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The story of Qu Yuan also gives us the origin of a tasty glutinous rice dumpling called zongzi, a popular street-fare specialty consumed during the Dragon Boat festival. According to the tale, the soul of Qu Yuan appeared before a group of fishermen, crying out to them that he was starving because a dragon was eating his rice offerings. In order to prevent the dragon from stealing them, Qu Yuan ordered that the offerings be closed with leaves and tied. Today’s zongzi is made similarly, with a serving of rice wrapped in leaves and tied together with string.

The way the string is wound and knotted tells what ingredients are inside—pickled egg, beans, dates, fruits, yam, gelatin pudding, walnuts or melon seeds.


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