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Zongzi Competition Shows Foreigners' Talents of Making Chinese Traditional Food
On May 24, a competition of wrapping zongzi was held at the Guangzhou Restaurant, where contestants battled for prizes and had lots of fun. Four contestants finally won the two prizes: "the fastest wrapper" and "best in shape".

On May 24, Saturday, a competition of wrapping zongzi was held at the Guangzhou Restaurant. The contest was filled with fun for the participants as they competed for prizes. The event was co-organized by the Information Office of Guangzhou Government and Guangzhou Restaurant and was held to welcome the traditional Duanwu Festival, which falls on June 2 this year. It attracted 14 foreigner competitors from the U.S., U.K., Norway, Germany, Indonesia and Columbia.

Zongzi is a kind of Chinese food stuffed glutinous rice and ingredients like egg yolk, salted pork fat, bean and chestnuts depending on the region of the country, and then wrapped with bamboo leaves and thread before steaming. The secret to winning the competition is to wrap the bamboo leaves with thread tidily and beautifully. Before the competition, chefs from Guangzhou Restaurant demonstrated how to stuff the ingredients with proper quantity and bundle the package with green leaves. The process seemed very simple but those hopes were dashed after the contestants began to make their own.

Chefs from Guangzhou Restaurant demonstrate how to stuff the ingredients with proper quantity.

The contestants lined up in two rows wearing disposable gloves and placed the leaves in the metal model. They were competing for two prizes - the fastest wrapping and best in shape. The quantity control of stuffing was the first obstacle. Most of the contestants were not able to put their fingers on the perfect proportion of the various stuffing, resulting in packages which were under filled or over filled. After they adjusted the proportion they rushed to wrap the bamboo leaves at the bottom of the zongzi, folding like the leaves like a quilt. Soon after they ran into the second obstacle. Each contestant needed to hold the zongzi from the metal model with one hand and tie the thread with the other hand. Coordinate the two hands perfectly proved to be a highly difficult task.

Over 100 audiences members acted as a judging panels to score the works by sticking lip-shaped labels on the contestants’ bodies and faces. Four contestants finally won the two prizes. Patrick from Germany and Rose from Norway won the "Best in Shape" prize while Herlin from Indonesia and Stephanie from the U.S. won the "Fastest Wrapper" prize. The chefs noted that their works all "filled the whole zongzi in its four corners and wrapped the neatly by the thread."

Chefs comment on works of the contestants.

Herlin (left) from Indonesia and Stephanie (right) from the U.S. win the "Fastest Wrapper" prize.

Patrick (left) from Germany and Rose (right) from Norway win the "Best in Shape" prize.

(By Jessie Huang, Ian Heuer)

Editor:Jessie Huang
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