Zhong Zi

Todd Coleman

My fondest memory of growing up in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou is of eating zhong zi, a steamed dumpling of sticky rice stuffed with various fillings and wrapped inside a bamboo leaf. Mom always gave me money to buy breakfast on the way to school. I would race down to the market and follow the aroma of steaming rice until I got to the cart selling zhong zi. As I made my way to school, I would tear into the pyramid-shaped bundle and chew past the warm rice to the creamy yellow mung bean paste filling. Finally, I'd reach the tender slice of savory pork belly in the middle. This daily ritual made going to school a joy. Now every time I come across zhong zi at an Asian market here in America, I feel that same happiness. —Kelly Yeh-Behrend, Cincinnati, Ohio