Year of the Takeout Day 194: Are These Chinese Tamales?


Zongzi, AKA Bamboo-Wrapped Rice Dumplings, from Kind Woman at Corner of Grand and Christie Streets

Are these Chinese tamales?

Well, kind of.

Zongzi is the word for these bamboo leaf-wrapped sticky rice dumplings.

No, there’s no sweet, starchy maize masa — as with a tamal — but the small, moist grains cradle a filling of your choice, just like the Mesoamerican fav.

The woman suggested the Taiwanese variety, which features smoky pork, soft peanuts, and what tastes like Chinese sausage and shrimp, all tucked within the $1.50 snack.

Yes, these zongzi might be some of the simplest of street foods in New York, but they’re also some of the best — delectable, dense balls of carb-wrapped meat.


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