No Dragon Boat Festival celebration in Hong Kong is complete without rice dumplings. The festive staple is a dish made of glutinous rice and stuffed with different fillings wrapped in bamboo leaves. You can’t miss this delightful dish because of its eye-catching triangle shape. While it can be eaten anytime, it’s best enjoyed during Dragon Boat Festival. See our top picks of the best rice dumplings to feast on!
Dragon Boat Festival is one of the most celebrated festivals in Hong Kong. It is held yearly on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month to commemorate the passing of Chinese poet Qu Yuan. Legend has it that he drowned in the Mi Lo River after a corrupt king exiled him from his state. In order to rescue his body, villagers went out with boats and drums and threw sticky rice dumplings into the water to prevent fish from eating his corpse. This is how rice dumplings became a popular dish during the annual festival.
Unsurprisingly, numerous restaurants like Ming Court and Man Ho prepare their own take on the traditional delicacy. Whether it’s the classic salted egg or sweet contemporary creations, there are plenty of options to choose from. Make sure to purchase early because they get sold fast!
So, prepare to savour these delicious rice dumplings during Dragon Boat Festival.
Where to get the best rice dumplings in Hong Kong
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The Legacy House joins in the celebration with its traditional rice dumplings crafted by Chinese executive chef Li Chi-wai. The glutinous rice is stuffed with whole chestnut, lotus seed, pork meat, abalone, mung bean, mushroom, spices, and dried scallops for the Steamed Sweet Rice Dumpling with Chestnut. The other savoury variety, Steamed Rice Dumpling with Abalone, Pork and Mushroom, is filled with “Eight Treasures” (symbol of good fortune) ingredients such as six-headed South African abalone, pork belly, chestnut, lotus seed, conpoy, and more. Prepared fresh daily, both dumplings are wrapped in dried bamboo leaves and then slow-boiled for seven hours.
Yue at Sheraton Hong Kong Tung Chung Hotel unveils three varieties of homemade savoury and sweet rice dumplings for the Dragon Boat Festival. The Sweetened Red Bean and Aged Tangerine Peel Rice Dumpling is filled with 20-year dried tangerine peel and creamy sweet red bean paste. Meanwhile, the Whole Conpoy and Pork Belly Rice Dumpling is a luxurious twist on the traditional dumpling. As the name suggests, it is filled with whole conpoy and succulent pork belly. Finally, the Abalone Rice Dumpling has whole abalone, mushrooms, and salted egg yolk, complemented by roasted pork belly and conpoy.
Man Ho Chinese Restaurant at JW Marriott Hotel Hong Kong is bringing back two popular flavours and introducing a new one during this Dragon Boat Festival. The Dried Abalone Glutinous Rice Dumpling showcases the commitment of executive Chinese chef Jayson Tang when it comes to picking the finest ingredients. The dumpling is wrapped in aromatic bamboo leaves and filled with South African dried abalone, conpoy, and shiitake mushroom from Japan, among many others. In addition, it comes with a made-in-Hong Kong and preservative-free Yuan’s soy sauce for extra umami.
The Red Bean and Pork Glutinous Rice Dumpling blends sweet and savoury flavours, courtesy of the supreme Japanese red beans blended with pork belly, seasoned with Yuan’s soy sauce. Guests looking for a unique indulgence should try the newly introduced Hokkien Glutinous Rice Dumplings, which pay homage to the indigenous Fujian Bak Chang recipe. The rice is stir-fried with dark soy sauce, five-spice powder, and shallot oil, then filled with shiitake mushroom, chestnut, minced dried shrimp, and tender pork belly.
Drum up the festive spirit with a delectable range of sticky rice dumplings, curated by executive Chinese chef, Leung Yu-king of Michelin-starred Summer Palace. The Premium Sticky Rice Dumpling is an “East meets West” creation, complete with signature abalone sauce and in-house X.O. sauce. The mini-rice gift set includes two popular flavours of abalone, conpoy, and organic pork belly as well as 60-year dried tangerine peel and red beans. Both these flavours are available in regular sizes.
Grand Hyatt Hong Kong’s executive Chinese chef Chan Hon Cheong has created two gourmet rice dumplings, presented in an elegant new gift box for Dragon Boat Festival. While it may sound simple, the Abalone, Yunnan Ham, and Conpoy Dumpling is a traditional and fine version of the festive treat. It is filled with a range of savoury ingredients like abalone, conpoy, egg yolk, and Yunnan ham, wrapped in bamboo leaves. Those looking for a healthier version can opt for the sweet Five Grains, Tangerine Peel, and Red Bean Dumpling. If you have a penchant for both sweet and savoury, why not get the combo set instead? You can also pair it with the signature One Harbour Road X.O. sauce!
Lung King Heen at Four Seasons Hong Kong is celebrating the centuries-old festival with not just the perennial favourite but is also introducing two new flavours. The Glutinous Rice Dumpling with Osmanthus and Green Bean Paste is a twist to the traditional recipe that uses red bean paste. The drizzling osmanthus honey adds extra depth to the flavour, making it almost like a dessert. The other new flavour is the savoury Glutinous Rice Dumpling with Pork Knuckle, Conpoy, Sarcodon Aspratus, and Spicy Termite Mushroom. The team swaps protein from traditional pork belly with the restaurant’s flavourful pork knuckle in sand ginger sauce. The fan-favourite, Organic Glutinous Grain Rice Dumpling with Abalone and Conpoy returns this year due to popular demand. The dumpling is prepared with two pieces of South African abalone and roast goose in addition to pork, Chinese mushroom, and salted egg yolk.
Executive chef Li Yuet Faat and his team at Ming Court elevate the classic festive dumplings by incorporating exquisite ingredients. Using whole twelve-head South African abalone and Japanese conpoy, the result is a tempting Glutinous Rice Dumpling with Whole Abalone, Conpoy, Roasted Duck Meat, Jinhua Ham, Salted Egg Yolk and Shiitake Mushroom. A special dumpling with DoYouBo Sauce from Taiwan is also available. The team is also crafting the Black Glutinous Rice Dumpling with aged, dried tangerine peel, red bean paste, and lotus seed set. It includes two pieces of premium tangerine peel up’er tea, which absorbs the fruity aroma of the tangerine peel. Pair the rice dumplings with Homemade Ming Court X.O. Sauce or enjoy the crunchy Homemade Caramelised Walnuts for extra sweetness. You can also opt for the signature Supreme Barbecued Pork Loin Gift Box.
This Dragon Boat Festival, The Peninsula Hong Kong’s Spring Moon is offering four different rice dumplings for the holiday. The Premium Glutinous Rice Dumpling uses Spring Moon’s hallmark technique of pre-seasoning the glutinous rice with balance sauce for a richer flavour. Then, Chinese Cuisine executive chef Lam Yuk Ming adds a combination of diced abalone, 30-head dried Middle Eastern abalone, dried scallops, and Jinhua Ham. Meanwhile, the Deluxe Glutinous Rice Dumpling has a filling of rosé wine marinated Hungarian pork. The Golden Twins Glutinous Rice Dumplings come in a set, one being the Lotus Seed Paste Dumpling which has a creamy, sweet filling and the other is the fruity and fragrant Red Date Paste and Lychee Dumpling.
Chilli Fagara’s offering for Dragon Boat Festival is a spice-infused rice dumpling with a ma la tang (numbing and spicy soup) twist. Chef Chan takes inspiration from her hometown, Chongqing, to transform the classic sticky rice dumpling into an elaborate Sichuan-style treat. The spice-infused creation stays true to tradition with salted egg yolk, Sichuan cured meat, pork and mixed beans wrapped in a bamboo leaf. If you still need an extra kick, you can try the handmade Ma or La Chilli Sauces.