Dispute of the Century: Should Zongzi Be Sweet or Salty?

What exactly does an authentic Zongzi taste like? Here's the answer.


The  2020 Dragon Boat Festival falls on Thursday, June 25, and Chinese  people all over the world are getting ready to enjoy food of the season:  Zongzi (粽子), also known as Chinese tamale. But it is also when people  start arguing on the Internet on whether zongzi should be sweet or  salty. 

For various reasons, northerners in China tend to prefer  salty foods, whereas people from the south like sweet foods. This  phenomenon is known in China as "Sweet South, Salty North" (南甜北咸).  However, zongzi seems to be an exception to this rule. 

People up  north like to eat Zongzi with fillings like Chinese date or red bean  paste, and usually enjoy it with sugar or honey. Southerners, on the  other hand, like to eat salty zongzi with meat fillings. And every year  at this time, the yearly "sweet or salty" dispute starts on the  internet.

In fact, due to economic development and increased migration, more people have the opportunity to try traditional foods from different regionsNorthern Chinese tend to prefer salty zongzi (me being one of them) and Southern Chinese prefer sweet zongzi

Here are recipes for both sweet and salty zongzi. Which one do you like better?

  1. Phoenix Hou

  2. Phoenix Hou

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