Baozi are Chinese ‘convenience’ food and is hearty, nutritious and filling. Part of a typical fast Chinese breakfast. It comes with meat or only with vegetables and tofu.
Origin of baozi
Prior to the Northern Song dynasty (960-1279), the word mantou (steamed bun) was used for both filled and unfilled buns. Written records from the Song dynasty report baozi as filled buns. And legend says the baozi were invented by military strategist Zhuge Liang. If so, the nutritious food is still easy to take away and to consume and is harnessing many Chinese for the day. Later the word mantou started to mean in Mandarin only unfilled steamed buns. Its norther heritage is seen from the fact that the dough is a wheat dough. Wheat only grows in Northern China. While baozi are now consumed all over China, Southern similar delicacies would be made of rice flour.
Chinese baozi variations
In the morning in many Chinese neighborhoods, you see the steaming bamboo or now stainless steel steaming pans in the streets where many commuters stop on their (e-) bike or step. This Chinese ‘convenience’ food is hearty, nutritious and filling.
Pork/vegetable combination fillings are most common in baozi, but many variations are possible. Such as chicken, lamb and vegetarian being the most occurring other options.
Lambs meat has made it into baozi along the old silk route. Also sold along with the baozi are warm ‘tea’eggs, hard boiled eggs marinated in a mixture of tea, herbs (e.g. star anise) and soy sauce, giving them a nice and lightly salted flavor and the egg-white a brownish appearance. A good fast breakfast is obtained for several renmimbi, 30 or 40 U.S. dollar cents, perhaps a bit more in the big cities in the east of China.