It’s time for a delicious zong zi
Chinese people are very proud of Chinese food. One important aspect of learning Chinese is to learn about Chinese food.
During the Chinese New Year, it’s about dumplings and all the auspicious good food. During the Mid-Autumn Festival, it’s about moon cakes and those wonderful seasonal fruits. Right now, it is about zong zi (粽子), as Duan Wu Jie (端午节) is here!
This year, Duan Wu Jie is on June 22, the fifth day of the fifth month in Chinese traditional lunar calendar. It is the season for dragon boat racing and delicious zong zi.
During the pandemic, it was pretty quiet on the water due to the COVID restriction. There were hardly any dragon boat racing. No thunder-like drum beats. No sight of slim dragon boats far out in the sea. The news was dominated by COVID outbreaks.
It is no more.
Dragon boat racing is back in Hong Kong with all the energy and excitement. I have to admit that, although it’s just peddling water, dragon boat racing has so much flair.
In the evenings, while walking along the seaside, it is nice to spot a few dragon boats practicing. Occasionally, some unintelligible voices are carried over by the wind.
But dragon boat is not the focus of this article. Zong zi is, another festival highlight you don’t want miss.
Zong zi is basically sticky rice wrapped skilfully in reed leaves and tied with a string. It can be as simple as that, or as complicated as stuffing tons of ingredients in it.
In Hong Kong, people love to put pork, beans, mushrooms, salted egg yolks, peas, peanuts, scallops, and shrimps inside zong zi. One zong zi like that is a full meal. I’ve always had fun eating a huge zong zi like that. As it is filled with goodies, it gives me the feeling that I am hunting treasures in my plate. I keep digging up all the wonderful stuff as I eat, and never know what is coming up next!
While treasure hunting a big zong zi is fun, that does not diminish the enjoyment of a small and simple zong zi, just sticky rice with two or three big red dates in it. The wonderful flavour and the special texture of sticky rice are marvellous. And everyone loves dates.
In Hong Kong, some people like to dip their zong zi in soy sauce, while others like to dip in sugar. If you don’t like soy sauce or sugar, you can pick chilli sauce, vinegar, or honey. If anyone fancy guacamole and zong zi, I see no reason not to. Or just eat zong zi as they are, pure, simple and delicious.
That time of the year is here.
Whether you are learning Chinese or not, it is time for a delicious zong zi!
Cut the stings, unwrap the reed leaves, appreciate the wonderful sculpture made with sticky rice, move your chopsticks, and start to enjoy.