Zongzi (粽子 zòngzi) are a traditional Chinese food made of glutinous rice, stuffed with different fillings, and wrapped in bamboo or reed leaves, before being steamed or boiled. These sticky rice dumplings are the most popular food of the Dragon Boat Festival.
Zongzi, a traditional Chinese food, differ in shape and taste from one place to another across China. There are mainly two tastes to zongzi: sweet and savory. Nowadays people even make zongzi with mixed swwet and savory fillings. Such a variety of tastes makes the zongzi family a splendid legacy.
Sweet zongzi flavors include plain zongzi, red bean zongzi, horse bean zongzi, date zongzi, rose zongzi, melon zongzi, red bean and lard zongzi, and date paste and lard zongzi.
Savory zongzi flavors include salted pork fat zongzi, sausage zongzi, ham zongzi, dried shrimp zongzi, and diced meat zongzi.
Generally, Guangdong zongzi are large in size and have special shapes. They are either sweet with walnuts, dates, or bean paste as a filling, or savory with ham, egg, meat, or roast chicken as a filling.
Roast pork zongzi and soda zongzi from Xiamen and Quanzhou are famous as two typical types of Minnan zongzi.
To make roast pork zongzi, use top-grade glutinous rice and fill with roast pork, mushrooms, dried shrimp, lotus seeds, or braised pork soup. Locals often eat these zongzi with garlic, mustard, red chili sauce, and other condiments.
Soda zongzi are made of glutinous rice and soda lye. After steaming for several hours, they are best cooled and refrigerated. When eating soda zongzi, people often add honey and syrup.
Bean zongzi, very popular in Quanzhou, have a mixture of beans and glutinous rice as a filling.
Ningbo zongzi, in the shape of a quadrangle, include many varieties, such as soda zongzi, red bean paste zongzi, and date paste zongzi. The most famous are soda zongzi, made of glutinous rice soaked in soda water, then wrapped in yellow reed leaves.
Jiaxing zongzi, in the shape of a triangular pyramid, use fresh meat, red bean paste, or eight treasures (choice ingredients of certain special dishes) as fillings. When wrapping this kind of zongzi, people put a small piece of fatty meat into the glutinous rice.
Sweet tea zongzi use stewed sweet tea to soak the glutinous rice. This type of zongzi have a bright color, a soft taste, and a sweet flavor.
Generation after generation of people in the western mountainous area of Zhejiang Province have followed the custom of boiling zongzi with sweet tea, boiling rice with sweet tea, and cooking rice porridge with sweet tea. Even in the famous novel, Dream of Red Mansions (one of the four most famous classical literature works of China), sweet tea zongzi and rice are mentioned several times.
Beijing Zongzi, a representative type of zongzi in north China, are small and rectangular. In the countryside people are accustomed to making zongzi using jujube and sweet bean paste as fillings.
People in central Guangxi Province enjoy making zongzi in the shape of a big pillow, each one weighing over half a kilogram.
People in the Guilin region prefer small, pillow-shaped zongzi. People in northern Guilin make zongzi in the shape of a dog's head.
Also the fillings used differ from one place to another. People around Guilin city often add a little baking soda to the filling to make the zongzi tastier, while people in Quanzhou County (northeast Guilin Prefecture) like to soak the glutinous rice in straw-ash water for additional flavoring.
Shanghai zongzi have a variety of shapes and fillings.
Vegetarian zongzi made by Gongdelin Vegetarian Restaurant include mushroom zongzi, broad bean zongzi, and red bean zongzi.
Some types of Muslim zongzi are offered by the Muslim restaurant Hongchangxing. Its beef zongzi are the most popular among locals.
China Highlights' Cuisine Tours provide a great chance to eat a wide variety of delicious Chinese food.
Ingredients: bamboo leaves and lengths of straw, streaky pork, glutinous rice, soy sauce, salt.
Main ingredients: glutinous rice, sweet tea, and dates
Main ingredients: bamboo leaves and lengths of straw, glutinous rice, raisins, red dates (jujubes)
Main ingredients: glutinous rice, mung beans, peanuts, cooked salted duck egg yolk, bamboo leaves and straw
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