By Esther Louie
The joong were made once during the year and as a kid, I would always look forward to this annual celebration. My mom and dad would start the preparations at least weeks ahead, gathering all the ingredients, bringing the duck eggs, and salting the pork belly. They would make dozens and dozens of joong or "Chinese tamales". And finally, the fifth day of the fifth lunar month would be the special day, now more popularly know as the dragon boat festival day. My mom celebrated the Qu Yuan (340-278 BC) a patriotic poet who was exiled in ancient China. The story she told of him drowning himself on the 5th day of the 5th Chinese lunar month, and making these joong wrapped in bamboo leaves were floated on the river to help feed him and to honor him. My folks would make many joong for our family and enough to give away to my grandfather, uncles and others as we made our round of visits to family and friends. I always thought my mom's was the best tasting and the biggest joongs!
I finally decided to make them myself and found many available recipes - many mirroring those of my mom's, and many with variations of the ingredients. I found out that the Toisan style which was ubiquitous in San Francisco's Chinatown made sense as many of the immigrants were from that part of China in those early years.
P.S. This year's Dragon Boat Festival date is: June 25, 2020; China 's official holiday dates, June 25-27
And this is the full recipe for how I plan to use the salted duck eggs: