By: Kenny Tran
Long ago, somewhere in China, a man was once born. At that time there were a lot of unkind officers who used their power to illegally acquire money. The man had a lot of pride. He studied hard to become an advisor to the king, so that he could earn a lot of money to feed his family and help the unfortunate. He wanted to bring peace to the villagers, since the king had other things to do. His effort indeed paid off, because he passed the test that occurs every four years. This test is the only path for an ordinary peasant to become an officer who serves the king. It took this man many years to rise to the top. He later earned the king’s trust and became his main advisor.
During his rise to power, he did many good deeds, which built him a good reputation. All peasants loved him. However, his rise would mean a downfall for others; therefore, other officers hated him. Soon enough, they started gossiping, creating false rumors about him. Passing from mouths to ears, the rumors became as bad as they could be. They turned out to be something like: “he is betraying the king or now that he got so much power, he will make a revolution to take over the kingdom”. It didn’t take very long for some of these stories to reach the king’s ears. Full of anger, he condemned the man to death. The man didn’t want to lose his pride by being beheaded, so, on May 5th of the Chinese calendar, he jumped into a river and drowned himself. His beloved peasants wanted him to have a full body on his road to heaven. So they threw a mixture of food wrapped in what we call, “Zhong” (粽), in the river. The mixture is a made of rice, beans, pork meat, eggs, sausages, peanuts, bamboo leaves and strings to keep it in one piece, so the fishes would eat the food and not the man’s body.
Now, we don’t throw food into the river, but we eat this particular food to remember that man. My parents make these on May 5th of the Chinese calendar. I’ve been eating this for 18 years. The bamboo leaves can be found in Asian market such as, Kim Phat near Jarry, and groceries stores in China Town.
- 1 ½ cup rice
- ¼ cup green beans
- 4-5 bamboo leaves
- 1 egg
- 1 meter of string
1. Wash the rice.
2. Leave the rice with water overnight.
3. Wash the green beans.
4. Leave the green beans with water overnight.
5. Take out the rice and pour some salt on it.
6. Do the same thing with the green beans.
7. Cook the pork with hot water.
8. Cut the pork into small pieces.
9. Slice the sausage into slices.
10. Wash the bamboo leaves.
11. Put some rice on a bamboo leaf.
12. Add a little bit of the meats and beans in it.
13. Add another layer of rice on top.
14. Close the package with another leaf.
15. Seal the package with the string.
16. Put it in a hot pot to cook for around 4 hours.