Tag Archives: breakfast

Gǎ Ba Cài – Pancake Stripe “Noodles” – 嘎巴菜$

Gǎ Ba Cài (嘎巴菜) is a Tianjinese word. After translated into standard Mandarin, it is called Guō Ba Cài (锅巴菜). It is a traditional Tianjin street food which only serves as breakfast. It is so unique that no one can find it anywhere else around the world. Ga Ba Cai looks like short wide green noodles dipped in sticky brown sauce. Ga Ba Cai is salty and with a complex taste from a combination of many different kinds of spices. The “noodle” part is chewy and the “sauce” part is strong and a bit sticky. The “noodle” part is called “Gǎ Ba (嘎巴)”. “Gǎ Ba” is the Tianjinese for “Guō Ba (锅巴)”, which means the “crust” part that is created when rice or paste touches hot metal surface. “Ga Ba” is another way for Tianjinese to say “Jiān Bing (煎饼)” (pancakes). The “sauce” part is called “Lǔ (卤)”, which means the sticky soup-like sauce.

Ingredients:
Rice, Mung Beans, Chopped Scallions, Chopped Ginger, Cut Caraway Pieces, Peanut Oil, Sesame Oil, Aniseed Powder, Ferment Flour Sauce, Soy Sauce, Five Spices Powder, Soda Powder, Starch Solution, Smoked Tofu Slices, Preserved Tofu Sauce, Sesame Sauce Chili Oil and Garlic Chops Dipped in Water, etc..

Gǎ Ba Cài (嘎巴菜) is a Tianjinese word. After translated into standard Mandarin, it is called Guō Ba Cài (锅巴菜). It is a traditional Tianjin street food which only serves as breakfast. It is so unique that no one can find it anywhere else around the world. Ga Ba Cai looks like short wide green noodles dipped in sticky brown sauce. Ga Ba Cai is salty and with a complex taste from a combination of many different kinds of spices. The “noodle” part is chewy and the “sauce” part is strong and a bit sticky. The “noodle” part is called “Gǎ Ba (嘎巴)”. “Gǎ Ba” is the Tianjinese for “Guō Ba (锅巴)”, which means the “crust” part that is created when rice or paste touches hot metal surface. “Ga Ba” is another way for Tianjinese to say “Jiān Bing (煎饼)” (pancakes). The “sauce” part is called “Lǔ (卤)”, which means the sticky soup-like sauce.

Ingredients:
Rice, Mung Beans, Chopped Scallions, Chopped Ginger, Cut Caraway Pieces, Peanut Oil, Sesame Oil, Aniseed Powder, Ferment Flour Sauce, Soy Sauce, Five Spices Powder, Soda Powder, Starch Solution, Smoked Tofu Slices, Preserved Tofu Sauce, Sesame Sauce Chili Oil and Garlic Chops Dipped in Water, etc..

Cooking Methods:
Making “Gǎ Ba”:
The ratio between rice and mung beans should be 1:1. Soak rice and mung beans in water until they are soft, mill them into paste. Get a spoonful of paste and pour it onto a special pan (which is constructed with a flat iron plate and a barrel-shaped stove under it, people use to add coal into the stove). Use a T-shape bamboo pice push the paste a round to form a very thin layer of pancake (Gǎ Ba or Guō Ba or Jiā Bing). Use a metal blade to remove the pancake from the pan. Collect a deck of pancakes, cut them into stripes like bamboo leaves. Lay the pancake stripes aside and let them cool down. Add a bit of flour to them and shake a bit in case they will stick together.
Making “Lǔ”:
Boil peanut oil and add chopped scallions, chopped ginger and caraway pieces until they create a special smell. Add aniseed powder and ferment flour paste and stir fry for a while. Pour in soy sauce until boiled. Add salt water, five spices powder and soda power; boil until boiled. Add starch solution and stir until the whole soup is sticky.
Final Step:
Get a bowl of “Ga Ba”, for the “Lu” in it. Stir a bit and add smoked tofu slices, preserved tofu sauce, chili oil, sesame paste, chopped caraway and chopped garlic in water (the ingredients added varies from stand to stand). Stir again and enjoy.

Tips:
1. Put “Lu” and “Ga Ba” together only when you are about to eat it. Soaking in “Lu” for too long can make “Ga Ba” too soft and lose its chewy texture.
2. Eat “Ga Ba Cai” when it is hot. After it get cold, the “Lu” will change its texture and taste (“Ga Ba” can be cold but “Lu” must be hot).
3. Since “Ga Ba Cai” has a strong and salty taste, most people will have a bowl of soy milk or eat a “Shao Bing” (sesame pancake) with it.

History:
As known, Jian Bing are from Shandong and has been exported to everywhere around China. In addition to wrap vegetables and eat with sauce, some people also soak Jian Bing in water because they are dry. After Jian Bing came into Tianjin, there forms two ways of eating Jian Bing: Jian Bing Guo Zi (fried bread stick wrapped with pancake) and Ga Ba Cai. The earliest and most famous place to eat Ga Ba Cai is Da Fu Lai (大福来), the name means “great luck comes” in Chinese. Ga Ba Cai was created in Qing Dynasty. A man called Zhang Lan managed a Jian Bing stand to earn living. When the emperor Qian Long came to Tianjin, he stopped at Zhang Lan’s stand and ordered some Jian Bing. Because the emperor has never tasted non-royal food, so he became very curious and ate the Jian Bing too fast. Because Jian Bing are dry, so Qian Long was chocked by eating too fast. Zhang Lan turns very nervous and thought the emperor will punish him. At this moment, Zhang Lan’s wife came up with an idea and soaked Jian Bing into a kind of salty soup she just created and gives to her husband to offered to Qian Long. After Qian Long taste it, he was so amazed by the taste and asked who created the dish. Zhang Lan’s wife came out from the back and saluted the Emperor. Qian Long asked her name and it turns out her name is Guo Ba, which is the same sound as the food Guo Ba. Qian Long praised her name and said it just means the “Ga Ba” on a pan. Qian Long decided to name the food after the women and add a character Cài (菜) which means dish and formed a name “Ga Ba Cai”. The day later, Qian Long awarded the couple with a lot of money. The guard who was sent to deliver the money told the couple that their great luck comes. To show their gracefulness, Zhang Lan changed the name of his stand in to Da Fu Lai and changed his Jian Bing stand into Ga Ba Cai stand which sells Ga Ba Cai only. After refined the cooking method, Ga Ba Cai gets very popular in Tianjin.

Related Cuisine:
Tianjingnese Cuisine

Gǎ Ba Cài (嘎巴菜) is a Tianjinese word. After translated into standard Mandarin, it is called Guō Ba Cài (锅巴菜). It is a traditional Tianjin street food which only serves as breakfast. It is so unique that no one can find it anywhere else around the world. Ga Ba Cai looks like short wide green noodles dipped in sticky brown sauce. Ga Ba Cai is salty and with a complex taste from a combination of many different kinds of spices. The “noodle” part is chewy and the “sauce” part is strong and a bit sticky. The “noodle” part is called “Gǎ Ba (嘎巴)”. “Gǎ Ba” is the Tianjinese for “Guō Ba (锅巴)”, which means the “crust” part that is created when rice or paste touches hot metal surface. “Ga Ba” is another way for Tianjinese to say “Jiān Bing (煎饼)” (pancakes). The “sauce” part is called “Lǔ (卤)”, which means the sticky soup-like sauce.

Ingredients:
Rice, Mung Beans, Chopped Scallions, Chopped Ginger, Cut Caraway Pieces, Peanut Oil, Sesame Oil, Aniseed Powder, Ferment Flour Sauce, Soy Sauce, Five Spices Powder, Soda Powder, Starch Solution, Smoked Tofu Slices, Preserved Tofu Sauce, Sesame Sauce Chili Oil and Garlic Chops Dipped in Water, etc..

Cooking Methods:
Making “Gǎ Ba”:
The ratio between rice and mung beans should be 1:1. Soak rice and mung beans in water until they are soft, mill them into paste. Get a spoonful of paste and pour it onto a special pan (which is constructed with a flat iron plate and a barrel-shaped stove under it, people use to add coal into the stove). Use a T-shape bamboo pice push the paste a round to form a very thin layer of pancake (Gǎ Ba or Guō Ba or Jiā Bing). Use a metal blade to remove the pancake from the pan. Collect a deck of pancakes, cut them into stripes like bamboo leaves. Lay the pancake stripes aside and let them cool down. Add a bit of flour to them and shake a bit in case they will stick together.
Making “Lǔ”:
Boil peanut oil and add chopped scallions, chopped ginger and caraway pieces until they create a special smell. Add aniseed powder and ferment flour paste and stir fry for a while. Pour in soy sauce until boiled. Add salt water, five spices powder and soda power; boil until boiled. Add starch solution and stir until the whole soup is sticky.
Final Step:
Get a bowl of “Ga Ba”, for the “Lu” in it. Stir a bit and add smoked tofu slices, preserved tofu sauce, chili oil, sesame paste, chopped caraway and chopped garlic in water (the ingredients added varies from stand to stand). Stir again and enjoy.

Tips:
1. Put “Lu” and “Ga Ba” together only when you are about to eat it. Soaking in “Lu” for too long can make “Ga Ba” too soft and lose its chewy texture.
2. Eat “Ga Ba Cai” when it is hot. After it get cold, the “Lu” will change its texture and taste (“Ga Ba” can be cold but “Lu” must be hot).
3. Since “Ga Ba Cai” has a strong and salty taste, most people will have a bowl of soy milk or eat a “Shao Bing” (sesame pancake) with it.

History:
As known, Jian Bing are from Shandong and has been exported to everywhere around China. In addition to wrap vegetables and eat with sauce, some people also soak Jian Bing in water because they are dry. After Jian Bing came into Tianjin, there forms two ways of eating Jian Bing: Jian Bing Guo Zi (fried bread stick wrapped with pancake) and Ga Ba Cai. The earliest and most famous place to eat Ga Ba Cai is Da Fu Lai (大福来), the name means “great luck comes” in Chinese. Ga Ba Cai was created in Qing Dynasty. A man called Zhang Lan managed a Jian Bing stand to earn living. When the emperor Qian Long came to Tianjin, he stopped at Zhang Lan’s stand and ordered some Jian Bing. Because the emperor has never tasted non-royal food, so he became very curious and ate the Jian Bing too fast. Because Jian Bing are dry, so Qian Long was chocked by eating too fast. Zhang Lan turns very nervous and thought the emperor will punish him. At this moment, Zhang Lan’s wife came up with an idea and soaked Jian Bing into a kind of salty soup she just created and gives to her husband to offered to Qian Long. After Qian Long taste it, he was so amazed by the taste and asked who created the dish. Zhang Lan’s wife came out from the back and saluted the Emperor. Qian Long asked her name and it turns out her name is Guo Ba, which is the same sound as the food Guo Ba. Qian Long praised her name and said it just means the “Ga Ba” on a pan. Qian Long decided to name the food after the women and add a character Cài (菜) which means dish and formed a name “Ga Ba Cai”. The day later, Qian Long awarded the couple with a lot of money. The guard who was sent to deliver the money told the couple that their great luck comes. To show their gracefulness, Zhang Lan changed the name of his stand in to Da Fu Lai and changed his Jian Bing stand into Ga Ba Cai stand which sells Ga Ba Cai only. After refined the cooking method, Ga Ba Cai gets very popular in Tianjin.

Related Cuisine:
Tianjingnese Cuisine
Making “Gǎ Ba”:
The ratio between rice and mung beans should be 1:1. Soak rice and mung beans in water until they are soft, mill them into paste. Get a spoonful of paste and pour it onto a special pan (which is constructed with a flat iron plate and a barrel-shaped stove under it, people use to add coal into the stove). Use a T-shape bamboo pice push the paste a round to form a very thin layer of pancake (Gǎ Ba or Guō Ba or Jiā Bing). Use a metal blade to remove the pancake from the pan. Collect a deck of pancakes, cut them into stripes like bamboo leaves. Lay the pancake stripes aside and let them cool down. Add a bit of flour to them and shake a bit in case they will stick together.
Making “Lǔ”:
Boil peanut oil and add chopped scallions, chopped ginger and caraway pieces until they create a special smell. Add aniseed powder and ferment flour paste and stir fry for a while. Pour in soy sauce until boiled. Add salt water, five spices powder and soda power; boil until boiled. Add starch solution and stir until the whole soup is sticky.
Final Step:
Get a bowl of “Ga Ba”, for the “Lu” in it. Stir a bit and add smoked tofu slices, preserved tofu sauce, chili oil, sesame paste, chopped caraway and chopped garlic in water (the ingredients added varies from stand to stand). Stir again and enjoy.

Tips:
1. Put “Lu” and “Ga Ba” together only when you are about to eat it. Soaking in “Lu” for too long can make “Ga Ba” too soft and lose its chewy texture.
2. Eat “Ga Ba Cai” when it is hot. After it get cold, the “Lu” will change its texture and taste (“Ga Ba” can be cold but “Lu” must be hot).
3. Since “Ga Ba Cai” has a strong and salty taste, most people will have a bowl of soy milk or eat a “Shao Bing” (sesame pancake) with it.

History:
As known, Jian Bing are from Shandong and has been exported to everywhere around China. In addition to wrap vegetables and eat with sauce, some people also soak Jian Bing in water because they are dry. After Jian Bing came into Tianjin, there forms two ways of eating Jian Bing: Jian Bing Guo Zi (fried bread stick wrapped with pancake) and Ga Ba Cai. The earliest and most famous place to eat Ga Ba Cai is Da Fu Lai (大福来), the name means “great luck comes” in Chinese. Ga Ba Cai was created in Qing Dynasty. A man called Zhang Lan managed a Jian Bing stand to earn living. When the emperor Qian Long came to Tianjin, he stopped at Zhang Lan’s stand and ordered some Jian Bing. Because the emperor has never tasted non-royal food, so he became very curious and ate the Jian Bing too fast. Because Jian Bing are dry, so Qian Long was chocked by eating too fast. Zhang Lan turns very nervous and thought the emperor will punish him. At this moment, Zhang Lan’s wife came up with an idea and soaked Jian Bing into a kind of salty soup she just created and gives to her husband to offered to Qian Long. After Qian Long taste it, he was so amazed by the taste and asked who created the dish. Zhang Lan’s wife came out from the back and saluted the Emperor. Qian Long asked her name and it turns out her name is Guo Ba, which is the same sound as the food Guo Ba. Qian Long praised her name and said it just means the “Ga Ba” on a pan. Qian Long decided to name the food after the women and add a character Cài (菜) which means dish and formed a name “Ga Ba Cai”. The day later, Qian Long awarded the couple with a lot of money. The guard who was sent to deliver the money told the couple that their great luck comes. To show their gracefulness, Zhang Lan changed the name of his stand in to Da Fu Lai and changed his Jian Bing stand into Ga Ba Cai stand which sells Ga Ba Cai only. After refined the cooking method, Ga Ba Cai gets very popular in Tianjin.

Related Cuisine:
Tianjingnese Cuisine

Luóbosī bǐng – Turnip Strips Cake – 萝卜丝饼

Luó bo sī bǐng–Turnip strips cake (萝卜丝饼) is originated in Jiangsu Province, which is a popular pastry near the area around Suzhou, Wuxi and Jiangyin. The recipe of turnip strip cake varies due to different place and time period. People usually eat turnip strip cakes for breakfast since it provides both pastry and vegetable, which is healthier than the deep fried pastries. Turnip strips cake are can be easily find at the breakfast vendors, as well as in some traditional eateries. The most traditional way to bake the turnip strips cake is to put it in a coal stove. When the vendor picks out a piece with the long “pliers,” you will definitely be appealed by the smell of the turnip strips cakes. With the development of the cooking supplies, more and more eateries choose to use electronic oven for convenience, but most vendors on street still keep the coal stove. The common price for a turnip strip cake is about 1.5 kuai to 3.5 kuai.

Ingredients:
Stuffing part:
Turnip, ham (preferred, or salted meat or fresh meat), spring onion;
lard oil, vegetable oil, salt, sugar, white pepper powder, spring onion.
Pastry part:
Flour, sesame, lard oil, vegetable oil, salt, water, yeast powder.

Cooking Method:
Stuffing Part:
1. Chop turnip into thin strips, put some salt into the turnip strips and wait for 10 mins to squeeze the water out.
2. Boil the vegetable oil and pour the hot oil on the chopped spring onion to make the spring onion oil.
3. Chop ham/salted meat/fresh meat into small granule, seasoning with a little cooking wine.
4. Mix the turnip strips, chopped ham or meat, spring onion oil and the lard oil, seasoning the mixture with salt, sugar and white pepper powder.
Pastry part:
1. Mix half of the flour with yeast powder and warm water. Let the dough rest for 30 mins.
2. Mix another half of the flour with the vegetable oil and the lard oil to make the oil pastry.
3. Make both of the dough and the oil pastry into thin pieces. The size of the dough should be twice larger than the oil pastry. Put the oil pastry in the middle, fold the two sides of the dough and then use the stick to roll the mixed dough into the original size.
4. Fold the mixed dough, and use the stick to roll it into the original size. Repeat at least three times.
5. Use the pastry to wrap the stuffing. Put some sesame on the top. Bake the raw turnip strip cakes in the coal stove or oven for 10-12mins.
* Lard oil is essential in this street food and most lard oil is hand-made by the vendors. They chop the raw leaf lard into small pieces and then boil that in water; when water get evaporated, the lard oil comes out and eventually it would become pure lard oil. People usually store lard oil just in bottle or bowl because it would be concrete so that it’s hard to go bad. The left cracklings, for some people, could be their favorite snake. Many of the famous food in Shanghai, like wonton(馄饨), bā bǎo fàn–Eight Treasures Rice(八宝饭)and etc. It’s also popular among southern China. Scientific research shows that lard oil contains high content of saturated fatty acids and cholesterol, which is good for health.

Recommended Place to Go:
East Gate Eatery 东门餐厅
Address: No. 2 Kangjia Lane, by Zhonghua Road, Huangpu district.
*Please notice that if the boss is not in a good mood or not satisfied with the quality of the ingredients, chances are that you might not get a turnip strip cake from him

History:
Nowadays in Shanghai, the turnip strips cake is not the same as what people in Suzhou eat. The earliest version is to put the wet pastry in a small mould with the turnip strips, pour another layer of wet pastry on the top and then fry it, which is now called yóu dūn zǐ油墩子in Shanghai. Shanghai style turnip strips cake is a combination of the turnip stuffing with huáng qiáo shāo bǐng– Huangqiao sesame cake(黄桥烧饼), which is originated in Suqian, Jiangsu, so the Shanghai style turnip cake can keep both the golden brown flaky pastry and the juicy and tasty turnip stuffing. The turnip strips cake has been in fusion since it is introduced in Shanghai. One example is the fusion with the fried egg pancake from northeastern part of China, where people prefer to put stuffing like leek in the pastry. Instead of the flaky pastry, this type of turnip strips cake is thinner and crispier, because the plain pastry is fried. People first put a piece of pastry on the pan, then the turnip strips and the egg, and finally fold everything into a rectangle piece. Usually this kind of fried turnip strip are served with a special sauce.

  

Possible Variations:
luó bo sī jī dàn guàn bǐng–fried egg pancake with turnip strips stuffing
luó bo sī sū—turnip stirps puff, in Cantonese Dim Sum

Related Cuisine:
Jiangsu Cuisine, Shanghai Cuisine

Jiānbing – Chinese-style crepes – 煎饼

Jiānbing  (Chinese: 煎饼), a traditional Chinese snack commonly served in the early hours for breakfast, closely resembles a cross between a crepe and a dosa. The crepe is made with a beaten egg, garnished with fresh herbs, pickles, and dried chili, and smeared with various sweet and spicy sauces. Its fillings are customizable, but the most common and popular version is made with a flat, crispy fried cracker in the center. It is typically sold for 3.5 yuan from 6am to 10am.

Over time, the popular street food has become identified with the term “jianbing ren煎饼人” which is used to describe people who are not capable of focusing on one thing at a time and truly deepen their thoughts. Their distracted mannerisms reflect the cooking style of jianbing, where the batter spreads in many directions across a large, round pan to generate a thin layer of pancake. Jianbing ren also live their lives in a “thin layer” that covers a lot of space without ever becoming “thick.” This can be explained by the change in value for social relationships, where nowadays people must create many superficial friendships in order to find job opportunities unlike their predecessors who had the stability of a work-unit (danwei单位) during Communist and early reform years. Much of the criticism comes from the older generations who lament upon younger generation’s lazy and impulsive characteristics due to the internet-craze and creatively suppressed education system. Many Chinese regard the term as a local characteristic rather than an extension of a global modernity. It is linked to the privatization of market, growing divide between generations, and changing values.

Ingredients:
The batter is traditionally made of mung bean flour, but different variations of its recipe might include other coarse grains like millet (xiaomi小米), purple rice (zimi紫米), green bean (lüdou绿豆), corn flour, soybean, or wheat flour. Oil is sometimes used to grease the pan before the batter is spread into a thin layer on the griddle. The pancake is sprinkled with minced scallions, cilantro, pickled mustard tuber. After an egg is broken up and spread on the entire surface, the crepe is smeared with fermented bean curd sauce (hongdou furu 红豆腐乳 or nanru南乳), a hoisin sauce (tianmianjiang甜面酱), and sprinkled with either chili flakes or a chili sauce (lajiang辣酱). Inside, a pre-fried wonton, youtiao, hot dog sausage, or chicken can be wrapped in the center of the crepe.

Cooking Method:
A round, cast iron griddle is heated at a medium-low temperature, and a bit of oil is used to grease its surface. The thickness of the crepe batter varies in consistency, but is always spread evenly across the surface of the griddle in a swift circular motion. An egg is cracked on top and the yolk is evenly broken and evenly spread over the crepe. Sliced scallions, cilantro (xiang cai香菜), and pickled mustard tuber (zha cai榨菜) are sprinkled. The crepe is then folded in half, and smeared with a sweet fermented bean curd sauce (hong doufuru or nanru), a hoisin sauce (tianmianjiang), and sprinkled with either chili flakes or a chili sauce (lajiang). Baocui, a crispy fried cracker, is then added in the center and the crepe is folded and sliced in the center to be eaten as a handheld snack.

History:
According to legends, jianbing originated during the Three Kingdoms period more than 2,000 years ago. Zhuge Liang, Liu Bei’s chancellor in Shandong Province, was encountered with the problem of feeding his army who had lost their woks. Zhuge ordered the cooks to mix water with wheat flour and spread the dough onto flat, copper griddles suspended over a fire. This innovative cooking technique lifted his soldiers’ morale and strength, allowing them to win the battle thereafter. Since then, people from the Shandong province have passed down this dish through generations.

The myth of origin comes from Zhuge Liang during the Chinese Three Kingdoms period more than 2,000 years ago. This man was a chancellor in the province of Shandong for the general Liu Bei, and he had a problem of feeding everyone in the army without the traditional Chinese cooking ware woks. Thus, Zhuge decided to use flat griddle-like pans and mix water with flour to cook this mixture evenly on the bottom of these flat pans. This was so well liked by soldiers that it made them stronger and they were able to win a battle after this. Ever after, people of Shandong province have passed this dish down generation to generation.

Colder temperatures in the northern part of China made it difficult for Chinese to grow rice, which explains use of coarse grains like wheat and millet to make various forms of pancake. Before electricity reached the countryside, every household had a water-powered stone mill (shuimo) that would be used to grind course grains into flour. Peasants would mill a day in advance and pan-fry their jianbing on a metal griddle over hot coals the next morning. The variety of nutrients in the grains allow for the comestible to be easily preserved in high-temperatures.

Possible Variations:
Jianbingguozi 煎饼果子– jianbing filled with a fried cruller (youtiao) instead of a crispy fried cracker (baocui)
jia xiangchang 加香菜– add coriander
jia shengcai 加生菜– add lettuce
cong you bing 葱油饼– scallion pancakes
shou zhua bing 手煎饼– hand-grabbed pancake
dan bing 蛋饼– egg pancake
qian ceng bing 千层饼– flaky pancake
qiang bing 炝饼– puffy pancake

Related Cuisine:
Shandong Cuisine

Bāozi – Steamed buns – 包子

Bāozi (Chinese: 包子) is a pillowy-soft, steamed bun that is filled with savory or sweet centers. Although locals prefer to eat them for breakfast, they are sold from the early hours of the morning until late afternoon. Each one is typically 1.5 kuai out of stacks of bamboo steamers alongside shao mai.

Ingredients:
The bun’s dough consists of water, dry yeast, sugar, bread flour, baking powder, salt and sesame oil.

Cooking Method:
The yeast and sugar are combined in warm water and allowed to sit. After the flour and sugar are combined, the yeast water is added to the mixing bowl until a ball of dough is formed. The dough is kneaded and allowed to rest in a humid environment. After the dough has risen, baking powder is kneaded into the dough before it is divided into two long rolls and cut into pieces. Each piece of dough is formed into a ball that is rolled into a disk so that the filling can be encased in the center. Each ball of dough is allowed to rise before being placed into bamboo steamers.

History :
During the Three Kingdoms period, Zhuge Liang, a military strategist of the time, was on an expedition to Southern China when he and his army found themselves unable to cross a river because the storm was too violent. He asked Meng Hua why they couldn’t cross, and he stated that the war had caused so many deaths that angry spirits were trapped there, unable to return to their families. The spirits claimed that they needed 49 people to sacrifice themselves in order for Zhuge Liang and his soldiers to cross the river. Zhuge Liang wasn’t willing to allow even more people to die, so he asked his cook to make him 49 buns with dough that resembled skin with beef or mutton fillings so that he could trick the spirits into believing that they were real people.

The street food was originally called mantou, which means “flour head,” but as it gained popularity in the north, people began calling it baozi because bao meant “to wrap.”

Possible Variations:
gancai bao – braised cabbage bun
qingcai bao – bok choy tofu bun
rou bao – pork bun
hua juan – scallion mantou
dabao – large bun

 

Cí Fàn Gāo – Deep-fried Glutinous Rice Cake – 粢饭糕

Often served alongside various deep-fried bings and youtiao, cí fàn gāo (Chinese: 粢饭糕) is a rectangular block of compressed glutinous rice that is fried until golden brown. It is often eaten as a savory breakfast snack during autumn, when the rice has just been harvested.

Ingredients:
Glutinous rice is cooked with water, seasoned with salt and deep-fried in oil.

Cooking Method:
The glutinous rice is steamed and then kneaded and seasoned with salt. The mixture is compressed into cakes and cut into rectangles before being deep-fried.

History:
During the Spring and Autumn Festival, a man named Wu Zi Xu wanted to help people who were suffering from hunger after the war. He shaped sticky rice in the form of a condensed brick and buried it in the ground so that people could eat it in case of emergency. While their city was being invaded by emperor Guo Jian, the trapped inhabitants were able to eat the bricks of glutinous rice that were previously buried into the ground in order to survive. The people dug the bricks of rice out of the ground and deep-fried it before eating it. From that time on, people continued to make this dish during the Autumn Festival in remembrance of their hero.

Possible Variations:
ci fan tuan – Chinese cruller stuffed stuffed in a glutinous rice ball

Related Cuisine:
Shanghai Cuisine

Dòu Huā – Tofu Soup – 豆花

Dòu Huā (Chinese: 豆花) is a street food commonly eaten as breakfast or a late night treat alongside a crispy youtiao. In Shanghai, it is usually served with savory flavors and garnishes such as soy sauce, salt, cilantro, chili oil, pickled mustard tuber, and sliced pieces of youtiao.

Ingredients:
The tofu curd is made from dried soybeans, water, gypsum powder and cornflour. The dessert version adds a dark syrup infused with ginger. The salty version adds a dash of soy sauce, chili oil, and salt and garnishes with cilantro and minced pieces of pickled mustard tuber.

Cooking Method:
The soy milk is first made by soaking pulverized soybeans with water and straining it, repeating this process multiple times. Once the soy milk is made, it is left to simmer as a mixture of gypsum powder, corn flour and water are slowly added in. After the curd has set, it can be spooned into a bowl and topped with whatever sweet or salty dressings desired.

History:
According to legends, tofu originated in China over 2,000 years ago. It is believed that its production began during the Han Dynasty when a cook decided to experiment by flavoring a batch of cooked soybeans with the compound nagari. Instead of getting flavored soybeans, he ended up with bean curd.

Possible Variations:
dòufurǔ – fermented tofu
chòudòufu – stinky tofu
dòupào – fried tofu
dòngdòufu – thousand layer tofu

Related Cuisine:
Sichuan, Hubei cuisine