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4 places to find authentic rice dumplings for Dragon Boat Festival 2022

By Alison Fung 29 May 2021 | Last Updated 30 May 2022

Header image courtesy of Ming Court

Every year before the arrival of the energetic Dragon Boat Festival, both classic and newfangled flavours of rice dumplings—zongzi (粽子) in Mandarin or zung (糭) in Cantonese—pop up across Hong Kong. Parcels of glutinous rice wrapped in reed leaves dangle in bundles across shopfronts, oscillating lightly in the wind.

Rice dumplings are not only a staple food of the festival, but also a reminder of Hong Kong’s deep-rooted Chinese character. The types of rice dumplings differ between regions of China with different fillings, textures, and cooking methods. Northern styles are often sweet and dessert-like, while southern styles are savoury and salty. 

From beloved Cantonese renditions to Shanghainese varieties, head to these shops and restaurants where you can find authentic rice dumplings to celebrate this traditional festival.

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Old San Yang (老三陽)

Old San Yang (老三陽) is a time-honoured name that has been passed on from one generation to the next. For 40 years, Old San Yang has stood on Pak Sha Road as a Southern variety store (南貨店, naam4 fo3 dim3), an establishment that specialises in selling delicacies from the south of China.

Months before the Dragon Boat Festival, the storefront is piled with 24 distinct flavours of Jia Hu rice dumplings (嘉湖糭, gaa1 wu4 zung2)—Shanghainese rice dumplings with origins from the Hangzhou–Jiaxing–Huzhou Plain in Zhejiang. Old San Yang’s ham and egg yolks rice dumplings ($138) are a popular option with the right ingredients in the right proportion in every single bite. On the other hand, the purple rice and red beans rice dumplings ($50) are a local favourite, famed for their chewy, glutinous texture.

Old San Yang (老三陽), 4 Pak Sha Road, Causeway Bay | (+852) 2890 2534

Photo: @epicurushongkong (via Instagram)

Dai Kee (大記)

Just around the corner from Portland Street in Prince Edward, Dai Kee (大記) is a humble establishment that specialises in Zhongshan cuisine. It is one of the few places across the city that makes screw pine rice dumplings (蘆兜糭, lou4 dau1 zung2), in which the rice and fillings are wrapped with leaves from “fake pineapple” trees.

Traditional screw pine rice dumplings can weigh up to three kilogrammes each, but Dai Kee has transformed the mouth-watering treat into a convenient household size, tailored for small families in Hong Kong. Stuffed with whole red beans, salted egg yolks, and pork belly, the small screw pine rice dumpling ($48) is a much more aromatic variety compared to other Cantonese renditions.

Dai Kee (大記), 10 Ki Lung Street, Prince Edward | (+852) 6296 7251

Photo: Xia Fei Society

Xia Fei Society (霞飛會館)

If you’re a fan of savoury sensations, you will want to try the Shanghai sticky rice dumpling with ham and egg yolks ($60) served at Xia Fei Society (霞飛會館). Made with cured ham from China’s Jinhua region and cooked egg yolks, the medley gives off an intense yet pleasurable flavour that’s bound to satisfy those looking for authentic, traditional options. Meanwhile, the Shanghai sticky rice dumpling with egg yolks and soy sauce-stewed pork ($60) is prepared with meat that has been marinated in an unforgettably fragrant soy sauce recipe.

Xia Fei Society (霞飛會館), 4/F, Century Square, 1–13 D’Aguilar Street, Central | (+852) 2522 7611

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Photo: @klvn1988 (via Instagram)

Cheong Fat Coconut (昌發椰子檔)

Conservative diners who value traditional flavours will want to track down this dai pai dong in Mong Kok, characterised by its green-painted steel coverings. Located on Canton Road, Cheong Fat Coconut (昌發椰子檔) is a famous Thai coconut vendor who has also mastered the art of making traditional Cantonese rice dumplings.

Here, three flavours of salted meat rice dumplings (鹹肉糭, haam4 juk6 zung2)—mung bean paste, peanuts, and mixed beans—are available for purchase. Each tetrahedron parcel ($30) is packed with a sizeable piece of salted egg yolk, mung beans, and braised pork. It’s a bargain for a heavenly mix of fragrant rice and marinated meat!

Cheong Fat Coconut (昌發椰子檔), 1032 Canton Road, Mong Kok | (+852) 2396 0418

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Alison Fung

Editor

A town girl who grew up on the rocky west coast of Canada, Alison has now found her permanent home in Hong Kong. When she’s not chasing down culture and travel stories around the city, you will find her exploring alleyways, searching for hidden speakeasies, or trotting around the globe to places she dreams of visiting.

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