The annual Chinese Dragon Boat Festival is coming! It has a signature dish, rice dumpling wrapped in bamboo or reed leaf called zongzi (粽子). The varieties of zongzi seem to be enormous, and Guangdong has its own take on the treat. Here are seven kinds of zongzi in Guangdong with their own distinctive features. Take your pick!
Chaoshan Double Flavor Zongzi (潮汕鸳鸯粽)
(Photo: Nanfang Daily)
The double flavor zongzi is a local delicacy in Chaoshan region. Its greatest feature is the combination of sweet and savory tastes. The savory taste is brought by salted egg yolks and pork, while the sweet taste is from red bean paste. This combination makes the taste less greasy and more balanced.
Taishan Savory Zongzi (台山扭角粽)
(Photo: Office of Taishan Chronicles)
Taishan savory zongzi is shaped into a rectangle with its corners twisted. The ingredients include pork, Chinese sausage, glutinous rice, salted egg yolks, peanuts, green beans, dried shrimps, dried scallops and some other ingredients, among which the most special one is the herbal medicine Peristrophe roxburghiana (Schult) Btem. The herb can not only relieve coughs and dissipate inertia, but also give off a fragrance to cleanse the palate.
Dongguan Daojiao Zongzi (东莞道滘粽)
(Photo: Office of Dongguan Chronicles)
Originating in Daojiao town, Dongguan, this kind of zongzi is rich in flavor. The ingredients include glutinous rice, salted egg yolks, pork belly, lotus seeds, green beans and spices. The zongzi is wrapped tightly to prevent rice from coming out and water from coming in.
Chua Lam, a famous gourmet in China, once stopped at Daojiao deliberately during a trip to buy such zongzis. "My favorite zongzi in Guangdong is those from Daojiao," he said.
Shenzhen Nanao Sea Urchin Zongzi (深圳南澳海胆粽)
Sea Urchin Zongzi, a special local snack in Shenzhen, is hailed as "the most luxurious zongzi" ever for its expensive ingredient - sea urchin. It is wrapped in a cylindrical shape.
This is a typical food of Tanka people, or boat people. In the past, eggs were rare here due to the inadequate transportation. Therefore, sea urchin, a commonly found food in the region, was used to make zongzi as a substitute for salted egg yolks. This has been a tradition for centuries.
Zhongshan-Style Zongzi (中山芦兜粽)
(Photo: Zhongshan Fabu)
As a traditional snack in Zhongshan, Zhongshan-style zongzi is in the shape of a cylinder, 12 centimeters in diameter and 30 centimeters in length. It's called a "model" among zongzi for its slenderness. The zongzi is wrapped in Pandanus austrosinensis leaves, which abound in the city and are utilized by the locals to enhance the flavor of zongzi.
Zhanjiang Duck-Shaped Zongzi (湛江鸭乸粽)
(Photo: Zhanjiang Daily)
As its name suggests, the zongzi is wrapped in the shape of a duck. It can also be shaped as chicken, goose, basket, pillow, etc. It's called "zongzi with the most creative shape". This kind of zongzi is especially popular in Zhanjiang's Leizhou Peninsula.
Chaozhou Pillow-shaped Zongzi (潮州凤凰枕头粽)
(Photo: Local Chronicle office of People's Government of Guangdong Province)
Coming from Chaozhou's Fenghuang town, this kind of zongzi is wrapped like a pillow. It's a kind of alkaline water zongzi, and alkaline water is used to treat the glutinous rice and thus give the cooked zongzi its attractive amber and slightly translucent appearance. The rice texture is soft and chewy, kind of bitter in itself but sweet and refreshing when served with sugar or syrup.
Pillow-shaped zongzi requires much patience in cooking. People need to check the water levels periodically, replenishing the pot with boiling water when the waterline falls below the top of zongzi. The zongzi is cooked for more than eight hours over medium heat till the texture becomes soft and turns into a paste.
Author | Holly, Echo (intern)
Poster | Mia
Editor | Wing, Nan, Monica, Jerry