pretty much use any ingredients you like. Such a variety of tastes makes the Zongzi family a splendid legacy.

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