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Danzhou Zongzi


Zongzi are a traditional Chinese food, made of glutinous rice stuffed with different fillings and wrapped in bamboo, reed, or other large flat leaves. They are cooked by steaming or boiling. In the Western world, they are also known as rice dumplings or sticky rice dumplings. They are traditionally eaten during the Dragon Boat Festival which falls on the fifth day of the fifth month of the lunar calendar (approximately late-May to mid-June).

A popular belief amongst the Chinese of eating zongzi involved commemorating the death of Qu Yuan, a famous Chinese poet from the kingdom of Chu who lived during the Warring States period. Known for his patriotism, Qu Yuan tried unsuccessfully to warn his king and countrymen against the expansionism of their Qin neighbors. When the Qin general Bai Qi took Yingdu, the Chu capital, in 278 BC, Qu Yuan's grief was so intense that he drowned himself in the Miluo river after penning the Lament for Ying. According to legend, packets of rice were thrown into the river to prevent the fish from eating the poet's body.

Hainan Zongzi are larger than other types, with large amounts of filling. In Hainan, zongzi fillings can include chicken, pork, salted duck eggs, shrimp, shredded squid, and more. Danzhou Zongi fillings are even more varied, including sea salt, red snapper, dog meat, and other varieties. They share some important qualities though – they are always tender, flavorful, and made with high quality rice and plenty of filling.

Danzhou Zongi often use streaky pork, pig feet, and small dried shrimp, and are flavored with soy sauce, alcohol, garlic paste, MSG, and salt.

Zongzi are an important gift for Dragon Boat Festival, and are given to friends and family at this time of year.


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