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Holiday Jiandui

Jiandui has a long history as a traditional food for holidays. In the historical book "New Remarks on Guangzhou", Jiandui is described as a typical Guangzhou pastry made from glutinous rice flour; the pastry is coated with sesame seeds on the outside and is fried in oil; it is used in sacrificial ceremonies for ancestors and presented to relatives and friends as a gift. A poem from the Qing Dynasty describes maids carried Jiandui in gilded red boxes to their masters' relatives and friends, indicating that the practice of presenting Jiandui as a gift as a centuries-old custom.

Tere are two types of Jiandui – Jiujiang Jiandui and Longjiang Jiandui. Jiandui comes with three different coatings – hard, soft, and crispy. These coatings are largely made from the same materials, mainly glutinous rice flour, popcorn and sugar. Jiujiang Jiandui is typically filled with popcorn, sugar, peanut kernels, shredded white gourd, and sugared mandarin, while Longjiang Jiandui is generally filed with popcorn, brown slab sugar, and malt sugar. Both types of Jiandui are coated with sesames. Among the ingredients for Jiandui, peanut kernels symbolizes fertility and prosperity, the shredded white gourd and sugared mandarin are both preserved fruits that represent a sweet life, the popcorn stands for blooming fortune, and the sesames stand for a happy family with many children.

The two types of Jiandui are made with different techniques and have different shapes. Jiujiang Jiandui is oval, while Longjiang Jiandui is round, both representing a happy reunion after migration.

Jiandui is said to have its roots in central China. Legend has it that in ancient times, people in central China presented a tribute called "the immortal fruit" to the Jade Emperor during sacrificial ceremonies. The "fruit" was later brought to southern China by migrants from central China. The migrants believed that the "fruit" could rid them of bad luck and bring them fortune and happiness; they had the "fruit" to ease their homesickness. Today, Jianhui is immensely popular among Guangzhou residents.

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