“So there’s this interesting food we eat during this one special holiday, the Dragon Boat Festival. It’s a special kind of rice wrapped around some other food. Like we can put meat or sticky rice inside and then we wrap it in like a tree leaf. Then we steam it. It’s a lotus tea leaf. The food is called:

Chinese: 粽子
Phonetic: Zòngzi
Transliteration: Rice dumplings son
Translation: Zongzi, a type of rice dumpling

We don’t usually eat that food during other times of the year. It’s mostly a variation of it during other times of the year or the traditional form during the Dragon Boat Festival.”


Informant (XY) is a student aged 19 from Changsha, China. He spent a few years going to elementary school in Canada but has spent almost his entire life in China. He currently goes to USC. This piece was collected during an interview over dinner in the dining hall. He learned about this from his family. He doesn’t really see any larger meaning behind the food.


This particular food demonstrates how one food specific to a particular festival can undergo variation with the growth in wealth of the lower classes. This dish was originally eaten very sparingly, but due to economic developments, it is now eaten outside of the original festival. In order to preserve its traditional meaning, versions eaten outside of the original festival must vary.