Today is Dongzhi , the celebration of the Winter Festival. This is an important festival celebrated for the winter solstice in the northern hemisphere in China, Taiwan and other Asian countries, which usually falls around the 21st or 22nd December and this year it falls on 22nd December. The origins can be traced back to the principles of yin and yang. The days start getting longer, bringing in positive yang energy after the winter solstice. In southern China It is a time for families to gather together and they celebrate with tangyuan, balls of glutinous rice, which are sometimes brightly coloured. Each family member receives at least one large tangyuan in addition to several small ones. The tangyuan balls may be plain or stuffed. They are cooked in a sweet soup or savoury broth with both the ball and the soup/broth served in one bowl.
Tangyuan is often served with Jiuniang, a mildly alcoholic unfiltered rice wine containing whole grains of glutinous rice (and often also sweet osmanthus flowers). Available at TANG The Asian Food Emporium (formerly Great Eastern Food Centre) at 185 Russell Street, Melbourne. Plain or flavoured Tangyuan are also stocked here; some of the scrumptious fillings are red bean, coconut and yam, sesame, peanut and taro.
At Dongzhi people from northern China typically eat dumplings or dumpling soup. This originates from the story of Zhang Zhongjing in the Han Dynasty who saw the poor suffering from chilblains on their ears and had dumplings made and distributed to them to warm them, and so to this day people from this region celebrate by eating dumplings or dumpling soup to celebrate Dongzhi. You’ll find a great range of delicious dumplings at TANG The Asian Food Emporium, try cucumber, prawn and pork, leek, mushroom or vegetable, pork and prawn, chinese cabbage and pork, pork and spinach, fish, shrimp and pork, fish and pork, mushroom and chicken, mushroom and pork or seafood and pork dumplings.