Sales of holiday snack spike across mainland

Updated: 2012-02-06 09:33

By Wang Xiaodong and Wang Hongyi (China Daily)

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BEIJING / SHANGHAI - China has seen a boom in the sale of handmade yuanxiao, glutinous rice dumplings traditionally eaten at Lantern Festival, in the run-up to the celebration, which falls on Monday this year.

"The shop assistant just told me that all the yuanxiao for the whole day have been sold out, so I may come here tomorrow to try again," said a man surnamed Zhang in Beijing. All the dumplings at the famous Beijing snack shop Zhang visited were sold out by noon.

The sweet and glutinous treat is called yuanxiao in the north. In the south people have tangyuan, which are slightly different in size, stuffing and making process.

The treat is an important part of the Lantern Festival celebration, which also includes making lanterns, solving riddles posted on lanterns and performing lion dances.

"All the yuanxiao had been sold out by 10:30 am, and we don't know if there will be more available tomorrow," said Yang Yali, a worker at snack shop Beijing Daoxiangcun.

This year has seen a big increase in sales, and in the morning alone, about 230 kilograms of yuanxiao were sold in this store, said another worker.

The store sells handmade yuanxiao with ingredients that include black sesame seeds, walnuts and peanuts, Yang said.

Hand-made tangyuan are also selling well in the eastern metropolis of Shanghai.

At Wangjiasha Snack Store, a time-honored famous snack shop in Shanghai, customers have to wait at least two hours to buy tangyuan.

"Our staff has been working overtime these days, but it's still hard to meet the demand," Shen Yixiong, manager of Shanghai Wangjiasha Food Company.

"The sale of tangyuan is expected to increase 40 to 50 percent compared to last year."

Shen said the bestseller is the boiled dumplings stuffed with crab, which are sold at 20 yuan for eight.

"It's easy to buy quick frozen tangyuan in supermarkets, but the taste is not as good those made by hand," said a woman surnamed Chen. She and her husband traveled from Fengxian district to the city's downtown to buy tangyuan.

The traditional Lantern Festival falls on the 15th day of the first lunar month.


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