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What is a Bao

10/8/2012 1:01:31 PM | by Anonymous


Also known as baozi, bau or pau, bao is a type of Chinese steamed bun or baked bread that has a variation of fillings and preparation methods. The bun or bread is made out of yeast, whereas the filling that goes inside it can range from pork and chicken to mushrooms and vegetables. These buns can be commonly purchased at dim sum parlors or Chinese restaurants. Commonly available in two variations across China; Dabao which is big in size and served individually and the Xiaobao, which is smaller in size, have a common serving method. If served at restaurants, the bao is served with vinegar or soy sauce along with chilli paste in ceramic dishes. Over the years, the popularity of the bao has grown worldwide due to the fusion on cultures, with several variations of the bao available now are a result of cultural cuisine fusion.


One reason for the popularity of this dish can be the fact that they can be available in a variety of fillings that cater to the taste buds of different people. Also the soft exterior made of dough, which is a primary ingredient in the recipe of making a bao, is popular with people who are looking for a light snack. The dish is also very simple to make at home and doesn’t require much effort, with only two main components required to be prepared, the dough which would make the exterior and the filling. Some people may prefer to eat the bao simply with soy, vinegar or chilli paste without any filling inside. The simplicity of the dish makes it popular amongst many.


Bao is a very popular dish in Chinese cultures, even outside of mainland China. Due to the migrations of Chinese people in countries all over the world, their culture and cuisine have been seen receiving recognition and popularity all over the world. Just like other popular Chinese dishes, bao has been well accepted by cultures worldwide. An example can be the Malay culture in Malaysia adopting the bao as their own. Due to the long history of Chinese immigrants in Malaysia, the Chinese culture has become a part of Malaysia with the Malays having adopted several of Chinese cuisine dishes, amongst which is the bao. Having been adopted by the Malay culture, the bao has seen an influence of the Malay Culture. There are now bao filled with potato, beef or chicken curry which is similar to Malay curry puffs. Also, these bao are prepared in accordance to Muslim dietary laws such that the food is halal.


As mentioned earlier, the preparation of bao only requires the creating of the dough and making the filling. Depending on the filling that is inside the bao, the taste of the bao can either be sweet, or savory. A common popular filling that is used in these buns is the char siew, which is roasted pork. Some variations of bao include the Goubuli bao which is filled with a variety of meats, shengjian mantou which is a small meat filled bao that had been fried and the Tangbaozi, which is a large soup-filled bao that has a straw protruding out from it for the soup to be drunk.


Consumption of baozi can contribute to good health if consumed in moderation. Just like every other food, the consumption of baozi should be in moderation as over eating the same food can cause an individual to develop health issues, depending on the filling used inside the baozi. For example eating bao that had been prepared in a non-fried manner, along with the filling inside having less fat can contribute to good nutrition of the person. Also if the bao contains fillings such as vegetables, it can be very beneficial to the health of that individual.

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