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|Alternative names||Bao, humbow, pau|
|Type||Filled steamed bread|
|Place of origin||North China|
"Baozi" in Chinese characters
Baozi (Chinese: 包子), or bao, is a type of filled bun or bread-like (i.e. made with yeast) dumpling in various Chinese cuisines. There are many variations in fillings (meat or vegetarian) and preparations (usually steamed). In its bun-like aspect it is very similar to the traditional Chinese mantou.
Two types are found in most parts of China and Indonesia: Dàbāo (大包, "big bun"), measuring about 10 cm across, served individually, and usually purchased for take-away. The other type, Xiǎobāo (小包, "small bun"), measure approximately 5 cm wide, and are most commonly eaten in restaurants, but may also be purchased for take-away. Each order consists of a steamer containing between three and ten pieces. A small ceramic dish for dipping the baozi is provided for vinegar or soy sauce, both of which are available in bottles at the table, along with various types of chili and garlic pastes, oils or infusions, fresh coriander and leeks, sesame oil, and other flavorings. They are very popular in Chengdu, a western region in China.
History and etymology
Baozi is a variation of mantou — also said to have been invented by Zhuge Liang — but with fillings. Originally it was also called mantou, but by the Northern Song dynasty (960—1127 AD), bao or baozi was used for the buns with fillings, as recorded in books of the Song dynasty. Meanwhile, mantou remained the name of steamed buns without fillings, although the Wu Chinese languages continue to use mantou to refer to both.
|English name/ Pīnyīn||Chinese name
|Cha siu bao, Charsiu bau||叉燒包
caa1 siu1 baau1
|manapua||Filled with barbecue-flavoured char siu pork; typical of Cantonese cuisine (Guangdong province and Hong Kong)|
|a well known restaurant chain specializing in baozi considered characteristic of Tianjin, Northern China; Its name literally means, "Dog ignores it".|
|a small, meat-filled baozi from Shanghai Containing a juicy broth. Because it is succulent and prepared only with thin, partially leavened dough, it is sometimes considered different from other bao types, and more closely resembles a jiaozi (dumpling)|
|Very similar to xiaolongbao, but pan-fried instead of steamed.|
|A small, meat-filled, fried baozi from Shanghai|
|a large soup-filled baozi from Yangzhou Drunk through a straw;|
in other areas of China, it is small in size with rich soup
|Hokkien: tāu-se-pau||Filled with sweet bean paste|
|Lotus seed bun||蓮蓉包
|Filled with sweetened lotus seed paste|
||Malay : pau kaya||filled with Kaya, a popular jam made from coconut, eggs, and sometimes pandan in Malaysia and Singapore|
|filled with sweet yellow custard filling|
|Philippine: siyopaw||steamed, filled with either chicken, pork, shrimp or salted egg|
|steamed, filled with a black sesame paste|
|steamed, filled with a type of pickle, spices and possibly other vegetables or meat, common in Sichuan, China|
|Hokkien: Bah-pau||filled with pork|
|large buns filled with pork, eggs and other ingredients|
|well-known brand based in China famous for their fusion baozi, which are steamed and filled with a variety of pizza toppings|
|Originated as Fujianese street food. Unlike other types of Bao, Gua Bao is made by folding over the flat steamed dough and is thus open. Designed to fit easily in your hands and has a wide variety of fillings.|
|Crisp Stuffed Bun||破酥包
|A lard-layered bun with pork, lard, bamboo shoot, and soy sauce; or with the filling of Yunnan ham and white sugar or brown sugar. Crisp Stuffed Bun was created by a chef from Yuxi almost a hundred years ago.|
In many Chinese cultures, these buns are a popular food, and widely available. While they can be eaten at any meal, baozi are often eaten for breakfast. They are also popular as a portable snack or meal.
The dish has also become common place throughout various regions of South East Asia due to longstanding Chinese immigration.
- Due to the long history of Chinese overseas diaspora in Malaysia, the Malays have adopted these buns as their own. A particularly Malay form of the baozi (called pau in Malay) is filled with potato curry, chicken curry or beef curry that are similar to the fillings of Malay curry puffs. Some variants have a quail egg in the middle, in addition to the curry. Due to the Muslim beliefs of most Malays, these buns are halal and contain no pork. One can find Malay stalls selling the buns by the roadside, at pasar malams (night markets), highway rest stops, and pasar Ramadans (Ramadan food bazaars).
- Similarly, in Indonesia the dish has been adopted into Indonesian cuisine through the integration of Chinese culture. It has been adopted through the Hokkien name of bakpau. In addition to meat fillings, local variants include: chocolate, sweet potato, and marmalade filling.
- As a colonial influence from Indonesia, at supermarkets in the Netherlands one can easily find frozen bapao or bakpao wrapped in plastic, ready-made to be heated inside a microwave. The most prevalent filling is chicken, although there are pork and beef variants available as well. This food is culturally categorized as a quick snack or a fast-food item. Fresh forms of this steamed bun are not seen outside of the Chinese community within the country.
- In the Philippines, their version of baozi is called siopao brought by Chinese immigrants (Sangleys) prior to Spanish colonialism. A Filipino siopao filing contains meatballs, Philippine adobo, flaked tuna and pork, and sometimes chocolate and cheese.
- A similar concept is also present in Thailand, called salapao.
- Baozi is also very popular in Japan where it known as nikuman and is typically sold in convenience stores.
- Bánh bao is the Vietnamese version of the Cantonese tai bao that was brought over by Chinese immigrants.
- The Myanmar version is called "Pauk-si"  and is a popular snack available in almost every traditional tea shops.
- Phillips, C. (2016). All Under Heaven: Recipes from the 35 Cuisines of China. Ten Speed Press. p. 405. ISBN 978-1-60774-982-0. Retrieved November 5, 2016.
- See Etymology of "mantou"
- 周达观(元). 诚斋杂记.
- 王栐(北宋). 燕翼冶谋录.