Unique "Zongzi" flavors tempt Chinese people's taste buds
Countless new flavors of Zongzi has delighted Chinese people, as they celebrated the Dragon Boat Festival which fell on June 3 this year.
Zongzi, a glutinous rice dumpling wrapped in bamboo leaves, is a time-honored delicacy that Chinese people eat during this festival.
Innovative varieties such as milk tea Zongzi and stinky tofu Zongzi not only stirred people's taste buds but also changed their perception of traditional delicacies.
In recent years, there has been an ongoing debate online regarding whether the sweet or salty traditional flavor of the delicacy is better. Typical flavors of Zongzi are sweet ones made of red bean paste or dates, and salty ones are stuffed with salted yolk or pork.
During this year's holiday season, China's catering businesses have made every effort to attract customers by giving novel twists to the festival staple, packed with unique flavors.
From high-end ingredients like abalone, truffle and cubilose to local flavors such as spicy beef and crayfish, everything can be wrapped in Zongzi.
Data from the e-commerce giant JD.com shows that more than 130 new flavors hit the shelves during this year's Dragon Boat Festival.
The treat comes in all sorts of exotic flavorings. Dadong, a famous Peking roast duck restaurant, offers Zongzi filled with its special roast duck, while other companies market the delicacy with other nontraditional fillings like beef, yogurt and durian.
Another company to jump on the bandwagon this year is Wufangzhai, a time-honored Zongzi brand that dates back to 1921. It designed a special Zongzi gift package, which includes the eight major Chinese cuisines incorporating regional delicacies from across the country such as spicy Sichuan cuisine and Cantonese cuisines.
"This is our first attempt at creative new stuffings," said Xu Jinsheng, the product manager of the company, adding that every new flavor of Zongzi will undergo dozens of trials before the ideal recipe is finalized.
Developing new products that cater to consumers' ravenous appetite for novelty not only consolidated the advantages of time-honored brands but also brought young consumers closer.
Such innovations in traditional foodstuffs have successfully piqued consumers' interest, gaining popularity among young diners in particular. According to a report from JD.com, consumers aged 26 to 35 are most willing to try out new flavors.
The report also showed that male consumers are bigger fans of new flavors than female ones, and male consumers enjoy salty Zongzi more while female consumers prefer the sweet flavor.
Though faced with more choices, many consumers still believe in the idea of "the simpler, the better" and treasure the fragrance and authenticity of traditional flavors of Zongzi, which can revive their childhood or hometown memories.
Data from Pinduoduo, an e-commerce platform, shows that traditional flavored Zongzi sells well despite the mushrooming of their dazzling counterparts, with sales volume reaching over 100,000 units this year.
"Buying authentic Zongzi on online e-commerce platforms remains the choice of many consumers who work away from home," said a Pinduoduo employee.