Foreigners in China discuss the food customs of Lantern Festival

By Du Qiongfang Source:Global Times Published: 2018/3/5 18:53:40

Glutinous fun!


Most expats and foreigners living in or traveling to China know about Spring Festival, which starts on Chinese New Year Eve with a get-together dinner among family members. But many don't know about the, which marks the end of Spring Festival. The tradition of eating yuanxiao or tangyuan (glutinous rice balls) is a hallmark of this festival. The Global Times recently interviewed several foreigners about their attitudes toward glutinous rice balls.

Tim from Russia and 22-year-old British citizen William, who has been in Shanghai for six months, both told the Global Times that they have heard of the festival but never joined in its festivities. Forty-seven-year-old Raphaelle from France, who has been living in Shanghai for 24 years, said she knows this festival.

French citizen Sarah, whose father is Chinese, said she recently learned about the festival and spent the festival in Beijing to pay a visit to her grandparents there.

Thirty-year-old Matthew, of British nationality, said he knew the festival was coming. American citizen Paulina, 20, also said she has seen people celebrating the festival before. Dehlla, 21, from the US said she just heard about the festival.

Contrary to other foreigners who only know a bit about the festival, 19-year-old Melody from the US knows about this festival very well. "Some people told me about the Lantern Festival and how [some] people usually have a Chinese New Year break all the way until this festival happens," Melody said.

Bittersweet

In contrast, the Global Times also met a foreigner who has never heard of the festival. Alice from France said she didn't know anything about it until now.

Although yuanxiao or tangyuan is eaten on this festival, it is also a common commodity with both sweet and salty flavors sold at Chinese supermarkets any time of the year. Some foreigners have tried glutinous rice balls, others haven't.

William said he has only tried the red bean flavor but didn't like it. Raphaelle tried a few times and she prefers salty tangyuan. Matthew also has eaten them before at the Lantern Festival but usually only eats the sesame ones. He thinks the sweet ones are better.

Melody has also tried the sweet kind, mostly with black sesame filling. "I definitely prefer the sweet kind. I think of tangyuan as a dessert," Melody said. Sarah and Alice also tried sweet tangyuan before, because they also prefer the sweet flavor. Dehlla had never tried tangyuan, but she thought she would prefer the sweet one.

Although some foreigners have never tried either sweet or salty tangyuan, they showed great interest. Tim never tried tangyuan before, but he said he would probably try the salty ones. Maria from Columbia also said she would prefer the savory ones. Paulina had never tried tangyuan but she thought she would prefer the salty one.


I love lamb


As a matter of fact, glutinous rice balls have a variety of fillings and flavors other than the sweet sesame or red bean paste fillings and the salty pork filling. The Global Times listed some of the flavors and asked the interviewees to pick their favorite flavors and the flavors they would like the least.

Among the five sweet flavors listed, Matthew said he really hates durian. "I think it's the worst flavor I've ever had unfortunately," Matthew said. "I really like the sesame ones. I think that's my favorite probably."

Among the five salty flavors listed, Matthew said maybe the dried cabbage would be really good. But he thought he would least like the lamb flavor. "I love lamb. But I don't think it's good in a bun," Matthew said.

Melody thought she would like the rose flavor best although she hadn't tried it yet. "But I usually really like floral flavors," said Melody, who also like sesame. She thought the salted and dried Chinese cabbage would probably be her least favorite flavor. But she likes lamb, pork, beef flavors and nut fillings of almond and walnut.

Raphaelle likes the sesame filling and dislikes the lamb filling. But Tim thought lamb sounded really good, and he also really likes the red bean flavor.

Paulina thought maybe sesame was the best. But because she doesn't eat meat, she thought she would like none of those fillings of pork, lamb or beef.

Dehlla thought rose sounded good to her, but she didn't like red bean. Among the salty flavors, she likes the lamb filling.

Photos:VCG

Photos:VCG

Photos:VCG

 

Photos:Xiang Jun/GT

Photos:Xiang Jun/GT

Photos:Xiang Jun/GT

Photos:Xiang Jun/GT

Photos:Xiang Jun/GT

Photos:Xiang Jun/GT

Photos:Xiang Jun/GT

Photos:Xiang Jun/GT





 

 

 

  

 



Posted in: CITY PANORAMA

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