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Time-honored 'zongzi' brand sticks to tradition

By Bi Nan | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2017-05-26 10:52

The former shop front of Wu Fang Zhai [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

With the fresh smell of reed leaves, as well as the scent of rice and meat wafting through the air, the Wu Fang Zhai factory is a scene of orderly tension as workers prepare stacks of orders for the upcoming Duanwu Festival, also known as Dragon Boat Festival.

Wu Fang Zhai, a time-honored brand of zongzi (stuffed glutinous rice dumplings) is based in Jiaxing of Zhejiang province. Founded in 1921 with a small workshop, the enterprise now produces over 1.8 million zongzi each day at peak times during the Duanwu Festival.

The custom of eating zongzi during the festival in Jiaxing dates back to the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). As the technique for making zongzi in Jiaxing gradually developed, zongzi produced here became more popular around the country, especially meat zongzi. The most famous brand for meat zongzi is Wu Fang Zhai and the technique for making Wu Fang Zhai zongzi was placed on the list of national intangible cultural heritage in 2011.

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