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Tang Yuan is known as Yuan Xiao in northern China and known as Tang Yuan or Tang Tuan in southern China. Two major dialects of far Southern China are Hakka and Cantonese, and they pronounced Tang Yuan as Tong Rhen and Tong Yun respectively. The flavor and the way the Tang Yuan is prepared is different between northern and southern China. The northern Chinese prefer salty fillings for their Tang Yuan, minced meat and vegetables are usually used for the fillings, and it is served in a clear broth. Whereas, the southern Chinese prefer sweet fillings like sugar, sesame and sweet bean paste, it is served in ginger infused syrup. The northern Chinese make their Tang Yuan by pinching the fillings into even paste, then place them in glutinous rice flour, and sprinkle water continuously on the rice flour until round shapes are formed. However, the southern Chinese will mix the glutinous rice flour with water first until it turns into dough, and then pinch some to wrap the filling and mold them into round balls.
Tang Yuan with sweet fillings are the common type in Malaysia, the usual fillings are black sesame, red bean and peanut, but the modern Tang Yuan also have other flavours such as chocolate and pumpkin. The traditional Tang Yuan is white in colour, but colourful ones are available these days, they are usually served in pandan and ginger infused syrup. People usually prefer to make Tang Yuan from scratch but the readily made Tang Yuan are also available in supermarkets, you just need to boil it and serve.