It’s delicious! There are too many kinds of zongzi in Guizhou

Gourmet

It’s delicious! There are too many kinds of zongzi in Guizhou

by Live in Guizhou


PUBLISHED Nov 11, 2021 • 4MIN READ

Zongzi, the dish made from glutinous rice balls, is also an essential part of the Duanwu tradition. Zongzi is also called Tongzong and Jiaoshu. Every year, the folks in Guizhou will gather in families to prepare the dish–soaking the rice, washing the bamboo leaves that go on the outside, and wrapping the delicious dish. Zongzi comes in many varieties that differ from region to region. Historically, the first Zongzi was used in rituals honoring one’s ancestors. But later, the function changed. Qu Yuan threw himself in a river and died to protest his government’s failure. The day was Duanwu, and the people threw Zongzi in the water to prevent fish from desecrating the body of their beloved champion. This tradition has been carried till this day, thousands of years later. Let’s take a look at all the types of Zongzi.

(Note: Qu Yuan is a patriotic scholar and the founder of Chinese Romantic literature.)

Zhenfeng’s Zongzi

The town of Zhenfeng’s Zongzi is a famous variety. Its shape is rectangular, and so it is also called the pillow Zongzi. The locals use plantain leaves tied with rice leaves to mold the shape. The inside is a work of art. The rice used is black glutinous rice, rich in flavonoids and antioxidants. In traditional Chinese medicine, these kinds of rice are used to bring the body to balance through improving one’s yin side and bolstering the kidney flow of qi, which will promote blood flow, decrease infirmities, and sharpen one’s vision. Other stuffing that compliments the rice includes chestnuts and pork ribs, making it delicious and nutritious.

The Maojian Zongzi

The Maojian Zongzi is a specialty of its namesake town Maojian. The making of this Zongzi is highly particular. The rice must be presoaked using high-quality tea plucked from the Guyu term. Nothing but the best freshly gathered tea leaves and salted pork belly will be used in the stuffing. The tea serves as a complement to the meat, clearing the greasy feel. Open one of these green wraps, and you will be hit with the fresh grassy scent, the juicy texture, and (very soon) the delightful taste.

The Orchid Sparrow Zongzi

The Orchid Sparrow Zongzi is a specialty of the Buyi community in Lianshanwan, which is part of Libo County. The name partly comes from the orchid leaves used to wrap the zongzi during Duanwu and partly from the bird shape of the final product. The product combines artisan handcraft with gourmet food, naturally a popular choice for both locals and visitors. As Lianshanwan develops into a new tourist destination, the zongzi has also evolved into packaged gift baskets that you can bring home to your friends.

 Ash zongzi

The Buyi community has a special way of preparing their ash zongzi. First, premium sticky rice is pre-soaked in water. Next, the ash from the burning of rice stalks and rice leaves is added to the rice. The mixture is then sifted to remove any large fragments from the ash, while various spices and ingredients are added in, such as prickly pepper, anise, black walnuts, fennel, and pork. The zongzi is then shaped into a rectangle using plantain or bamboo shoot leaves. The product is highly aromatic and is a fixture of the Buyi tradition, often given to friends as gifts. The ash zongzi is something that no proper Buyi would skip, especially during Duanwu.

The Colored Zongzi

The Colored Zongzi is a culinary wonder of the Buyi community in Libo, passed down for generations. The zongzi is soaked in a mixture of natural coloring from local plants, including the Buddleja, maple leaves, wild garlic, and the Asian Knotweed. The result is the colorful delights of yellow, black, green, orange, and uncolored white. Each color holds a different stuffing before wrapped in bamboo leaves. There are five colors for the dish, representing the five traditional Chinese cereals to signify a bountiful harvest. The bright colors also signify the wish for an energetic and fortuitous year.

“Piggyback” zongzi

Zongzi is not only tasty but can also be a symbol of family. The Duanwu custom of the Miao community in Huangping County is to make the decorative “piggyback” zongzi. The “piggyback” is made in pairs, one representing the father, the other the mother. Each of the couple carries a baby zongzi on their back, hence the name. The “piggyback” is bigger than the normal zongzi and is a cube rather than the traditional pyramid. The “mother” carries a “baby” made out of delicate brocade. The “father,” in addition to carrying a “baby” on his back, holds his tools in the front, for his job is also to provide for his family.