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(八宝饭bābăofàn) Eight-Treasure Rice is a traditional dessert served during Chinese New Year celebrations and festival banquets. The dessert is a mound of sticky rice bejeweled with eight kinds of dried fruits and filled with red bean paste. The dish supposedly originated when a Chinese king was overthrown. Eight knights were commended for their bravery in battle, and a chef created a rice dessert with eight “treasures,” or fruits, honoring each of the heroes. The number eight is a magic number for Chinese people because, in Chinese, the number eight sounds like another Chinese word “fa 发”, which means ‘rich’ or ‘to thrive in business’. Because this dessert is really colorful and pretty, it also represents luck and sweetness for the New Year. We keep the main ingredients of sticky rice, red bean paste, Chinese therapeutic fruit longan and Chinese jujube in the recipe, add black rice to increase its healthiness, and adjust the eight dried fruits or nuts based on local resources. We hope this festival rice dessert will add a sweet finish to your family’s meals, and bring you lucky and happiness.

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