Zongzi is the traditional food in China. From the custom, Zongzi is eaten during the Dragon Boat Festival (the 5th day in Chinese lunar May). But because of it delicious taste, Zongzi gradually becomes one of the most common foods in Chinese people’s daily life.
♦ What is Zongzi
Zongzi is a traditional Chinese food, made of glutinous rice stuffed with different fillings and wrapped in bamboo or reed leaves. The shape of zongzi range from being relatively tetrahedral in northern China to cylindrical in southern China. Wrapping a zongzi neatly is a skill that is passed down through families, as are the recipes. Like tamale-making in Mexico and Pamonha-making in Brazil, making zongzi is traditionally a family event of which everyone helps out.
While traditional zongzi are wrapped in bamboo leaves, the leaves of lotus, maize, banana, canna, shell ginger and pandan leaves sometimes are used as substitutes in other countries. Each kind of leaf imparts its own unique smell and flavor to the rice.
The fillings used for zongzi vary from region to region, but the rice used is always glutinous rice (also called "sticky rice" or "sweet rice"). Depending on the region, the rice may be lightly precooked by stir-frying or soaked in water before using.
♦ Zongzi na Dragon Boat Festival
It is said that Zongzi was a food to eat in Dragon Boat Festival to memory a patriotic poet Qu Yuan. In this day, Chinese people will eat Zongzi and hold Dragon Boat race in honor of the great poem Qu Yuan during the Warring States Period (475 B.C.- 221 B.C.).
Qu was upright, loyal and highly respected for his wise counsel for the peace and affluence of Chu State as its minister. However, he was vilified by the evil power in the state. Filled with disappointment, Qu committed his suicide by jumping off into the Milou River. The nearby fish men tried in vain to find his body.
According to legend, packets of rice were thrown into the river to prevent the fish from eating the poet's body. Another version states that zongzi were given to placate a dragon that lived in the river.
♦ Tastes of Zongzi
There are some tastes of Zongzi, while they can be divided into three kinds: the salty one, the sweet one, and the original one. The salty Zongzi may be the most popular one because the stuffs of this kind are usually meat and egg. And the sweet Zongzi also has lots of fans because the material used to stuffed is generally bean mash. And the original one is made without any taste so that diner can tip any sauce on the Zongzi according to their favorite taste. Soy sauce and sugar may be two recommended intergradient for your DIY Zongzi.