Tangtuan (rice glue ball) is a kind of traditional food in China. Originally named yuanxiao in the Sui Dynasty (581- 618 A.D.), it used to refer to the Lantern Festival, a day celebrated with rice glue balls. It now has a history of over 700 years. In old times, January 15th on Chinese lunar calendar is called the night of Lantern Festival. This food, much favored by people, was then spread to Ningbo. Through its continuous development and improvement, the unique flavor of Ningbo rice glue balls made of glutinous rice with lard stuffing has gradually come into being.

The Ningbo rice glue balls with lard stuffing are the most popular among all the rice glue balls. Textual research has it that it was originated in the Song and Yuan Dynasties and made of top grade local glutinous rice with tender, pure “white soft sugar”, black sesames and high quality lard stuffing. Featuring fragrance, sweetness, freshness, smoothness and glutinosity, the rice glue balls are pleasantly glutinous with lard fragrance, a truly fresh and delicious dessert enjoyed by people both home and abroad. According to folk custom, every household in Ningbo region will enjoy Ningbo rice glue balls for their breakfast on the New Year’s Day to express their wishes for happiness, reunion and good luck. Many overseas Chinese would too have a bowl of rice glue balls to release their homesickness. In 1982, the Ningbo rice glue balls became the first snack exported abroad from Zhejiang Province; while in 1997, it was selected as one of the “Famous Snacks in China”.

With its connotation of reunion and good luck, even the overseas Chinese, thinking of their relatives far away on festive days, will never forget to eat the lard “Tangtuan” on the Spring Festival, looking forward to reunion and delivering their homesickness.