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Sunday, December 27, 2020

Tang Yuan

You probably have seen photos of bowls of colorful rice balls (tang yuan) on social media and especially on December 21st/22nd every year when  the Chinese, Taiwanese, Japanese, Koreans and Vietnamese the world over celebrate the Dongzhi festival. 


Tang yuan is a Chinese dessert that consists of sticky rice balls in a pandan and ginger infused syrup.

Tang yuan means "soup ball".

The dessert is traditionally enjoyed during Dongzhi, the Lantern Festival, at weddings and essentially any family reunion dinners.

These days, you can have tang yuan any time you want.  I always have a packet of those store-bought ones in my freezer.

But half the fun of eating tang yuan is in the rolling of those colorful balls! And especially back then  for boomer kids like us when play dough wasn't around!

Tastewise, I personally don't find the starchy and chewy balls amazing but I like eating them because they always evoke fond memories of my childhood with every bite.

Even as I'm writing this, I can almost smell the aroma of pandan and ginger wafting from the pot of bubbling syrup in my late grandma's kitchen where we all gathered to make tang yuan.

While Grandma and the aunts worked on the dough, me, my sisters and the cousins would be seated around a huge marble table and tasked with shaping the balls.

Every now and then, one of the aunts would inspect our handiwork to ensure that the tang yuan were roughly of the same size and most importantly, perfectly round as Grandma was a stickler of tradition. The spherical shape of the tang yuan  and the bowls in which they were served symbolized family togetherness and completeness.

Ha! I think my purist grandma would roll in her grave if she were to see the spin people put on tang yuan these days!

Great balls of fires! Square tang yuan??!!  I see Grandma spinning in her grave!
image credit - Pinterest

image credit - crave4sweet

image credit - crave4sweet

image credit - simi.huang

image credit - osemhomecook

Many hands make light work.
image source - The Star

45 comments:

  1. A very interesting dessert. I like the way they look - especially the balls that have such cute shapes.
    Beautiful childhood memories always help our soul.
    All the best, Veronica. 😊

    Thank you for the information about this tradition. Everything is so new for me!

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  2. Had not ever heard of these so obviously have not had them either, but I did enjoy reading about them and seeing the unique takes on the shapes rather than the traditional round ones. What fun that must have been to roll the balls while you were surrounded with family :)

    Happy New Year!

    betty

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  3. Somehow I think your grandmother would approve of the innovations. It is quite wonderful when food evokes happy memories of childhood.

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  4. I just had to laugh because they write that grandma is turning around in her grave. I also can't imagine that the balls taste that great. But I really like ginger in my food.
    The dice are soooo great.
    Happy New Year and greetings Eva

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  5. I understand the tradition...but the little animal shapes are so cute!! But then I would feel guilty eating them.

    It's funny how we still eat the things from our childhood just for the memories. We do the same here.

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  6. It looks like a fun festival (I did not know about), especially the Domino squares, haha. But all the figures made from these rice balls are fun to look at:) Many thanks for sharing the making of of these delectable balls at this festival! A fun event for All Seasons! Have a great week, Jesh

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  7. These are so much fun! And the name suits them so well!
    Thanks for sharing at https://image-in-ing.blogspot.com/2020/12/going-buggy.html

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  8. These are brilliant I would love to try some what a nice post :-)

    Happy New Year Veronica best wishes for a safe 2021 from London :-)

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  9. Funny to think of scandalized ancestors as we adapt traditions. 😄

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  10. Very interesting dessert servings with cute little findings...
    I wish you a Happy & Safe New Year!

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  11. ...such colorful variations.

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  12. Well I'm very sorry Veronica but I have never heard of Tang Yuan. But it all looks very exciting and colourful for children and for adults.

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  13. Beautiful tradition, I haaven't heard of this before but would love to try it. Your grandmother would be happy seeing that the tradion has continued and with new additions, Great memories are always a pleasure.
    Have a Happy, Healthy and Peaceful New Year.

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  14. Great post! I have never heard of that nice East Asian traditional Tang yuan.

    Thanks for visiting my blog and sharing your point of view through your comment.

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  15. When I saw your cover photo, I thought they were melon balls! All the different shapes and colors are so pretty - almost too pretty to eat. Now I want to try them! :) Happy New Year!

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  16. Very interesting traditions! Looks complicated to do. But I think they test delicious!
    Thank you for sharing them!
    A Happy New Year and Happy WW, Veronica!

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  17. Wow! Thos are some lovely creative takes on the original.

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  18. How incredibly creative are these rice balls!

    A fantastic addition to 'My Corner of the World' this week! May the new year bring you great things to photograph!

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  19. I don't know that I would enjoy the rice balls, but the ginger syrup sounds good. I love the shapes that have been made.

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  20. Tradition is a great thing to stick with, but some of the creativity with the balls is also amazing!

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  21. Way too cute to eat. Happy New Year!
    Amalia
    xo

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  22. They certainly are colourful!! I love ginger so they sound yummy to me.

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  23. Gostei bastante do artigo, muito bom mesmo! Estou amando ler seus artigos e compartilhar com os amigos!


    Meu Blog: Como funciona o Gbet Sports?

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  24. I'm in. I'll try all of it. Beautiful colors.

    Thank you for joining the Wordless Wednesday Blog Hop.

    Have a fabulous Wordless Wednesday and a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year. Big hug. ♥

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  25. What amazing creations. My favourite? The fish!

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  26. May you have a nice New Year's Eve

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  27. Little sweet works of art are with the rice balls. I like this! I wish you a very 'Silvester' and a happy new year!

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  28. I've never seen/heard of them. interesting post. it must be fun to do them in company.

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  29. Well, isn't this interesting. I'm sure the children must love it for sure I know my grandkids would. Anyway, I hope you had a great Christmas and HAPPY NEW YEAR to you. My blog has moved & here's my new address... https://newxmasdolly.blogspot.com/2020/12/winter-is-here-ww.html hugs, Marie

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  30. Loved reading this and the pictures make it really interesting.
    Traditional dishes do make us nostalgic and you're right..granmas wont like straying this far from tradition :)

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  31. Very cool! Some of those look like they were time-consuming to make. Who has that kinda time? LOL

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  32. Those look fun to play with, when it comes to designs. The fish were cracking me up (cute!). I feel the same way about certain foods...maybe not so wonderful, but full of good memories, so I enjoy them from time to time anyway. :) Here to wish you a wonderful new year!

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  33. It's a really interesting und colourful dessert ;-)
    You and your Family a happy new and healthy new Year!
    We'll read us in 2021, greetings from Germany
    Kirsi

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  34. These look very interesting :) Happy New Year.

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  35. This is a beautiful share Veronica. It is interesting to know about traditions that is absolutely new for me.

    Kids find joy in such simple things, right :) The colorful balls do look pretty. While I agree your Grandma would have been shocked to see the presentation of tang-yuan, but some of them do look cute.

    Happy New Year Veronica.

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  36. I haven't heard of this tradition but it sounds lovely with all the family getting involved and it looks so cute and colourful! :)

    Happy new year! Hope 2021 is off to a good start for you :)

    Away From Blue

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  37. Interesting. I have never heard of this dessert. The animal shapes are so cute. Almost too cute to eat. Happy New Year, Veronica!

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  38. Yummy!! I love the ones shaped like animals! :)

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  39. The ones with "the spin" are so cute. I also eat some things from my childhood just for the memories. It helps to keep them close.

    Dropping by from the Traffic Jam Weekend Linky Party.

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  40. Thank you for sharing this on Traffic Jam Weekend! It has been chosen as a fave feature for this week's party that goes live on Thursday at 5:00 pm CST.

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  41. Aww, I like the story of little girl you and the others rolling the round “soup balls” and I like what they symbolize!

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  42. The fish are so cute. Well they all are, but that's the one I would choose.

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