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Zongzi; a simple but delicious Chinese rice dish

Zongzi is a dish that is especially popular during the Chinese Dragon Boat festival. Even outside this festival, many people in China love it. Each Chinese province has its own variation; just try it out yourself and find out why people in China love it so much! Read all about zongzi and the special legends in this article.

What is Zongzi?

Zongzi is a type of dumpling made from glutinous rice. The rice is traditionally rolled in bamboo leaves and is then steamed. Inside the rice is a delicious filling that varies by region. There are fillings with beans, egg, shiitake, pork, but also sweet fillings.

The legend behind Zongzi

Zongzi is mainly eaten during the Dragon Boat Festival. This festival is completely dedicated to the poet Qu Yuan. This poet was also a well-known government official known for his wise counsel and he is the creator of Zongzi. As beloved as Qu Yuan might be, he was eventually banished by the king. With great sorrow he saw the decline of the people, which made him desperately jump into a river. The people feared that he would be eaten by fish and decided to throw zongzi into the river so that the fish could eat it. Today, the festival reflects on everything Qu Yuan stood for: honesty, wisdom and his patriotism. There are still several stories known about the origin of this festival, but certain is the fact that people massively enjoy the sticky rice dish during this festival!

How do you make it?

There are several variants, but the Jiangxi Zongzi is rightly a very popular version. The filling consists of a mix of pork, egg and bean paste, but here too people like to give it their own twist. First, cut off the stems of the bamboo leaf, and fold two leaves into a triangular shape. Then fill the leaves with rice and a homemade filling of your choice and steam the packets. Watch this video from Angel Wong’s Kitchen for a delicious recipe and learn all about the perfect folding technique.

Which drink goes well with zongzi?

As with many Chinese dishes, zongzi is usually eaten with a cup of tea. Depending on the filling you use, you can choose a tea that matches the filling. Are you going to enjoy the zongzi with pork? Then it is best to choose a tea that balances the somewhat greasy aftertaste of the pork. Our Oolong Tie Guan Yin premium offers this balance! It is a nice Fujian oolong, briefly oxidized and roasted. The tea has a floral taste and in China it is perhaps the most famous oolong tea to enjoy with food.