I always feel very lucky when my grandma or my aunt make traditional home cooked dishes or special holiday foods. In HK, June 6th is a public holiday, known more commonly to people as a day to party outdoors and cheer on dragon boat teams as they pedal furiously to the finish line in Stanley.
As with all holidays, there are special foods associated with each festivities, and the special food for this special day is sticky rice/glutinous rice dumplings. These rice dumplings are wrapped with bamboo leafs and the typical ingredients include yellow bean paste, dried mushroom, a slice of pork, salty duck egg yolk, and dried scallop. commercially to maximize sales and dollar value, vendors will advertise adding “expensive” ingredients such as abalone, but those are all gimmicks to me.
I like homemade sticky rice dumplings! After steaming it for about 15-20 minutes, add a bit of soy sauce and what a great meal!
So you ask, why eat sticky rice dumplings during the dragon boat festival? Ahhh.. I have heard this tale since I was a little kid, I love it when my mom tell me, I keep having these images and pictures dancing in my head. The story goes that there used to be a very honest and respectful adviser that is beloved by all the people in China. Because of jealousy and incompetence of other aids and advisors to the emperor, they banded together to have the honest man thrown into the ocean to die. When fishermen heard of this, they immediately get into their boats and head out to sea to look for his body. As they head into the water, they beat furiously on the drums in hope of scaring the fish away and throw little rice dumplings into the water to feed the fish so they wouldn’t eat this hero’s corpse. This is the story celebrating the hero called “Qu Yuan” and on the date of his death of June 6th, people continue rowing dragon boats and eating rice dumplings to remember him.