Dragon Boat Festival Dinner
The Duanwu Festival, also often known as the Dragon Boat Festival, is a traditional holiday originating in China, occurring near the summer solstice. The festival now occurs on the 5th day of the 5th month of the traditional Chinese calendar, which is the source of the festival’s alternative name, the Double Fifth Festival. The Chinese calendar is lunisolar, so the date of the festival varies from year to year on the Gregorian calendar. In 2017, Dragon Boat Festival, on May 30th.
Three of the most widespread activities conducted during the Duanwu Festival are eating (and preparing) zongzi*, drinking realgar wine, and racing dragon boats. Justin had the opportunity to prepare zongzi at school, but this year, Eli and I didn’t do anything special for the festival. We were just happy that we got a three day weekend!
Zongzi: The Food of the Dragon Boat Festival
*Zongzi is a traditional Chinese food made of glutinous rice stuffed with different fillings and wrapped in bamboo or other large flat leaves. They are cooked by steaming or boiling. In the West, they are also known as sticky rice dumplings.
We discussed zongzi in this edition of China Groceries: Zongzi, and tried them for the first time at a buffet brunch.
Just before the start of the Dragon Boat weekend, we received an invitation to join some work friends for a special dinner. They were all driving to Chenyang (an area a little bit out of the city) to try a new restaurant. We were due to have a date night, but we decided to join everyone for the dinner instead. It sounded like this would be a good evening out with some familiar faces.
The restaurant was unique, and nicely decorated. Before dinner started, we wandered around, looking at the different parts of the property. For dinner we were all seated around a large touch table, in typical Chinese fashion, and served an abundance of delicious dishes.
There We Are
Since I was walking around, taking pictures, you’ll notice that I am not actually in any of them. My newest, and favorite, lens is a 35mm fixed lens, and selfies are just not possible with this one! Someone did, however, take a couple pictures of Justin and I at the beginning of the night. Proof that I was, in fact, at the dinner! haha
One of the teachers, who (I think) is related to the owners of the restaurant, ordered all of the dishes for us. We really enjoyed all of them – especially the pork dish, pictured above. The meat was seasoned perfectly, and each piece was eaten wrapped in a sesame seed leaf, with a piece of raw garlic.
It wouldn’t be a Chinese meal if there weren’t, at least, a couple rounds of toasts and “cheers”. We all leaned in to tap glasses, and drink to honor each other, and the night we were spending around this table.
Above, These deep fried ball, underneath the batter, contained spinach and some delicious spices. Absolutely delicious!
And as you can see, below, the dishes just kept coming and coming!
Most dishes at a Chinese dinner, we have either tried, or seen, but prefer not to try. The above dish was completely new to us! Mint leaves, battered and deep fried – they were surprisingly tasty, and very light.
Halfway through the evening, we went outside, to a pretty little enclosed in area, to take some pictures and enjoy the fresh air.
Time for Some Games
When we returned to the table, it was time for some games. Justin suggested a couple of few entertaining games, which of course, he had learned while we lived in South Korea. Korea is definitely the land of drinking games – there is no doubt about that!
The games led to much fun and laughter. I played a couple of rounds, and then got up to take pictures of everyone having fun.
A great night of fun, laughter, good company, and delicious food!