WBEZ | qingming http://www.wbez.org/tags/qingming Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Life, death, and dumplings http://www.wbez.org/blogs/louisa-chu/2013-04/life-death-and-dumplings-106530 <p><p style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/louisachu/8627974560/"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/qingtuanxihand.jpg" style="width: 620px;" title="Qing tuanzi: wild grass, glutinous rice, and red bean dumplings for Qingming Festival in Shanghai, China (WBEZ/Louisa Chu)" /></a></p><p>Like billions of Chinese worldwide this weekend, I&#39;d hoped to observe <em>Ching Ming</em> (Cantonese), or <em>Qingming</em> (Mandarin), to pay my respects to ancestors by visiting gravesites with family for a bit of spring cleaning, as well as leave offerings of food and drink.</p><p>But with the current bird flu scare, travel is noticeably down, while authorities destroyed more than 20,000 birds in live markets, though <u><a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/louisa-chu/2013-04/chinas-poultry-passion-persists-despite-bird-flu-blues-106432">poultry is still being eaten</a>.</u></p><p>In Chicagoland, most locals now celebrate the holiday in the Chinese section at Mt. Auburn cemetery in southwest suburban Stickney, as I mentioned last year.</p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/louisachu/8607880503/"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/shanghaixiaolongbao.jpg" style="width: 620px;" title="Xiaolongbao with black vinegar and ginger in Shanghai, China (WBEZ/Louisa Chu)" /></a></div><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><p style="text-align: left;"><span style="text-align: left;">I was just leaving Shanghai, my father&#39;s hometown, not that it mattered. My grandparents were once buried in one of the cemeteries that no longer exists, dug up during the Cultural Revolution, now developed into modern high-rises. My uncle&#39;s ashes were buried at sea, which is increasingly preferred.</span></p><p style="text-align: left;">One consolation: I told my dad I was bringing home not only&nbsp;<em>qing tuanzi</em>, but from Godly. The vegetarian restaurant open since 1922 and recognized for its intangible cultural heritage in China, was once a favorite of his mother, the grandmother I never knew.</p><p style="text-align: left;">My dad said, &quot;What are&nbsp;<em>qing tuanzi</em>?&quot;</p><p><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/louisachu/8627974560/" style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/qingtuanxipackage.jpg" style="height: 414px; width: 620px;" title="Qing tuanzi: wild grass, glutinous rice, and red bean dumplings for Qingming Festival in Shanghai, China (WBEZ/Louisa Chu)" /></a></p></div><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: left;"><em>Qing tuanzi</em> are distinctively bright spring green glutinous rice dumplings filled with sweet red bean paste. Their color comes from wild mugwort juice. They&#39;re now found throughout Shanghai, but are a specialty of&nbsp;Suzhou, about 60 miles west of Shanghai, an hour and 30 minutes drive or only an hour by high speed bullet train.</div><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/louisachu/8607912649/"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/shanghaifacetime.jpg" style="width: 620px;" title="FaceTime over tea, mangosteens, and mandarines in Shanghai, China (WBEZ/Louisa Chu)" /></a></div><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: left;">Clearly they&#39;re not nearly as famous as&nbsp;<em>xiaolongbao</em>, Shanghai&#39;s iconic soup dumplings. The green dumplings may look like mochi but my first bite revealed something completely different. They&#39;re firmer in texture, with a tart almost effervescent flavor, like the white<em> nian gao</em> (steamed sweet sticky rice cake) that my maternal grandmother used to make.</div><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: left;">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: left;">You can actually <a href="http://item.jd.com/1016996018.html"><u>order <em>qing tuanzi</em> by Godly </u></a>online. I&#39;m not sure about the shipping, but in our world, old meets new and it seems anything is possible.</div><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: left;">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: left;"><a href="https://twitter.com/louisachu"><u><em>Follow Louisa Chu on Twitter.</em></u></a></div><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/louisachu/8627964264/"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/qingtuanxiinterior.jpg" style="width: 620px;" title="Qing tuanzi: wild grass, glutinous rice, and red bean dumplings for Qingming Festival in Shanghai, China (WBEZ/Louisa Chu)" /></a></div></div></div></div></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Mon, 08 Apr 2013 05:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/louisa-chu/2013-04/life-death-and-dumplings-106530