Saturday, June 5, 2010

Chinese Dumpling Festival

The dumpling festival (known as "duan wu jie" in mandarin) is celebrated on the 5th day of the 5th month of the Chinese Calender. This year's dumpling festival is on June 16.

There is a story behind this dumpling festival: Long ago in China, there was a scholar called Qu Yuan who threw himself in a river to protest against a corrupt government. Fishermen who saw this incident quickly tried rowing their boats to the site to try to save him but to no avail. Villagers threw in rice, wrapped in leaves and tied with colorful strings, into the water so that the fishes will eat the rice than feed on the dead scholar. Today, dumplings are eaten by many Chinese and dragon boat racing are also organized, symbolizing the rush to find the scholar.

This dumpling has now evolved to a Chinese snack. Dumplings now are made from glutinous rice, which is slightly sticky when cooked, and the rice are usually filled with sweet meats. The dumplings in the above pix, is about 5 inches in height and filled with braised mushrooms, chestnuts, salted duck yolk and pork. The dumpling is brown due to the braised sauce. The rice and fillings are expertly handwrapped with a 4 lotus leaves and is held together with a string. This dumpling is cooked by immersing the entire wrapped dumpling in a pot of boiling water.

There are many types of dumplings made with different fillings. This snack is now available in most cities all year round. It is an inexpensive and delicious snack. There are now chocolate filled dumplings to attract the younger crowd.

I enjoy eating my dumplings with tea especially with ripe pu erh. It helps digest the dumplings and enhance the eating experience.

The last 2 pix shows a 06 ripe Mengku 400g cake and a 08 Menghai 7572 ripe cake.

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