Yu Ming (1st L), the Chinese owner of bubble tea shop See You hands out free Zongzi and meals to people in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, June 14, 2021. (Photo by Sovannara/Xinhua)
by Mao Pengfei, Nguon Sovan
PHNOM PENH, June 14 (Xinhua) -- Cambodian ride-hailing driver Khin Sopheap unexpectedly enjoyed the taste of Zongzi on Monday while driving past a Chinese eatery when its staffers were offering the snack together with lunch meals to passers-by for free to celebrate the Dragon Boat Festival.
Zongzi, a glutinous rice dumpling wrapped up with bamboo or reed leaves, is a traditional delicacy that Chinese people eat on the day of the Dragon Boat Festival, which fell on Monday, June 14 this year.
In China, Zongzi commemorates the death of famous Chinese poet Qu Yuan during the Warring States Period (475-221 B.C.).
Sopheap tasted a few pieces of Zongzi and extolled its flavor.
"It's really delicious and I like it," he told Xinhua after eating the snack. "I'm really pleased to learn about Chinese culture and traditions."
The father of four children said that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, his family has struggled with financial difficulties as his daily revenue has declined remarkably.
"Before the COVID-19, I made 40,000 riels (10 U.S. dollars) to 50,000 riels (12.5 dollars) a day, but now there's no revenue because of no customers and someday, earn only 10,000 riels (2.5 U.S. dollars)," he said.
"The sharing (of food) from Chinese people to needy Cambodians during the COVID-19 is very important and it reflects good relations between our two peoples who always give mutual help during difficult times," he added.
Motor-taxi driver Suon Soklong, 61, offered his gratitude to China for helping Cambodia and its people during this difficult time.
"Thank you China and the Chinese people for supporting our socio-economic development and helping us to fight COVID-19 by providing medical equipment and supplies and medical experts as well as donating and selling COVID-19 vaccines," he said. "Ironclad friendship between Cambodia and China will last forever."
Yu Ming, the Chinese owner of See You, a bubble tea shop that provides Zongzi and meals for free, said he has given out free meals, including fried rice and sweet lemon iced tea, daily to 50 needy people since early May, and as June 14 marked the Dragon Boat Festival in China, he decided to add five pieces of Zongzi to each of the food packages.
"I share Zongzi with them because today marks the Dragon Boat Festival in China, and I want them to experience the taste of Zongzi and to know about Chinese culture and traditions," he told Xinhua. "As poor people have been hit hard by the COVID-19, I hope that my free meals will help relieve their hardship." Enditem