The Cantonese tong yun is one of my favorite comfort foods of all time. It was historically eaten on the first full moon of the lunar new year. My family makes it on the major Chinese festivals/holidays – in particular Mid-Autumn festival, as well as pretty much any day during Chinese new year. My dad has also extended it to American holidays like Thanksgiving and new year’s eve.
My mom says the word tong yun is a homonym for another word that means “complete.” She says that making and eating tong yun symbolizes peace and harmony within the family group. I don’t know if this is true or not, as I haven’t heard of anyone else say anything like it. But it’s a nice image, no?