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Chinese Jiaozi

Jiaozi, or Chinese dumpling, was once one of the most popular foods in northern China in ancient times. Today, it is still served in many Chinese restaurants and frequently on the common people's tables as a traditional food.

Jiaozi, whose shape looks like a horn, was called 'Jiao" (lit. "horn"). It was also called "bianshi" (lit. "flat food") due to its flat shape. The name "jiaozi" derives flora the ancient time-counting method in China. When the Chinese people eat dumplings stuffed with meat and vegetables at the junction of the end of the old year and the beginning of the New Year, it is right between eleven pm and one am. Since this period is called "交子" (pinyin: jiaozi)  in Chinese, the dumplings people eat during this time are named after it. Later it became "饺子" (the same pronunciation with "交子"), with a radical added to the left part of the original Chinese character indicating it is a kind of food. As early as the Han dynasty (206 BC-220 AD) eating dumplings became a custom in the capital city of Chang'an (day's Xi'an).

It is believed that eating dumplings on New Year's Eve brings good luck and happiness. Furthermore, since the shape of dumplings is similar to that of ancient Chinese gold or silver ingots, they are also believed to bring wealth if you have them that eve. Later, when people got married or gave birth to a child, they usually treated their guests with jiaozi, which gradually become an essential ritual food for special occasions or during holidays in northern China. The Chinese dumpling consists of a wrapper and its fillings. There are two main kinds of dumplings: those with vegetable and those with meat filling. The latter include chicken, pork, beef and mutton, etc; whereas the former are Chinese cabbage, celery, Chinese leek, carrot and cucumber, etc. Seafood such as crab, shrimp and fish can also be used as fillings.

A better way to know more facts about Chinese jiaozi, you'd better to visit the families who live in the Beijing Hutongs (the anceint alleyways), where you can learn how to make authentic jiaozi with the locals. Also you can enjoy the most delicious and beautiful jiaozi in the dumpling banquet (jiaozi banquet)in Xian.

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