With restaurant bookings down this year, hotels and restaurants are throwing themselves into pandemic-friendly ventures. And takeaway rice dumplings for Dragon Boat Festival is a winner. Foodies are embracing rice dumplings or zongzi as a COVID-friendly takeout option. And Taiwan''s high-end hotels have released very special zongzi for discerning diners to mark the holiday.

The scent of sesame oil fills the air. This delicious sticky rice is appetizing enough – but there’s more.

Whole abalone, dried scallops and char siu barbecued pork form the heart of this zongzi. Lotus seed paste and XO sauce are the cherry on the cake. It’s wrapped up in a traditional style and steamed in a bamboo basket. This is an ultra-luxury take on the Cantonese rice dumpling. Despite a hefty price tag, it sold out a month before Dragon Boat Festival.

This Taiwanese seafood zongzi is flying off the shelves too, with its delectable oyster filling. The products lean on sticky rice, salted duck eggs, and pork, which have all risen in price lately. That’s made zongzi more expensive, but demand is as strong as ever. Hotels say zongzi orders are higher now than in 2021.

Lin Kuo-wei

Hotel vice president

I think that at this time many people are going out for meals much less. So more folks are willing to increase the budget for zongzi this Dragon Boat Festival. So it’s actually thanks to the pandemic that zongzi sales are 30%-40% up this year compared to last year.

This hotel in Yunlin has launched three different sweet and savory zongzi flavors, in Hong Kong and Chaozhou styles. The treats are full of local Taiwan-grown ingredients. This year, the Dragon Boat Festival is meeting head on with a surge in the pandemic as well as inflation. But the festive market has all the right ingredients to thrive this summer.