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Spring Festival traditional foods
Latest Updated by 2006-01-24 13:36:06
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WITH Spring Festival, the major festival of the year, it's not surprising that different regions developed their own distinctive ways to celebrate. Shenzhen is no exception.

Shenzhen may be a young city, but families who have been here for generations also have traditional, labor-intensive festival food.

Jiandui (fried rice ball)

Jiandui, a festive food, was first eaten by Shenzhen's original settlers during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). It is made of glutinous rice powder and sugar.

Centuries away from fast food, first comes the work of grinding glutinous rice into rice powder. Then the rice powder is mixed with sugar and formed into a ball, leaving a hole. Air is blown into the ball by mouth until it swells. Then the ball is deep fried until it turns yellow. Thus a jiandui is made.

Crispy and sweet, jiandui is the favorite food of children. Adults also love it, not just for its taste, but also because its golden color symbolizes prosperity.

Rice pie

Rice pie first appeared over 100 years ago. Only a few people still make it, because of the time-consuming procedure. "First, you need to stir-fry glutinous rice and grind it. It takes a whole week to grind 20 liters of rice. The next step is mixing raw sugar with the rice powder, and pressing the powder into a pie," recalled senior citizen Cai Limei. People would usually start making the pie one month before the Spring Festival. Richer people would add filling made from sesame, peanuts and sugar.


Yuanlong is a traditional festival food of the Hakka people, who moved to Guangdong hundreds of years ago from Central China. Yuanlong is a round, yellow snack made from ground glutinous rice and raw sugar. Sweet and fragrant, yuanlong must be steamed for a whole day. The Hakka people would give yuanlong to friends and relatives during Spring Festival.

Big basin dish

Big basin dish consists of about 15 courses, prepared in a big wok heated with firewood. Through stir-frying, deep frying, boiling, braising and stewing, more than 10 courses are prepared then placed in a big basin. The course on the top is chicken and duck, symbolizing that birds return to their nests. People in Guangdong coastal areas, Hong Kong and Southeast Asia have been following the custom of a big basin dish feast on the Lantern Festival, the 15th day of the first lunar month.

Editor: Wing

By: Source: Szdaily web edition
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