Fa gao

Fa gao (simplified Chinese: 发糕; traditional Chinese: 發糕; pinyin: fāgāo; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: hoat-koé), also called Fat pan (發粄; fa ban) by the Hakka,[1] prosperity cake,[2][3] Fortune cake,[4] Cantonese sponge cake,[5] is a Chinese steamed, cupcake-like pastry.[6] Because it is often characterized by a split top when cooked, it is often referred as Chinese smiling steamed cake or blooming flowers.[6] It is commonly consumed on the Chinese new year.[7] It is also eaten on other festivals, wedding, and funerals by the Hakka people.[8]

Fa gao
TypePastry
Place of originChina
Main ingredientsflour (usually rice flour), leavening (traditionally yeast), sugar
Similar dishesHtanthi mont, Bánh bò

Symbolism

The name of cake, fagao, is a homonym for "cake which expands" and "prosperity cake" as "fa" means both "prosperity" and "expand" and gao means "cake".[7]

The Hakka calls the "top split" of the fa ban "xiao", which means smiling which resembles a sign of a coming fortune; therefore, the bigger the "top split", the better.[8]

Preparation

The cake is made of flour (usually rice flour), leavening (traditionally yeast, but can be chemical leavening),[7] sugar or another sweetener; it is then steamed (instead of baked) on high heat until the top splits into a characteristic "split top" of four segments, or sometimes 3 sections.[6] The batter is typically left to rest for fermentation prior to being steam-cooked.

These cakes, when used to encourage prosperity in the new year, are often dyed bright colours. The most common colours traditionally are white and pink, but it can also be turned brown by adding palm sugar.[6]

Influences in Asia

Singapore

Chinese Singaporeans use fa gao as offerings during ancestral worship.[5][4]

Influences outside Asia

Mauritius

In Mauritius, the fa gao is known as "poutou chinois" (lit.'Chinese puttu') or "poutou rouge" (lit.'red puttu' in French).[9][10] It is called "pot pan" (發粄/发粄; fa ban) by the Mauritians of Hakka descent.[11] Fa gao in Mauritius is typically pink in colour,[12][13] and it is eaten on Chinese New Year.[9][10] However, it is actually sold and eaten all year long.

See also

References

  1. "發粄 - Wiktionary". en.wiktionary.org. Retrieved 2021-04-19.
  2. Knapp, Ronald G. (2012). Peranakan Chinese home : art and culture in daily life. A. Chester Ong. Rutland, Vt.: Tuttle Publishing. ISBN 978-1-4629-1185-1. OCLC 830947706.
  3. The culture of China. Kathleen Kuiper (1st ed.). New York: Britannica Educational Pub. in association with Rosen Educational Services. 2011. p. 37. ISBN 978-1-61530-183-6. OCLC 656833342.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: others (link)
  4. Lim, Tai Wei (2017). Cultural heritage and peripheral spaces in Singapore. [Singapore]. p. 257. ISBN 978-981-10-4747-3. OCLC 1004189895.
  5. Singapore-china Relations: 50 Years. Liang Fook Lye, Yongnian Zheng. World Scientific Publishing Company. 2015. p. 217. ISBN 9789814713573.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: others (link)
  6. "Chinese New Year Steamed Prosperity Cakes (Fa Gao) |Gluten Free Asian Recipes |Healthy gf Asian". Gluten Free Asian Recipes | Healthy gf Asian. 2016-02-07. Retrieved 2021-04-18.
  7. "Chinese Fortune Cup Cake (fa gao)". Knowingfood. Archived from the original on 2009-01-27. Retrieved 2009-01-30.
  8. "Fa Ban". www.chinadaily.com.cn. Retrieved 2021-04-19.
  9. "Nouvel An Chinois : le 'gato la cire' en vedette ce vendredi". Wazaa FM - Feel Good (in French). Retrieved 2021-04-18.
  10. "Fête du Printemps : au cœur d'une célébration religieuse et familiale". Le Defi Media Group (in French). Retrieved 2021-04-18.
  11. "Sweet snacks". Hakka Mauritians 客家. Retrieved 2021-04-18.
  12. lemauricien (2020-09-05). "(Chinatown) M. Chu : Les délices chinois d'un art traditionnel millénaire". Le Mauricien (in French). Retrieved 2021-04-19.
  13. "Chinatown : tout ce qui rampe se mange ! | KOZÉ | Dan Karay". KOZÉ (in French). 2017-05-18. Retrieved 2021-04-19.
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