rice dumplings (粽子: zòng zi) are a rather antiquated tradition passed down from our ancestors: when a celebrated and patriotic poet – qu yuan, of the warring states period in chinese history – drowned himself, these triangular dumplings were devised to be thrown into the river for the fish to eat so they would leave his body alone.
more snarky less serious note, the dumplings probably had a dual purpose – not only tasty enough to prove sufficient distraction for those gullible fish, the glutinous rice is so stodgy as to end up leaden in their stomachs. I put forth the hypothesis that our ancestors were both clever and merciless.
I feel almost culpable – I’m part of the generation that’s consigning this tradition to near obscurity and do-if-convenient. one day I will learn to make this – even if I’m not sure I’ll ever finish eating one on my own.
so, if you’re making efforts to keep up cultural traditions, I salute you. and in the meantime, I’ll tell you the best rice dumplings are grandma-made, chock-full of dried mussels, pork, mushrooms, chestnuts, and a salted egg yolk – surrounded by sticky-but-separate rice grains that are soft and not mushy.
p.s. this is a month after the festival – but hey, umm, photos were taken and must be shared!