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Chinese traditional culture - Dragon Boat Festival (2)

Traditional Food: ZongZi

Zong, or zongzi is a traditional Chinese food, made of glutinous rice stuffed with different fillings and wrapped in bamboo leaves. They are cooked by steaming or boiling. Zongzi is traditionally eaten during the Dragon Boat Festival, commemorating the death of Qu Yuan.

The shape of zongzi ranges from relatively tetrahedral to cylindrical. Wrapping a zongzi neatly is a skill which is passed down through families, as are the recipes. While traditional Chinese zongzi are wrapped in bamboo leaves, the leaves of lotus, maize, banana, canna, shell ginger or pandan leaves are sometimes used as substitutes in other cultures. Each kind of leaf imparts its own unique smell and flavour to the rice. The fillings used for zongzi vary from region to region, but the rice used is always glutinous rice (also called sticky or sweet rice). The popular fillings include: Skinless mung beans, red bean paste, jujubes, Chinese barbecue pork, Chestnuts and Chinese sausage.

Depending on the region, the rice may be lightly precooked by stir-frying or soaked before using. Zongzi need to be steamed or boiled for several hours depending on how the rice is treated prior to filling. Once cooked, the zongzi can easily be frozen for later consumption. Frozen zongzi are available for sale in many Chinese markets.