It’s hard to miss Guo Zongzi 郭家肉粽 with their big giant wooden basket, overflowing with zongzi, solidly sitting above the store.
Zongzi is commonly translated as sticky/glutinous rice dumpling, or as biàn dāng calls it on its menu, Chinese tamale. As I mentioned in a recent post, It’s the food item traditionally associated with the Dragon Boat Festival, in June, but this doesn’t mean you can’t have it during the rest of the year.
Open as early as 7am, I improvised a visit there on a bright Saturday morning, last October, cycling by the giant rubber duck on my way to breakfast. It was sunny, the air was brisk, the roads of the usually crowded Yancheng 鹽埕 district were still pleasantly calm, so I whizzed through to my destination. Quite an invigorating way to start the day.
The menu has only seven items: four types of soup, two kinds of zongzi 粽子(meat and vegetarian) and rice cake bowl 碗糕. And whatever they do, they must be doing it good since the shop has been going for over 60 years already, currently under the helm of the second generation.
Not my typical breakfast, but I got a meat zongzi 肉粽, a rice cake bowl 碗糕, a pork knuckle soup 豬腳湯, and a bottle of Coca-Cola courtesy of the 雄好呷 book. Small portions yet substantial enough to not leave hungry. Before diving in my zongzi, I drizzled a few spoonfuls of raw ground garlic on it, like I said, this isn’t my typical breakfast.
From what I remember, the glutinous rice of the zongzi was nicely seasoned and cooked just right, with a bite to it and not mushy. The meat filling was tender, and also well seasoned. I had not eaten zongzi in a long time, and this one totally hit the spot. The pork knuckle soup was good, though a bit of chewing exercise was in order, to get the meat or skin off the bones. The rice cake bowl did not leave any lasting memories, after all, I was focused on the zongzi, but I’m sure I added yet another few spoonfuls of raw grounded garlic to satisfy my raw-garlic-converted taste buds.
I recently went there again on a busy afternoon, just to snack on a zongzi. It was as good as I remembered it to be, though I wished that they would plate the zongzi to order, and not prepare a bunch of them ready to go, which tends to leave some zongzi lukewarm instead of piping hot. They do have a constant flow of customers, so I imagine no zongzi is ever left out long enough to be cold, but still, next time I see a line of already plated zongzi, I’ll be that annoying customer, and request a zongzi from the steamer.
The shop boasts a cool vintage mural inside, but I’ve always preferred the outside tables, to soak in the hustle and bustle of this lively historical neighborhood, and the usual beautiful weather gracing us.
According to my guide book, the shop sells about two thousands zongzi each day! I don’t know if they ever run out, so just in case, hurry, and come get yours .
Name: Guo Zongzi 郭家肉粽
Additional Reviews+Photos: pixnet/cheng0073
Address: No. 19, Běidǒu St, Yancheng District Kaohsiung City, 803 (高雄市鹽埕區北斗街19號）
Menu: Chinese, English with pictures menu on the wall
Business hours: 7:00-23:00, closed on Sundays