Happy Dragon Boat Festival! As the occasion calls for, today we celebrate with zongzi! Zongzi (also called Chinese sticky rice dumplings) are a traditional Chinese dish, consisting of various fillings wrapped in glutinous rice and cooked in bamboo leaves. As a native Texan, here's my best analogy: think tamales, except the Chinese version.
In Chinese, 盒子 (hézi) literally translates into box -- an edible box, of course. A typical “box” that you’ll see sold as a quick street food item consists of chopped chives and eggs (or some other variation of that) stuffed into a dough “box,” although that box is shaped more like a crescent moon. I like to think of them as the older cousin of dumplings. Both are like savory pocket pies, but hézi usually are larger, have more filling, and a crisper skin.
Turnip cakes are a classic at dim-sum restaurants, and have always been my favorite item (I save room for an entire serving for it each time...) While the more appropriate name is radish cake, they are an incredibly savory dish featuring veggies, sausages and rice flour. They're a bit of a time commitment, but nothing too extreme -- block out an hour and a half-ish, and you've got yourself some turnip cakes. And paired with some hoisin sauce and Lao Gan Ma chili crisp sauce...well, that's as good as life gets.