Baozi also known as steamed buns or filled buns are a filled Chinese buns either steamed or pan-fried. Baozi has various types in different Chinese cuisine. Both vegetarian and meat fillings are used. People in some area of China also call baozi as mantou.
This is an overview introduction about Chinese baozi by Elaine with the hope of understanding Chinese Baozi culture.
In northern part, baozi is considered as one of the staple food just the same as mantou. However in western and southern part of China, baozi is commonly served as breakfast or as dim sum.
Let’s begin with the top representatives of Chinese baozi culture.
1. Shanghai representative—Xiaolongbao(小笼包); Shanghai Baozi (known as steamed small meat dumpling in basket).
If you ever visited Shanghai, what would be the impression of the city of Shanghai?
For me, I consider shanghai as a delicate city. So the little shanghao baozi were born. The skin or wrapper of the shanghai baozi is really thin and also transparent.
When eating the Xiaolongbao, suck up the sauce before eating the filling and skin. In this step, small tips are needed.
The features of Shanghai Xiaolongbao: thin skin, large amount of meat filling.
Another shanghai representative is pan-fried baozi(生煎包)
Pan-fried baozi is quite popular in shanghai and Zhejiang province of China. The crispy taste, savory meat and rich sauce make it as one of the most popular snacks around the entire country. The baozi is pan-fried until the bottom is golden brown and crispy. Then roasted or stir-fried sesame seeds and chopped spring onions are garnished on top. One bite is so satisfying.
2. Representative from Guangdong—Cha Siu Bao
If you love Chinese Guangdong cuisine, you may heard of cha sui. Cha siu bao uses cha sui meat as filling. And it is also known as barbecued pork buns or cha siu baau.
The taste of cha sui baozi is different from the common baozi from the northern part of China. The thick skin has bread like taste with salty yet sweet filling. But cha siu bao is an important of Dim sum from Guangdong cuisine.
From the shape, it looks like a cracked steamed bun. But cracked shape help to emit the smell of the cha sui meat.
3. Representative from Tianjing—Goubuli baozi
Goubuli baozi is a famous brand of Baozi Company located in the city of Tianjin. There is a saying that if you never eating doubuli baozi, you should never say you visited Tianjin. Goubuli is considered as the top three foods of Tianjin.
With more than 150 years of history, Goubuli baozi has its unique ways in making filling, roll wrapper and folding methods. It is said that each Goubuli baozi has 18 wrinkles.
The Chinese name is really interesting Gou means dog, bu means no and buli means ignores. So the name means dog will ignore the baozi?
I would like to introduce the story behind.
Back to over 100 years ago, there was a child who worked in the baozi shop in Tianjin. The shop mainly sold steamed food and baozi to the boatman and small traders. The talented boy was given a nick name by his parents “Gouzi” means dog when he was still young.
Two years after working in the shop, he opened a new baozi shop with the money earned and thus the steamed buns. He was too busy to chat with customers and additionally he was a kind of eccentric. So the customers thought the boss “Gouzi” just ignored his customer. So here comes the name “Goubuli”.
4. Representative from Sichuan—Chengdu pork baozi
Chengdu pork baozi is featured by its unique filling. Fresh pork meat with fat are minced and then mixed with deep-fried pork cubes. Then sichuan peppercorn, ginger sauce, chicken stock and cooking wine are used to flavor the meat filling.
Besides the local representatives from different areas, there are also some featured types of baozi which is really trying.
Soup dumplings (灌汤包) also known as Tang Bao
In Xi’an City, there is a restaurant named as JiangSan Tang Bao selling the soup dumplings.
smashed bean bun (豆沙包) for example red bean bun: Bean bun usually has a sweet taste.
Sugar Baozi (糖包子) use pure sugar as the filling.
Tofu Baozi for veggie