The story of Qu Yuan shows us the legend of a tasy glutinous rice dumpling
called Zongzi, a popular specialty consumed during the Dragon Boat Festival.
According to the tale, the spirit of Qu Yuan appeared before a group of
fisherman, crying out to them that he was starving because a dragon was
eating his rice offerings.
The offerings consisted of bamboo tubes filled with gluttinous rice.
In order to prevent the dragon from stealing them, Qu Yuan ordered the
tubes to be closed with lily leaves adn tied with multi-colored threads.
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 kontted
tells waht ingredients are inside.
There are a lot of different kinds of zongzi, each with its own
particular flavor, shape, and type of leaf for wrapping. Zongzi is usually
four-sided with pointed, rounded ends, or pyramid shapes. Sometimes it
is in the shape of a cone or cylinder. The glutinous rice mixture us wrapped
in leaves of wild rice, palm or bamboo. Bamboo-leaf zongzi is a specialty
of South China.
As for flavor, the Beijing style is the sweetest, with coarse bean
paste. Guangdong zongzi is either sweet-tasting, with walnut, date or bean,
or salty with filling ham, egg, meat, roast chicken.