Information of “Qingtuan”
Date: 2019-04-09

Qingming Festival, also known as “Spring Outing Day”, which always comes in the first week in April of Chinese lunar calendar, has a history of over 2,500 years and is a very significant traditional festival in China. Apart from the traditional customs such as fire ban and tomb-sweeping that we are familiar with, there are also outings, swinging, playing polo, etc. People living in the giant pandas’ hometown have a tradition of eating “Qingtuan” (“Sweet Green Rice Ball”) during Qingming Festival. The method of making “Qingtuan” is to chop up the freshly harvested cudweed, mix with glutinous rice flour and wheat flour in a certain proportion, knead and make a shape, at last put it in a steamer.


Traditional Qingming Dish: “Sweet Green Rice Ball”


Different Names in Different Areas


So, are the name and shape of the food reminding you of anything? If you do not get the idea, you can find the answer in the picture below. If you already have a answer, you can see if you are right.



Ha-ha, now you must have seen the highlights in the picture! The traditional food “Qingtuan” that we ate at the Qingming Festival is not only similar to the giant panda’s feces in appearance, but also has the same name! Therefore, it is one of the important reasons why panda fans love to refer to such traditional food as “Sweet Green Rice Ball” rather than “Qingtuan”.


The Live Show of “Qingtuan Making”


Take a close look at the giant panda's “Qingtuan” (feces). It’s green or yellow in an ellipsoidal shape, and its bamboo splinter remains almost unchanged in appearance, so it is easy to figure out what kind of food the giant panda eats. This indicates giant pandas’ digestive ability is extremely poor. The reason is that the giant pandas have long depended on consuming bamboos, but their digestive tract cannot digest cellulose. So they break bamboo cells by chewing to absorb some inner nutrients and digest a small amount of hemicellulose. In addition, giant pandas have much shorter intestines than other herbivores, so they don’t have enough time to thoroughly digest the food. In short, it is caused by the poor digestive capacity of their intestines.


Now, we have to admit that giant pandas are skillful masters of “making Qingtuan”. First of all, from the aspect of output, an adult giant panda can “make” 10-20kg “Qingtuan” every day. Secondly, from the aspect of raw materials, the Qingtuan consists of at least three raw materials, namely, bamboo stems, bamboo leaves and bamboo shoots. The form is absolute diversified.


Left: The “Qingtuan” Discharged after Eating Bamboo Stems
Right: The “Qingtuan” Discharged after Eating Bamboo Leaves


The “Qingtuan” Discharged after Eating Bamboo Shoots


Maybe some people will inevitably feel uncomfortable or repulsive to “Qingtuan” now. However, the truth is that the “Qingtuan” produced by giant pandas is not the same thing as the traditional dish “Qingtuan”. Besides, Giant pandas mostly keep a bamboo diet, so their feces are not stinky at all, and sometimes even accompanied by bamboo fragrance.


The topic of the “Qingtuan” ends here. Do you have an eye-opening feeling? When people mention the word “Qingtuan” next time, which “Qingtuan” will appear in your mind.





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