My daughter Pauline holds up a bunch of zongzi and says yammy!
Zongzi is a reminder that Duanwu, a traditional Chinese festival held on the fifth day of the fifth month of the Chinese calendar, is just around the corner.
To keep up this tradition, my wife Yian never misses wrapping zongzi. Her home-made zongzi are taste-buds -tickling.
That day she told me she decided to try a new recipe- curry-flavoured filling. It sounded great!
We went to shop for glutinous rice and were most surprised to find that the supermarket almost ran out of stock of it. This never happened before. Was there an imbalance in the local market? I really have no idea.
The basic ingredients of zongzi are glutinous rice and filling of varied flavours. Yian used bamboo leaves to wrap them up into pyramid shape and had zongzi fastened into bunches. The final phase was to steam the zongzi to cook.
Zongzi is best taken steamy hot when it is aromatic. Never miss it if you come to Sibu.
Duanwu has its most commonly believed origin way back to Warring States Period (340 BC). The festival memorializes Qu Yuan, a poet, who committed suicide by drowning himself in a river to show his disgust with the corruption of the Chu government. The local people loved him so much that they decided to throw food (now called zongzi) into the river to feed the fish so they would not eat Qu Yuan's body. They also paddled dragon boats and tried to scare the fish away by the thundering sound of the drums aboard the boats.
Today, people eat zongzi and race dragon boats in memory of Qu Yuan's death.
Duanwu is a Chinese cultural heritage. Don't relegate it to superficial status and overly commercialise it. We have duty to uphold its true cultural values.
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