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Trying to find the best ready-made Chinese 'zongzi' (粽子) to take home... Where to go buy?

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Trying to find the best ready-made Chinese 'zongzi' (粽子) to take home... Where to go buy?

J.L. | Jul 8, 2011 11:50 PM

I must admit, I had trepidations about starting this thread so soon after the recent ruinous "XLB vs. soup dumpling" war, for fears it might incite another Chinese food nomenclature battle...

But after I bought a really awful batch of Chinese zongzi (粽子) yesterday, I said to myself, "Screw it, I needs to ask my fellow Hounds." So here goes:

For the uninitiated, a bit of background info: Zongzi (the Wikipedia-designated term for this food item, for lack of a better vernacular phrase in common usage) are yummy clumps (or pseudo-balls) of packed steamed glutinous rice, either savory or sweet fillings & ingredients (salted pork, peanuts, or sweet red bean paste, for example), wrapped on the outside by bamboo or reed leaves. They are commonly sold, ready-made, at many various outlets in the San Gabriel Valley. They heat up quickly and can be enjoyed after the unwrapping of the leaves, thereby exposing the delicious core.

For years, I've been buying my zongzi mostly from the 99 Ranch Market's ready-made food section. It was always decent in authenticity & taste, but never spectacular. However, I never questioned it, instead thinking myself so blessed to even find this stuff in America for sale. Yesterday, I made my usual purchase of a bag of 3 zongzi, brought it home, heated one up, unwrapped it, and...

It sucked. I mean it was truly, truly terrible. The rice lacked any taste at all, the ingredients were unchopped, and the whole darn thing was essentially flavorless.

I could only surmise that this means the production of these zongzi has been outsourced by 99 Ranch Market to, well, not China, that's for sure (since it'd be much tastier if that was the case).

Bottom line: I need a new place to procure my ready-made zongzi to-go. Tasty, well-made ones (savory and sweet), please. I've had some success with the zongzi to-go at SinBaLa in the past. Any other places worth trying?

As always, Thanks in advance!

J.L.

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