Tuesday, September 16, 2008


Youtiao, you char kway, or yau ja gwai , sometimes known in English as Chinese cruller or fried bread stick, is a long, golden-brown, strip of dough in Chinese cuisine and other and Southeast Asian cuisines and is usually eaten for breakfast. Conventionally, youtiao are lightly salted and made so they can be torn lengthwise in two. Youtiao are normally eaten as an accompaniment for rice congee or soy milk.


The Cantonese name ''yàuhjagwái'' literally means "oil-fried ghost" and, according to folklore, is an act of protest against official , who is said to have orchestrated the plot to frame the general Yue Fei, an icon of patriotism in . It is said that the food, originally taking the form of two deep-fried human-shaped dough but later evolved two doughs joining in the middle, represents Qin Hui and his wife, both having a hand in collaborating with the enemy to bring about the great general's demise. Thus the youtiao is deep fried and eaten as if done to the traitorous couple. In keeping with the legend, youtiao are often made as two foot-long rolls of dough joined along the middle, with one roll representing the husband and the other the wife.



Although generally known as ''yóutiáo'' throughout China, it is also known as ''guǒzi'' in . In -speaking areas it is known as ''yàuhjagwái'' which literally means "oil-fried devil".

The word ''yàuhjagwái'' is said by some to be a corruption of ''yàuhja Kúi'' . There are said to be several possible explanations involving this etymology:

* 檜 and 鬼 were pronounced similarly in the Chinese of the time, and the corruption occurred when the dish is spread to southern provinces, where the pronunciation differs.
* Qin Hui's actions caused a deep-rooted hatred that persisted despite his death. The dish's name changed ''yàuhjagwái'', with the word "ghost" referring to spirits of Qin and his wife.
* the population were afraid to openly declare their contempt towards the corrupt official when he was still in power; nevertheless, the food's name became a tool in expressing contempt.
* the Mandarin name ''yóuzhá Huì'' was subsequently shortened to ''yóuhuì'' and evolved into ''yóutiáo'', because of the shape.

However, a more likely explanation is that the name is a corruption of the Minnan name 油炸粿 , where 粿 means cake or pastry, hence "oil-fried cake/pastry".


The youtiao is also a popular breakfast food in Burma where it is called ''e kya kway''.


In Laos, the youtiao is generally called ''pah thawng ko'' and is commonly eaten with coffee at breakfast in place of a baguette . It is also eaten as an accompaniment to chicken noodle soup.

Malaysia and Singapore

In Singapore and Malaysia, it is known in English as you char kway, you char kuay, or u char kway, transliterations of its local name . It is rendered in as ''cakoi''.


In the Philippines, the youtiao is called ''bitsu'' although this name can also refer to sweetened, fried dough balls similar to the ''bunuelo'', also called ''cascaron''.


In Taiwan, the food is known by the Minnan name 油炸粿 or by the Mandarin ''yóutiáo''.


In Thailand, youtiao is generally called ''patongkoh'' due to a confusion with a different kind of dessert. ''Patongkoh'' is a Thai corruption of either Minnan ''beh teung guai'' or of ''baahktònggòu'' . However, both possible original names are different desserts, not to be confused with the real . It was previously sold together with youtiao by who normally walked around and shouted both names out loud. However, Thai customers often mistakenly thought that the more popular youtiao was ''"patongkoh"''. Eventually, the real ''patongkoh'' disappeared from the market because of its unpopularity. Ironically, the disappearance of real ''"patongkoh"'' leaves youtiao being called under the former's name, but the latter's real name is generally unknown amongst the Thais. But the original white sugar sponge cake can still be easily found in Trang Province in Southern Thailand under its original name.


In Vietnamese cuisine, it is known through a corruption of the pronunciation of the Cantonese name, as ''d?u cháo qu?'' or ''giò cháo qu?y''.

Other countries

In Australia it is sometimes called chopstick cake by some Cambodian Chinese immigrants because of its resemblance to a pair of chopsticks.

Culinary applications and variants

At breakfast, ''youtiao'' can be stuffed inside ''shāobǐng'' to make a sandwich known as shāobǐng yóutiáo . Youtiao wrapped in a rice noodle roll is known as ''zháliǎng''. Youtiao is also an important ingredient of the food ''Cífàn tuán'' in Shanghai cuisine.

''Tánggāo'' , or "sugar cake", is a sweet, fried food item similar in appearance to youtiao but shorter in length.

Similar Chinese foods

*Ox-tongue pastry

Similar other foods



Xiǎolóngbāo (literally "little basket bun"; also known as soup dumpling is a type of ''baozi'' from Eastern China, including Shanghai and Wuxi. These buns are traditionally steamed in bamboo baskets, hence the name.

Locally in Shanghai and surroundings, they are more often known as ''xiaolong mantou'' . ''Mantou'' means both filled and unfilled buns in southern China, but only means unfilled buns in northern China. To avoid confusion, the name ''xiaolongbao'' is usually used in other areas.


Chinese buns can be divided into two types depending on the level of leavening of the flour skin. Steamed buns made with raised flour are seen throughout the country, and are what is usually referred to as baozi. Steamed buns made with unraised flour are more commonly seen in . The Xiaolongbao belongs to the latter category. This means that its skin is smooth and somewhat translucent, rather than being white and fluffy. The similarity of this appearance to that of jiaozi has meant that the xiaolongbao is sometimes classified as a dumpling outside China. It is, however, different from both steamed and boiled jiaozi in texture and method of production.

Unlike other unraised flour buns, and baozi generally, the xiaolongbao has more filling than dough. It is also small in size, typically about 4 cm in diameter.

Xiaolongbao are traditionally filled with soup and meat, but variations include seafood and vegetarian fillings, as well as other possibilities. The soup inside is created by placing some meat gelatin inside the dumpling before steaming. The steam heat melts the gelatin into soup. In modern times, refrigeration makes it easy to wrap up using chilled gelatine which otherwise might be liquid at room temperature during hot weather.

As is traditional for buns of various sizes in the Jiangnan region, these steamed buns feature a skin that is gathered up into fine folds at the top, prior to steaming.


Traditionally, the Xiaolongbao is a '''' or snack item. The bun is served hot. It is dipped in with ginger slivers, and is traditionally served with a light, clear soup.

The Xiaolongbao has also become popular as a dish in a main meal. In regions and the West, it is also commonly served as a yum cha item.

Frozen ''xiaolongbao'' are now mass produced and a common type of frozen food sold in China and outside. They can be steamed and served on a bamboo basket.

Origins in Shanghai

The Shanghai version of the ''xiaolongbao'' were originally from a town called Nanxiang, a suburb of Shanghai in the Jiading District. The inventor of ''xiaolongbao'' originally sold them in his first store in Nanxiang next to the town's famous park, Guqi Garden. From there on it has expanded into downtown Shanghai and outwards. Two specialist Xiaolongbao restaurants are traditionally regarded as the most authentic. One is the Nanxiang Bun Shop , which derives from the original store in Nanxiang but now located in the City God Temple precinct, is famed for its crab meat-filled buns. Nanxiang Bun Shop has at least 105 years of history and has divisions opened in Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea and Singapore. The other is Gulong Restaurant, at the original site next to Guqi Garden in Nanxiang.

Wuxi variety

''Xiaolongbao'' in Wuxi tend to be sweeter and have a thinner dough skin, and are juicier than the Shanghai variety.

White sugar sponge cake

White sugar sponge cake is a type of . It is one of the most standard pastries in Hong Kong. Though overseas, it is much more rare in Chinatown bakery shops.

It is made from rice flour, white sugar, water, yeast, and baking powder.

While it is called a "cake," it is never served as a circular round cake. It is usually purchased as an individual triangular piece. The cake is spongy and soft, and sometimes has a slightly sour taste due to the fermentation of the batter before cooking. If left exposed to the air, it hardens quickly. It is usually kept under some cover to be kept moist. The cake is essentially sugar baked into a pastry formation.

A version of the cake, called ''bánh bò'', differs from the Chinese version in that it often uses coconut milk as an ingredient, and does not have the sourness that often typifies the Chinese version.

Swiss roll

Swiss roll is a type of sponge cake baked in a very shallow rectangular baking tray, and then filled, rolled up, and served in circular slices.

The origins of the term ''"Swiss"'' roll are unclear, since the cake does not have its origins in Switzerland, nor is it widely consumed there. It’s a German, Hungarian and probably Austrian type of cake. The shape of the Swiss roll has inspired usage of the term as a descriptive term in other fields, such as .



In Finland it's called ''k??retorttu'' , and known in English as Sweet roll.


In Hungary the Swiss rolls are called Lekváros tekercs.

Hong Kong

The origin of this pastry is likely from the U.K., since Hong Kong was a in the 19th century. The cake is never packaged as it is sold fresh daily in . Overall, this cake has been sold next to other Chinese pastries well before the popularizing of western-style bakeries such as . There are a couple of popular variations.
* The first is the Egg Roll version . The roll is made of an egg recipe, and a light whip cream filling is standard.
* The second is the Chocolate Egg Roll version . The roll is made of egg in combination with chocolate flavoring. It also has a whip cream filling.
* Some bakeries offer their own variations, such as combo layer made of egg and chocolate swirl. Other variations include strawberry, coffee, and .

Overseas Chinatowns

Most U.S. Chinatown bakeries sell the basic Hong Kong Egg Roll version. It essentially looks and taste identical to the one sold in Hong Kong.


In India Swiss rolls are called Jam Rolls.


In Indonesia, the Swiss Roll Cake is called "Bolu Gulung". Most bakeries sell Swiss Rolls daily, and they are filled with butter cream, cheese or fruit jam. It is also very common for the Swiss Rolls to be sold by the slice, but some shop sold by slice and roll.


Japan has green tea powder versions, such as matcha.


Philippines uses and mango.


Varieties produced in Malaysia include coconut, , blueberry, strawberry, and vanilla


In Spain it is called ''brazo de gitano'' and is a popular tea time snack.


In Sweden it's called ''rullt?rta'' . It is a popular accompaniment among older people when drinking coffee. The filling often consists of butter cream and strawberry jam. A chocolate version, made of potato flour instead of wheat flour, is also available and filled with with butter cream, and is called ''Dr?mrullt?rta'' .


The swiss roll is not widely eaten in Switzerland, where they are called Biscuitrolle, Roulade or g?teau roulé

United Kingdom

In the U.K the "collapsed swiss roll" is a popular variety of this sponge dessert. Cream and jam are often used to fill the roll, and berries are often embedded into the sponge cake to add weight to the layers, hence collapsing the roll shape.

United States

The most common method of making a swiss roll is to use a basic sponge cake recipe. A chocolate swiss roll is made in the same way, but cocoa powder is substituted for some of the flour, and the cake is filled either with whipped cream or with buttercream, sometimes flavoured with vanilla, chocolate, or a chocolate-flavoured liqueur. A chocolate swiss roll is sometimes called a chocolate log.


Rocambole is the name given to swiss roll, and p?o-de-ló to sponge cake.

Sweetheart cake

A sweetheart cake or wife cake is a traditional Chinese pastry made with winter melon and almond paste.

There are many classes held in Hong Kong for making sweetheart cakes. The sweetheart cake, though it has such a long history, is still popular among many in Hong Kong and Mainland China. Many people in Hong Kong, as well as professional chefs, are reportedly modifying this pastry to make it more "modern" and better-tasting.

Legendary Origin

There are two legends that attempt to explain the origins of the Sweetheart cake. One tells the tale of a couple that lived a very poor life in imperial China. They loved each other and lived in a small village.

Suddenly, a mysterious disease spread. The husband's father became very sick. The couple spent all of their money in order to treat the man's father, but he was still sick. The wife sold herself as a slave in exchange for money to buy medicine for her father-in-law.

Once the husband learned about what his wife did, he made a cake filled with winter melon and with a crispy crust. His cake became so popular that he was able to earn enough money to buy his wife back.

There is another version where the man was eating at someone's house and recognized his wife's pastry and was reunited.

Sou (pastry)

Sou is a type of dried flaky Chinese pastry found in a number of Chinese cuisine.

Dim sum

In Dim sum restaurants, Char siu sou is the most common version available. Other varieties may include century egg and lotus seed paste. These are commonly found in Hong Kong or Singapore in Asia. They may occasionally be found in some overseas Chinatowns.

Shanghai cuisine

In Shanghai cuisine a number of dried varieties are available. Such as peanut sou ,green bean sou or walnut sou . People often buy them for sourvenirs in boxed forms.



Shuangbaotai or horse hooves is a sweet Taiwanese with a cavernous hole and chewy dough on the inside and a crisp crust on the outside. It is made by twisting two small pieces of dough together and frying them, causing them to separate slightly while remaining connected. It is similar in taste and texture to a -style beignet from the United States.

In Taiwan, shuangbaotai are a type of ''xiaochi'' typically sold by hawkers at street stalls or in night markets but not in regular restaurants or bakeries.


The name of this food, 雙胞胎 , meaning "twins," is derived form the fact that the dish is two pastries twisted slightly together as if conjoined twins. The Minnan name is 馬花糋 , meaning roughly "horse-hoof cake", also in reference to its shape or 雙生仔 meaning twins.