Thursday, 9 June 2016

Happy Dumpling Festival 端午节 快乐 2016


Dragon Boat Festival 端午节(duanwu jie)

What Customs Do Chinese Observe for Duanwu? Dragon Boat Festival, also known as Duanwu Festival, is a traditional and important celebration in China. Dragon Boat Festival 2016 falls on June 9 (Thursday).

Duanwu Festival is a folk festival celebrated for over 2,000 years, when Chinese people practice various customs thought to dispel disease, and invoke good health. During the festival, many activities and customs are practiced by people in China and even in nearby countries. Some of the most traditional ones include dragon boat racing, eating sticky rice dumplings (zongzi), hanging Chinese mugwort and calumus, drinking realgar wine, and wearing perfume pouches.

Now many of the customs are disappearing, or no longer observed. You are more likely to find them practiced in rural areas.

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Rice Dumplings (粽子zòngzi)

Pillow-shaped zongzi


Sticky rice bundles (粽子 Zongzi /dzong-dzrr/) are made from sticky or glutinous rice and a filling, which is kneaded in. They are then wrapped in bamboo leaves in pillow or triangular-based pyramid shapes, and tied with plant stems.

If you are careful the bamboo leaves can be folded back like a wrapper so that you don't get your fingers (too) sticky while eating them. They are often found sold at train and bus stations and make more of a meal than a snack (see Chinese Snacks). Glutinous rice is very filling.

Typical Zongzi Fillings:
  • Egg yolk
  • Lotus seeds
  • Ham
  • Red bean paste
  • Chestnut
  • Fatty pork
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History of Sticky Rice Dumpling (Zongzi or Bacang) - Traditional Chinese Food

Like many traditional Chinese food, zongzi (or also called as bakcang in Indonesian, machang in Philippines or bachang in Thailand) is also intended to honor either the divine persons or gods in history. Zongzi, this glutinous rice dumpling is traditionally wrapped in bamboo or reed leaves. There are such thing as Hokkien, Cantonese, Hakka or Teo Chew dumplings on the general.

Traditionally held on the 5th of May on lunar calendar, zongzi is created to honor Qu Yuan, the pioneer poet of ancient China (340-278 BC). Qu Yuan (pronounced as Chue Yuan), was a famous and patriotic poet who was also very concerned about the fate of his government.

Sticky rice dumplings (zongzi) are traditionally eaten during the Dragon Boat Festival, commemorating the death of this famous Chinese poet. This pyramid-shaped dumpling is usually wrapped in bamboo or reed leaves but sometimes it can be found wrapped in other leaves such as lotus, banana, maize, canna, shell ginger or pandan leaves. Different type of leaf gives its own unique smell and falvor to the rice. You can also find all sorts of different fillings in the rice: mushroom, egg, saltd egg, chestnut, pork, roasted pork, red bean, or just simply without filling. However, the rice used is always glutinous rice (also called “sweet rice” or “sticky rice”).

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Zong Zi: Chinese Dumpling

Zong zi (粽子) or simply zong is a traditional Chinese food popularly consumed during the Dragon Boat Festival, hence the name Chinese Dumpling Festival. Zong zi is made of glutinous rice stuffed with different fillings and wrapped in bamboo or reed leaves. They are cooked by steaming or boiling. You can find all sorts of different fillings in the rice: pork, roast pork, chestnut, egg, salted egg, mushroom, red bean, or just simply without filling. They could be just white rice dumpling (not pre-fried), or brown (pre-fried with soya sauce).

Nowadays, you can buy Zongzi almost everyday of the year, in restaurants or hawker stores in most oriental countries such as China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Malaysia and Singapore, and other Asian countries where large amount of Chinese reside. They are known in Japanese as chimaki. Laotians, Thais, and Cambodians (known as Nom Asom) also have similar traditional dishes influenced by zongzi. In the Western world, they are also known as rice dumplings or Chinese tamales. In Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore it’s often known as bakcang or bacang, derived from Hokkien translation of rouzong (肉粽 – means meat dumpling). Hokkien is a Chinese dialect common to be used among Chinese descendants in the South East Asia regions. Among the Filipino-Chinese people in the Philippines, zongzi is more popularly known as machang in the Lan-nang dialect.

Chinese Dumpling Festival is sometimes called as solar maximus festival which happens every summer solstice or the northern hemisphere’s longest day of the year.

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Duan Wu Jie (Rice Dumpling Festival) and Qu Yuan

The 5th day of the 5th month in the Chinese calendar has been set as Duan Wu Festival to remember the incident. Although there were versions of legends and stories that indicate Duan Wu has existed way before Qu Yuan's death, the tradition still carries on.

The rice dumplings (ZongZi) are glutinous rice (or sticky rice in some countries like Thailand and Hong Kong) wrapped in bamboo leaves, or other large leaves (lotus is one of the more commonly used leaves). You can find all sorts of different fillings in the rice: pork, roast pork, chestnut, egg, salted egg, mushroom, red bean, or just simply without filling. They could be just white rice dumpling (not pre-fried), or brown (pre-fried with soya sauce).

Nowadays, you can buy Zongzi almost everyday of the year, in restaurants or hawker stores in most oriental countries such as China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Malaysia and Singapore, and other Asian countries where large amount of Chinese reside.

read more


Bak Chang


Rice dumpling is called Bakcang or bacang in Indonesian and Malaysia, machang in Philippines and bachang in Thailand.

Zongzi are eaten during the Duanwu Festival.

Zong zi, Wrapped in bamboo leaves. Fillings salted egg, roasted pork, red bean, chestnut. A glutinous rice dumpling without any filling.