Experiences - Asia

Must-eat in china – Yuanxiao Dumplings

Chinese dumplings are a very popular treat in Southeast Asia, especially during the Chinese New Year season. It is on the last day of the New Year celebrations that Yuanxiao (or lantern festival) is celebrated.

Marked by flashy red lanterns and firecrackers, the sky is positively resplendent. Spectators gaze at the full moon and welcome in the spring, while feasting on some truly wonderful dishes from Chinese cuisine.

Yuanxiao Dumplings

Image Courtesy: Yu Ting Wong used under the Creative Commons Licence

Yuanxiao is marked by many Asian traditions, and some of these happen to be delicious traditions. Sweet or savoury dumplings from northern China are a speciality on this day. During these celebrations, families and friends gather close to cook a special meal – Yuanxiao dumplings, which are sometimes also called Tang Yuan.

Yuanxiao, simply put, mean rice ball. And yet, this simple dish is steeped in tradition and spirit of the Lantern festival. It is a symbol of harmony and happiness.

Glutinous rice flour is the staple of Yuanxiao, and these small dumplings from China are made by soaking a dry filling in water. Dipping the filling into a flour mixture comes next. Some chefs roll their palms until it resembles a moon, perfect for the festival for which it is being made.

Yuanxiao Dumplings

Image Courtesy: Alison used under the Creative Commons Licence

Across China, people dig into these dumplings. Each has its own preference, and the fillings are endless: walnut meat, sesame paste, dried fruit, vegetables, sometimes even rose petals!

Boiled and steamed, these little Chinese delights are to die for. They make an amazing snack on a night to be spent watching the first full moon of the year.

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