You won’t believe this, but I “accidentally” ate “zhong zi”, Chinese rice dumplings (or “bah-tzang in Taiwanese), on the right day without realizing it!
It’s a rare occasion when I actually get to eat these amazing rice dumplings.
You see, they are a pain to make (yes, quite labor-intensive), and they’re not that easy to find around Boston. Well, it’s not easy to find ones that taste just like the ones my mom makes.
Anyway, as luck would have it, my parents are visiting Boston right now. I’m sure the main reason they are here is to visit my cute little almost-two-year old nephew. Nevertheless, I’m still thrilled to be able to see my parents so much more often now. It just so happened that they were staying with me this past Wednesday evening.
This past Wednesday (June 12, 2013) was the Chinese holiday called Duanwu Festival, also know as the Dragon Boat Festival. Those of you in Boston may know of the dragon boat races that occurred on the Charles River this past weekend.
Chinese people eat rice dumplings on this holiday in remembrance of a famous Chinese scholar, Qu Yuan, who was a poet and minister serving the King of Chu during the Zhou Dynasty (around 340 – 278 BC). He was much opposed to the power neighboring Qin State, and spent much of his life energy focused on how to defend against the Qin.
Legend has it that when he finally heard that the Qin troops had conquered Chu’s capital, he committed suicide by tying a heavy stone around his body and flinging himself into the river. The concerned townspeople, who loved him, desperately threw rice dumplings into the river so as to prevent the fish from eating his body.
To this day, people still eat rice dumplings on this holiday in remembrance of him.
My mom taught me years ago how to make these things, though I seldom make them myself at home because they are quite time-consuming. For the full tutorial and recipe, check out this blog post I wrote a few years ago, which gives step by step photo instructions on how to make these.
Happy Duanwu Holiday!
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