I find food wrapped in leaves very appealing and it is interesting to note that we can find them in many cultures around the globe. It seems they all have one thing in common: the rather blend starch hides something in smaller quantity ans most of the time a good surprise.
A few weeks ago while walking through Chinatown I walked by a lady selling something that looked similar to what I remembered having few years back also in New York Chinatown.
I tried to ask her what was it was. She spoke to me only in Chenise and nedeless to say I couldn’t understand, but buying one of the wrapped leave package from her small portable makeshift stand for $1.25 was possible. I couldn’t wait to eat it but I decided to wait to go home and try to identify it.
The internet investigation revealed that it appeared that I had purchased A Zongzi. They are mostly made for the Chinese Dragon Boat Festival that takes place every year the 5th day of the 5th moon. This year it was June 8th. Mine was wrapped in bamboo leaves and filled with peanuts & pork and but they come with different fillings.
I printed out the name and returned to Chinatown on Wednesday to see if I could confirm my identification. The old lady wasn’t there but a sidewalk cart stand had a pile of them. I showed the lady the print out, –see image of print out above– and she nodded positively
Then she tried to explain something about the position of the threads in chinese, a man came to my rescue and translated that: one one thread at the bottom indicated that it was a peanut zongzi and the other a bean paste zongzi. I got one of each.
At first the sticky rice tasted a little blend and gooey but when you I hit the peanuts and then pork it all comes together. The pork meat tasted very similar to pork confit we make in the South of France. I much prefer the one with peanut than the one with the yellow bean paste. Also I must say that the one purchased at the cart on Wednesday were really mediocre compared to the one I got from the old lady. I had gotten only a peanut one from the old lady and it was delicious, the pork was moist and perfectly salty and what appeared way to much rice and very little meat, dotted with still crunchy boiled peanuts was PERFECT. I also found out they are also called zong in some parts of China.
More on Chinatown soon!