Baozi (Chinese: 包子), Pao-tsih or bao, is a type of yeast-leavened filled bun[1] in various Chinese cuisines. There are many variations in fillings (meat or vegetarian) and preparations, though the buns are most often steamed. They are a variation of mantou from Northern China.

Meat-filled baozi for sale in a market
Alternative namesBao, humbow, pau, Pao-tsih
TypeFilled steamed bread
Place of originChina
Region or stateGreater China, East Asia, Chinatown all over the world
VariationsDabao, xiaobao
"Baozi" in Chinese characters
Alternative Chinese name

Two types are found in most parts of China and Indonesia: Dàbāo (大包, "big bun"), measuring about 10 centimetres (3.9 in) across, served individually, and usually purchased for take-away. The other type, Xiǎobāo (小包, "small bun"), measure approximately 5 centimetres (2.0 in) 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 popular throughout China and have made their way into the cuisines of many other countries through the Chinese diaspora.

History and etymology

Written records from the Song dynasty show the term baozi in use for filled buns.[2][3] Prior to the Northern Song Dynasty (960–1279), the word mantou was used for both filled and unfilled buns.[4] According to legend, the filled baozi is a variation of manta invented by military strategist Zhuge Liang.[5] Over time mantou came to indicate only unfilled buns in Mandarin and some varieties of Chinese, although the Wu Chinese languages continue to use mantou to refer to both filled and unfilled buns.


Tianjin Goubuli
Japanese variations
Making of baozi
English name/ Pīnyīn Chinese name



Other names Description
Cha siu bao, Charsiu bau叉燒包
caa1 siu1 baau1
manapua, SiopaoFilled 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 an aspic that reverts to a juicy broth when cooked. 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.
Shengjian mantou生煎饅頭/生煎馒头
shēngjiān mántou
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 a rich soup.
Hokkien: tāu-se-pauFilled with sweet bean paste.
Lotus seed bun蓮蓉包/莲蓉包
Filled with sweetened lotus seed paste
Malay: pau kayafilled with Kaya, a popular jam made from coconut, eggs, and sometimes pandan in Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore
filled with sweet yellow custard filling
Shāobāo, siopao燒包
Philippine: siyopawsteamed, 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
Javanese: ꦧꦏ꧀ꦥꦲꦸ, romanized: bakpau
Hokkien: Bah-pau
Indonesian: bakpau
filled with minced pork, or alternatively chocolate, strawberry, cheese, mung bean, red bean, minced beef, or diced chicken.
Big Pau大包
large buns filled with pork, eggs and other ingredients
Gua bao割包
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.
Tandoori Baozi烤包子
Kao Baozi
A Uyghur specialty, cooked in tandoor instead of steaming it. Usually filled with lamb, potatoes, and spices.

Outside of China

Broken open bakpau showing minced meat filling, served with sweet chili sauce

In many Chinese cultures, these buns are a popular food, and widely available.[1] 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 north Asia with cultural and ethnic relationships, as well as Southeast Asia and outside Asia due to long standing Chinese immigration.

  • In Buryatia and Mongolia, the variants of the recipe, often with beef or lamb, are known as buuz and buuza.[6][7]
  • Given the long history of the Chinese diaspora in Malaysia way before the British colonial years of British Malaya times, 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. Other variations include Kaya (jam) or red bean paste as the filling. Due to the high number of Muslims in Malaysia, 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 or bakpao. In addition to meat fillings, local variants include: chocolate, sweet potato, and marmalade filling. Bakpau is found in Indonesia as a take away food sold by cart street hawkers. Bakpau in Indonesia is usually sold in dabao size (lit.: "big pau"), around 10 cm in diameter. To accommodate the dietary restrictions of Indonesia's Muslim majority, the original pork filling has been replaced with minced beef, diced chicken, or even sweet mung bean paste and red bean paste. Pau with non-meat fillings are still called bakpau by Indonesians, despite the lack of meat. It is usually served with sweet chili sauce.
  • As a colonial influence from Indonesia, at supermarkets in the Netherlands one can easily find frozen, or sometimes in the bigger supermarkets cooled, 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.[8][9] Varieties of Filipino siopao fillings include barbecued pork, meatballs, flaked tuna, and sometimes chocolate and cheese.
  • A similar concept is also present in Thailand, called salapao (ซาลาเปา).
  • Baozi is also very popular in Japan where it's known as chūkaman (中華まん, "Chinese steamed bun"). Nikuman (肉まん; derived from 肉饅頭, nikumanjū) is the Japanese name for Chinese baozi with meat fillings. Chūkaman are steamed and often sold as street food. During festivals, they are frequently sold and eaten. From about August or September, through the winter months until roughly the beginning of April, chūkaman are available at convenience stores, where they are kept hot. It's also available as chilled food in supermarket and a part of usual food.
  • In Korea, where it's known as hoppang, it is a warm snack sold throughout South Korea. It is a convenience food version of jjinppang (steamed bread), typically filled with smooth, sweetened red bean paste and also commonly sold stuffed with vegetables and meat, pizza toppings, pumpkin, or buldak.
  • Baozi is called num pav (នំប៉ាវ) in Cambodia. It is a popular snack in Cambodia and is usually homemade or sold in street markets.
  • 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 (ပေါက်စီ)[10][11] and is a popular snack available in almost every traditional tea shops.
  • In Mauritius, many Mauritian dishes are influenced by Sino-Mauritians;[12] this includes baozi which is simply referred as "pao" (sometimes written as "pow" or "paw").[13][14][15] They can either be savoury (i.e. typically filled with Chinese sausage, poultry, black mushroom and soy egg; or filled with cha siu) or sweet (i.e. filled with sweet paste).[13][16] They are very popular among Mauritian families[13] and continues to remain an omnipresent part of Sino-Mauritian culture.[14]

See also


  1. 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.
  2. "Shǐ huà " mán tóu " hé " bāo zǐ " yóu lái" 史話“饅頭”和“包子”由來 (in Chinese).
  3. 王栐(北宋). 燕翼冶谋录. "仁宗诞日,赐群臣包子。"包子下注"即馒头别名。"、"今俗屑发酵,或有馅,或无馅,蒸食之者,都谓之馒头。"
  4. cf Zhuge Liang tale; also "Shǐ huà " mán tóu " hé " bāo zǐ " yóu lái" 史話“饅頭”和“包子”由來 (in Chinese).
  5. 周达观(). 诚斋杂记. 孔明征孟获。人曰:蛮地多邪,用人首祭神,则出兵利。孔明杂以羊豕之内,以面包之,以像人头。此为馒头之始。
  6. Mezhenina, Tatiana. "Close-up buryat, mongolian or chinese traditional buuz, buuza,." 123RF. Archived from the original on 2021-10-21. Retrieved 2021-01-13. (image) Close-up of buryat, mongolian or chinese traditional buuz, buuza, baozi. Asian steamed food made of dough and meat.
  7. Getty. "Close-Up Of chinese origin meat dumplings, aka buuz or buzza or..." Getty Images. Archived from the original on 2021-01-14. Retrieved 2021-01-13. Close-Up of chinese origin meat dumplings, aka buuz or buzza or manti, a popular dish in Buryatia Republic (Russia) and russian Siberia regions or among Central Asian countries.
  8. "Chinese flavor in Philippine history". 25 May 2019.
  9. De Leon, Adrian (2016). "Siopao and Power: The Place of Pork Buns in Manila's Chinese History". Gastronomica. 16 (2): 45–54. doi:10.1525/gfc.2016.16.2.45.
  10. "ပေါက်စီ". Sofia Food Paradise. December 23, 2015.
  11. "ဝက်သားပေါက်စီအိအိလေး". Wutyee Food House.
  12. "Chinese Cuisine". Cuizine Maurice. Retrieved 2021-04-22.
  13. "[Diaporama] Le partage de la gastronomie culturelle à Maurice". Le Defi Media Group (in French). Retrieved 2021-04-22.
  14. "Mauritius Pow Recipe | Mauritius, Seychelles, Reunion: Holidays & Travel". 2016-02-26. Retrieved 2021-04-22.
  15. "Paw - Pain a la Vapeur". Ti Karaii (in French). 2015-06-24. Retrieved 2021-04-22.
  16. "Two Women and A Half Man » Archive » Chinese Hakka Buns – Pow". Retrieved 2021-04-22.
This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.