Saturday, 23 June 2012

Happy Duan Wu Festival!

Duan Wu Festival (端午節) is a festival that falls on the 5th day 5th lunar month.  This year, it falls on Saturday, 22 June.

They were many different versions of why there is Duan Wu Festival.  But the version I listened as a little girl from Daddy revolves around the suicide of a loyal minister, Qu Yuan.

Qu Yuan was an important minister during the Chu Kingdom in China, who is a loyal advisor to the emperor.  Somehow, Qu Yuan's advice to the emperor was not heeded, and ultimately the Kingdom slowly fall to destruction.

Qu Yuan became very sad of the predicament of his beloved Kingdom and decided to throw himself into the River of Puo Luo on the fateful 5th day of the 5th lunar month.

The villagers, who were touched by his love for his country, threw rice dumplings wrapped in bamboo leaves into the river to distract the fishes from eating Qu Yuan's body.  Some went as far as going down the stream in a boat while beating drums and shouting out loud, hoping it would scare the fishes away.

This tradition of making rice dumplings & the dragon boat festival continued until today.

What are the other versions of the Duan Wu Festival that you have heard?


When you talk about Duan Wu Festival, I believe the first thing that comes into your mind is the rice dumplings (also known as zong zi 粽子), filled with glutinous rice wrapped in bamboo/lotus leaves.

Recently, there are many different kinds of rice dumplings.  Some goes as far as making it super luzury by putting in abalone slices & other seafood.

For me, the best rice dumpling is the traditional rice dumpling - filled with juicy pork belly, chestnuts, salted egg, mushroom & various beans, seasoned with dark soya sauce.  I just love how the beans integrate into the rice & that lovely tender pork, especially when served piping hot.  The most important is to have the rice seasoned well.

Warning note:  Do not attempt to eat more than one dumpling at one time as it can be pretty hard to digest (not to forget how unhealthy it can be if it was prepared with pork lard).  You don't really want to end up with a bloated stomach the whole day.

KS's mum recently made some rice dumplings, and I was lucky enough to taste the home-made rice dumplings (I was craving for it for the whole week!)

Home-made ones are really delicious and healthy because you decide what to put in and what to omit.  And most importantly, you can control the level of oiliness & saltiness.


To-do-list:  Start learning how to make the rice dumpling!!

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