Nine Traditional Delicacies for Dragon Boat Festival

Dragon Boat Festival or Duanwu Festival (the fifth day of the fifth Chinese Lunar month), which dates back to the Spring and Autumn and Warring States Period (770 - 221 BC), is a traditional Chinese festival with a history of more than 2,000 years. The festival is usually celebrated in June of solar calendar. What do Chinese people eat for Dragon Boat Festival? Following are top nine traditional delicacies for Dragon Boat Festival.


In China, the most important tradition of Dragon Boat Festival is to eat Zongzi, a kind of pyramid shaped sticky rice dumpling wrapped with reed leaves. This tradition actually originated from fishermen along the Miluo River -- they put rice into the river to propitiate the dragon, hoping that it would not hurt the body of patriotic poet Qu Yuan. Generally speaking, sweet Zongzi stuffed with red bean paste or dates is popular in North China, while salty Zongzi stuffed with egg yolk, pork or mushrooms is favored in South China.

Realgar Wine

Realgar Wine is a Chinese alcoholic beverage made from fermented rice and mixed with realgar. An old Chinese saying goes that, "drinking realgar wine can drive away diseases and evil spirits." Ancient Chinese people believed that realgar was an effective antidote which could kill insects and drive evil spirits.

Egg Steamed with Tea or Salt

In Nanchang, Jiangxi Province, Egg Steamed with Tea or salt is a traditional food for Dragon Boat Festival. The eggs are painted red and packed in colorful net bags for children to hang around their neck, as a good wish for blessings and safety.

Glutinous Rice Cake

Glutinous Rice Cake, Dagao in Chinese, is a traditional Dragon Boat Festival food for the Korean nationality, particularly those living in Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture in Northeast China. To make Dagao, sweet wormwood and glutinous rice are put in a big wooden groove and hammered repeatedly. This kind of food is more ethnic and adds to the festival atmosphere. Dagao is usually served with honey or sugar and tastes quite delicious and chewy.

Rice Eel

In central China's Hubei Province, a strong tradition is eating rice eel at Dragon Boat Festival. Rice eel, also swamp eel or ricefield eel, is a fleshy, tender and nutritious food which tastes good and has health functions, especially around the Dragon Boat Festival. Therefore, it is a popular belief that "eels at Dragon Boat Festival can rival ginseng" in the folk. 


Eating Jiandui is a tradition for Dragon Boat Festival in East China's Fujian Province. Jiandui is a sort of fried cake made of flour and rice flour with sweeteners. It is said that southern Fujian was in rainy season around the Dragon Boat Festival in ancient times, during which it rained without stop as if there were holes in the sky. Local people believed that the holes were to be filled by eating Jiandui, thus the custom. 

Egg with Garlic

Egg with Garlic prevails at Dragon Boat Festival in the rural areas of Henan Province in Central China and Zhejiang Province in East China. On this day, housewives would get up very early to cook the prepared garlic and eggs together as family breakfast. In some places, sweet wormwood leaves would be added to the eggs with garlic. It is believed that taking garlic, eggs and baked buns as the breakfast can drive away "five poisonous creatures" and benefits the health.

Thin Pancake

People in Wenzhou, a city in East China, would eat thin pancakes at Dragon Boat Festival. The thin pancake, with white wheat flour as its ingredient, is usually fried in a pan and rolled up with bean sprouts, leek, shredded meat and mushrooms before served.


Sanzi, a kind of fan-shaped wheat food, is a very popular festival food in Gansu Province in Northwest China. This fan-shaped food has five peppered layers. It is said that this custom originated from the ancient tradition of making and selling fans at Dragon Boat Festival.

Chinese Calendar

26十九/19 27二十/20 28廿壹/21 29廿二/22 30廿三/23 31廿四/24 1廿五/25
2廿六/26 3廿七/27 4廿八/28 5廿九/29 五月 (May) 6初壹/1 7初二/2 8初三/3
9初四/4 10初五/5 11初六/6 12初七/7 13初八/8 14初九/9 15初十/10
16十壹/11 17十二/12 18十三/13 19十四/14 20十五/15 21十六/16 22十七/17
23十八/18 24十九/19 25二十/20 26廿壹/21 27廿二/22 28廿三/23 29廿四/24
30廿五/25 1廿六/26 2廿七/27 3廿八/28 4廿九/29 5三十/30 六月 (Jun) 6初壹/1