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.

Shengjian mantou

Shengjian mantou , are a type of small, pan-fried baozi which is a specialty of Shanghai. It is usually filled with pork and gelatin that melts into soup when cooked. ''Shengjian mantou'' has been one of the most common breakfast items in Shanghai for the last century. As a ubiquitous breakfast item, it has a significant place in Shanghainese culture.


In , a filled bun is usually called "baozi" or "bao", while an unfilled bun is usually called a "mantou". However, in , the older word "mantou" refers to both filled and unfilled buns. Hence, the ''shengjian mantou'' is called a "mantou" despite being a filled bun. The same is true of the '''', which is called "''xiaolongbao''" elsewhere.

The name ''shengjian mantou'' is often abbreviated to ''shengjian''.


''Shengjian'' is made from semi- dough, wrapped around pork and gelatin fillings. The "knot" of the bun, where the dough is folded together, faces downwards. Chopped green onion and sesame are sprinkled on the buns during the cooking process.

The name of the bun comes from its method of cooking. The buns are lined up in an oiled, shallow, flat pan. Typical commercial pans are more than a metre in diameter. Water is sprayed on the buns during cooking to ensure the top is properly cooked. After frying, the bottom of the bun becomes crunchy, and the gelatin melts into soup. This combination gives the ''shengjian'' its unique flavour. Because the buns are tightly lined up in the pan, they become somewhat cube-shaped after cooking.

The traditional ''shengjian'' has pork fillings. Common variations include chicken, pork mixed with prawns, and pork mixed with crab meat.


''Shengjian'' is traditionally sold in lots of four . It is usually eaten at breakfast, and can be accompanied by poultry blood soup or beef soup. The buns themselves can be dipped in or Worcestershire Sauce. Because of the method of cooking, especially the relatively hard bottom, the buns are quite durable, and are therefore easily portable. They are often packed in paper bags for take-away consumption.

Some shops or restaurants sell the item throughout the day as a '''' or snack. It is rarely found as a dish in a main meal.

Cantonese cuisine

A similar, but less well known dim sum in Cantonese cuisine is the ''shengjian bao'', which usually uses mixed pork and vegetables for fillings.


Shaobing or huoshao is a baked, layered flatbread with sesame on top, in Chinese cuisine. They are usually made in two flavors: savoury or sweet. In the Mandarin cuisine tradition, shaobing are served with hot pot in winter.

Shaobing is also used as a bread with youtiao , a puffy fried dough, to make a sandwich called shāobǐng yóutiáo . This is usually eaten with hot soy milk for breakfast and is highly popular in northern mainland China and Taiwan.

Sausage bun

Sausage bun is a type of Chinese pastry. It is essentially the equivalent of the American hot dog. It is found in Hong Kong as well as many Chinese bakeries overseas. It uses westernized sausages instead of Chinese sausages, which are usually used as a cooking ingredient.


Sachima is a found in many Chinese-speaking regions. Each regional cuisine has its own slightly different variation of this food, though the appearance of all versions is essentially the same.


In , ''sachima'' is a sweet snack. It mainly consists of flour, butter, and rock sugar or rock candy. It is now popular in mainland China among children and adults.


The pastry version of ''sachima'' is very sweet. It is also made of essentially the same ingredients as the other varieties of ''sachima''. It is often sprinkled with dried coconut. The Cantonese variety of ''sachima'' ranges from chewy to hard in texture. Most Chinatowns offer the Cantonese style of the pastry. It is commonly found in Hong Kong.


Many of the Fujian distribution companies manufacture packaged versions of Sachima. This version has sesame and is made of wheat flour, vegetable oil, , milk, granular sugar, and malt sugar. The taste is comparatively plain compared to the more sweetened Cantonese version.

Pineapple bun

A pineapple bun is a kind of sweet pastry popular in Hong Kong, Macau, some other areas in , and in Chinese communities in North America. It is known in as ''bo lo baau'', in which "''bo lo''" means "pineapple", and "''''" refers to a kind of bun-like item in Chinese cuisine. It is commonly found in , and is mentioned quite frequently on TV, radio and films in Hong Kong.

The pastry

The top of the pineapple bun is made of a dough similar to that used to make sugar cookie, which consists of sugar, , flour, and lard. As such, it is crunchy and is quite sweet compared to the bread underneath. The bread dough underneath is the same used in Chinese style Western breads, which is a softer and sweeter dough compared to Western breads. It is a popular pastry for breakfast or afternoon tea.

Although the pastry is known as "''pineapple'' bun", the traditional version contains no pineapple. The name "pineapple bun" actually originated from the fact that its sugary top crust is cooked to a golden-brown color, and because its checkered top resembles the of a pineapple. It is high in calorific value , it has been declared one of the top 10 most harmful snack foods in Hong Kong.

It is very similar to the Japanese ''melonpan'' in its manner of cooking and in the fact that it is named according to its appearance.

Buttered variant

Many Hong Kong restaurants, such as ''cha chaan tengs'' and ''dai pai dongs'', offer an item called a "buttered pineapple bun", which is a pineapple bun with a piece of butter stuffed inside. They are known in Cantonese as bo lo yau , in which "''bo lo ''" means "pineapple," and "'yau'" refers to butter. Variants of this include using custard in place of butter.

Typically, the pastry would be brought hot from the oven to the diner's table, and served halved with a large slab of butter in between them. This item is sometimes criticised for containing too much fat and cholesterol.

Other common variants

The pineapple bun may come in miniature sizes , and/or it may be used as a bread-roll to sandwich for example luncheon meat , or it may be pre-stuffed with red bean paste , custard cream , barbecued pork , or a sweet filling of shredded coconut as in that in a cocktail bun. Amusingly, it is possible to order a ''pineapple pineapple bun'', actually stuffed with pineapple , although this is very likely the product of misinterpretation of the name by non-native bakers.

Popular culture

*McDull, the main character in the Hong Kong cartoon film ''McDull, Prince de la Bun'' is often seen with a pineapple bun, since the Chinese name of the file is ''菠蘿油王子''.
*In 2005, "Pineapple Bun" was nominated as a potential typhoon name but was rejected. The director of the Hong Kong Observatory, Lam Chiu Ying, as one of the judges for the naming process, commented: "If we say XX country is being ravaged by Pineapple Bun, that would be too hilarious."

Peanut butter bun

Peanut butter bun is a kind of Chinese pastry found in Hong Kong as well as Chinatown bakery shops overseas. The bun has layers of peanut butter fillings, sometimes with light sprinkles of sugar mixed with the peanut butter to add extra flavor. Unlike the other buns, the shape can vary depending on the store selling it.

Paper wrapped cake

Paper wrapped cake is a type of Chinese pastry. It is one of the most standard pastries served in Hong Kong. It can also be found in most Chinatown bakery shops overseas. In essence, it is a chiffon cake baked in a paper cup.

Ox-tongue pastry

Ox-tongue pastry is a Chinese that is elliptical in shape and resembles an ox tongue. The texture of this food is chewy and the fine on the inside and somewhat crunchy on the surface. Ox-tongue pastry is lightly sweetened, and eaten as part of breakfast with soy milk.


* 曾大平, , ''民間小吃製作圖解'', 萬里機構 ISBN 9621423767


Mooncakes are Chinese pastry traditionally eaten during the Mid-Autumn Festival. Typical mooncakes are round or rectangular pastries, measuring about 10 cm in diameter and 4-5 cm thick. A thick filling usually made from lotus seed paste is surrounded by a relatively thin crust and may contain yolks from salted duck eggs. Mooncakes are rich, heavy, and compared with most Western cakes and pastries. They are usually eaten in small wedges accompanied by Chinese tea.


Most mooncakes consist of a thin tender skin enveloping a sweet and slightly oily filling. The mooncake may contain one or more whole salted egg yolks in its center to symbolize the full moon. The saltiness of the yolk balances well with the sweet filling in the mooncake. Rarely, mooncakes are steamed or fried.

Traditional mooncakes have an imprint on top consisting of the Chinese characters for "longevity" or "harmony" as well as the name of the bakery and filling in the moon cake. Imprints of a moon, a , flowers, vines, or a rabbit may surround the characters for additional decoration.

Mooncakes are expensive and considered a delicacy, and production is labor-intensive and few people make them at home. Despite the difficulties in making mooncakes, they are very delicious and should be fully enjoyed. Most mooncakes are bought at s and . The price of mooncakes range from $10 to $50 .


Many types of fillings can be found in traditional mooncakes according to the region's culture:
*Lotus seed paste : Considered by some to be the original and most luxurious mooncake filling, lotus paste filling is found in all types of mooncakes. Due to the high price of lotus paste, white kidney bean paste is sometimes used as a filler.
*Sweet bean paste : A number of pastes are common fillings found in Chinese desserts. Although red bean paste, made from azuki beans, is the most common worldwide, there are regional and original preferences for bean paste made from Mung bean as well as known throughout history.
*Jujube paste : A sweet paste made from the ripe fruits of the jujube plant. The paste is dark red in colour, a little fruity/smoky in flavour and slightly sour in taste. Depending on the quality of the paste, jujube paste may be confused with red bean paste, which is sometimes used as a filler.
*Five kernel : A filling consisting of 5 types of nuts and seeds, coarsely chopped and held together with maltose syrup. Commonly used nuts and seeds include: walnuts, pumpkin seeds, watermelon seeds, peanuts, sesame, or almonds. In addition, the mixture will usually contain candied winter melon, jinhua ham, or pieces of rock sugar as additional flavouring.
*Yam Paste : A sweet paste made from Yam, a tuber from certain parts of Asia. The colour of the paste in the mooncake is purple and is most commonly used in Teochew crusty mooncakes.


Traditional mooncake vary widely depending on the region where the mooncake is produced. While most regions produce traditional mooncakes with many types of fillings, they usually only make their mooncake from one type of crust or another. Although vegetarian mooncakes may use vegetable oil, many mooncakes use lard in their recipes for a better taste. There are three types of mooncake crust used in Chinese cuisine:
*Chewy: This crust has a reddish-brown tone and glossy sheen. It is the most common type of crust used on -style mooncakes. It is also the most commonly seen type of mooncake in North America and many western countries. Chewy mooncake crusts are made using a combination of thick sugar syrup, lye water, flour, and oil, thus giving this crust its rich taste and a chewy yet tender texture. Chewiness can be increased further by adding maltose syrup to the mixture.
**The dough is also baked into fish or piglet shapes and sold at mooncake bakeries as a chewy snack. They often come individually packaged in small plastic baskets, to symbolize fish being caught or piglets being bound for sale.
*Flaky: Flaky crusts are most indicative of Suzhou-style mooncakes. The dough is made by rolling together alternating layers of oily dough and flour that has been in oil. This crust has a very similar texture to the likes of puff pastry.
*Tender: Mooncakes from certain provinces of China and Taiwan are often made to be tender rather than flaky or chewy. The texture of this type of mooncake crust is similar to the likes of the shortcrust pastry used in Western pie crusts or tart shells. Tender crusts are made mainly of a homogenous mix of sugar, oil, flour, and water. This type of crust is also commonly used in other type of Chinese pastries, such as the egg tart.

Regional variations

There are many regional variants of the mooncake. Types of traditional mooncakes include:

* -style mooncake: The Cantonese style mooncake is the most commonly seen throughout China and overseas. Originating from Guangdong province, the Cantonese style mooncake has up to 200 variations . The ingredients used for the fillings are various: lotus seed paste, melon seed paste, ham, chicken, duck, roast pork, mushrooms, egg yolks, etc. More elaborate versions contain four egg yolks, representing the four of the moon.

* Suzhou-style mooncake:: This style began more than a thousand years ago, and is known for its layers of flaky dough and generous allotment of sugar and lard. Within this regional type, there are more than a dozen variations. It is also smaller than most other regional varieties. Suzhou-style mooncakes feature both sweet and savoury types, the latter served hot and usually filled with pork mince.

* Beijing-style mooncake: This style has two variations. One is called "''di qiang''," which was influenced by the Suzhou-style mooncake. It has a light foamy dough as opposed to a flaky one. The other variation is called "''fan mao''" and has a flaky white dough. The two most popular fillings are the mountain and wisteria blossom flavour. The Beijing-style mooncake is often meticulously decorated.

*Chaoshan -style mooncake: This is another flaky crust variety, but is larger in size than the Suzhou variety. It is close in diameter to the Cantonese style, but thinner in thickness. A variety of fillings are used, but the aroma of lard after roasting is emphasised.

* Ningbo-style mooncake: This style is also inspired by the Suzhou-style. It is prevalent in Zhejiang province and has a compact covering. The fillings are either seaweed or ham; it is also known for its and salty flavour.

* Yunnan-style mooncake: Also known as "''t'o''" to the residents, its distinctive feature is the combination of various flours for the dough and includes rice flour, wheat flour, buckwheat flour, and more. Most of the variations within this style are sweet.


Modern mooncakes differ mainly from traditional types most vividly in the type of fillings that are offered. For instance, mooncakes containing taro paste and pineapple, which were considered novelty items at their time of invention have in recent years become commonplace items. In addition, ingredients such as coffee, chocolate, nuts , fruits , vegetables , ham, and even lychees have been added to give a modern twist to the traditional recipes.


Snowy mooncakes first appeared on the market in the early 1980's. These non-baked, chilled mooncakes were initially filled with traditional fillings such as lotus seed, red bean, or mung bean paste. However, the launch of a truffle snow-skin mooncake in 1994 by Raffles Hotel in Singapore, triggered a wave of modern mooncakes. H?agen-Dazs quickly followed on from this innovation, and were one of the first to create an ice-cream mooncake, with a choice of either the "traditional," snow-skin, or white, milk, and dark chocolate crusts. Moon Cakes have lately become Americanized very much in the United States. Instead of a filling of egg yolk, you can have them filled with marshmallows or chocolate.

Following this bit of lateral thinking, it was obvious these non-baked mooncakes could be filled with pretty much anything that could be made into a paste. An explosion of new flavours appeared and spanned the range from:
* cream cheese
* ginseng
* tiramisu
* green tea
* durian
* ice cream
* chocolate
* coffee
* peanut

White kidney bean paste or plain ice-cream are usually used as a base of flavours such as green tea, coffee, or ginseng, which are not thick enough or cannot be usually in large enough quantities to be a filling on their own.


Modern varieties of mooncakes are also different from their traditional counterparts in that their crusts typically do not require baking. However, they require refrigerating. There are two main varieties of modern mooncake crusts:
*Glutinous rice: A crust with texture similar to that of a mochi. These moon cakes are know colloquially as "''snow-skin mooncakes''" or "''ice-skin mooncakes''" .
*Jelly: A crust made of gelling mixtures such as agar, gelatin, or konjac and flavoured with a wide variety of fruit flavourings.

Healthy mooncakes

To adapt to today’s health-conscious lifestyle, many bakeries offer miniature mooncakes and fat-free mooncakes. Some are made of yogurt, , and fat-free ice-cream. Even high-fibre low-sugar mooncakes have made their appearance. To be competitive, bakers boast about how little sugar and oil they use in their mooncakes. Customers can pick and choose the size and filling that suits their taste and diet. For added hygiene, each cake is often wrapped in airtight plastic, accompanied by a tiny food preserver packet. The new version is well-accepted among young people in China.

Use in other countries or regions


The most traditional mooncake from Taiwan is filled with yam. Today, Taiwanese mooncakes have been influenced heavily by Japanese and European pastries, many mooncakes are made with finer and healthier ingredients. As a result, Taiwanese moon cakes are wide in variety that include low fat, lard free and ice cream versions. Popular modern flavors include green tea, chocolate and many others.


In Indonesia, local mooncakes are different from other varieties. They are circular like a moon, white, and rather thin. Fillings may include chocolate, cheese, milk, durian, and jackfruit. It is called "kue bulan".


In Japan, mooncakes are sold year-round, mainly in Japan's Chinatowns, pronounced in Japanese as "geppei". Azuki paste is the most popular filling for these mooncakes, but other sorts of beans as well as chestnut are also used. Unlike some types of Chinese mooncakes, mooncakes in Japan almost never contain an egg yolk in the centre.


In Vietnam, mooncakes are known as ''bánh trung thu'' and may contain a variety of fillings, such as savory roasted chicken, shark fins, mung beans, coconut or durian.

Cultural role

Mid-Autumn Festival

The festival is intricately linked to the , the ical Moon Goddess of Immortality. There is also a folk tale about facilitated by messages smuggled in moon cakes.

Because of its central role in the Mid-Autumn festival, mooncakes remain popular even in recent years; although with certain modifications. Part of the reason is that people are becoming more health-conscious. Traditional mooncakes are made with lard, and a lot of sugar. Another reason for its popularity is that the traditional mooncake has undergone much successful diversification. In fact, it has become so popular that many mooncakes are bought by businessmen who give them to their clients as presents. For many, mooncakes form a central part of the Mid-Autumn festival experience such that it is now commonly known as 'Mooncake Festival'.

Ming revolution

Mooncakes were used as a medium by the revolutionaries in their espionage effort to secretly distribute letters in order to overthrow the rulers of China in the Yuan dynasty. The idea is said to be conceived by Zhu Yuanzhang and his advisor , who circulated a rumor that a deadly plague was spreading and the only way to prevent it was to eat the special mooncakes. This prompted the quick distribution of the mooncakes, which were used to hide a secret message coordinating the Han Chinese revolt on the 15th day of the eighth lunar month.

Another method of hiding the message was printed in the surface of mooncakes as a simple puzzle or mosaic. In order to read the encrypted message, each of the 4 mooncakes packaged together must be cut into 4 parts each. The 16 pieces of mooncake, must then be pieced together in such a fashion that the secret messages can be read. The pieces of mooncake are then eaten to destroy the message.

Marry girl cake

Marry girl cake is a traditional Chinese pastry. It is considered one of the more ceremonial cakes used as gifts in the traditional Chinese wedding ceremony, hence the name. It can be found in Hong Kong and in some overseas Chinatowns. Due to cultural change over time, this cake is today considered simply a pastry, having lost most of its original significance.


The cake is essentially a lightly sweetened sponge cake, and, depending on the variety, may take any number of shapes or appearances. It is considered large compared to the size of most pastries. The internal base of the cake may consist of lotus seed paste.


Mantou sometimes known as Chinese steamed bun, is a kind of bun originating from China. It is typically eaten as a staple in Northern parts of China where wheat rather than rice is grown. Made with milled wheat flour, water and leavening agents, they are similar in nutrition and eating qualities to the white bread of the West. In size and texture, they range from 4 cm, soft and fluffy in the most elegant restaurants, to over 15 cm, firm and dense for the working man's lunch.

Traditionally, ''mantou'', '''', and wheat noodles were the staple carbohydrates of the Northern Chinese diet, analogous to the rice which forms the mainstay of the Southern Chinese diet. Mantou are also known in the south, but are often served as street food or a restaurant dish, rather than as a staple or home cooking. Restaurant mantou are often smaller and more delicate and can be further manipulated, for example by deep-frying and dipping in sweetened condensed milk.

They are often sold pre-cooked in the frozen section of Asian supermarkets, ready for preparation by steaming or heating in the microwave oven.

A similar food, but with a filling inside, is baozi. In some regions, mainly in Southern China, ''mantou'' can be used to indicate both the filled and unfilled buns.


There is a popular story in China that the name Mantou actually originated from the identically-pronounced word ''mántóu'' meaning "barbarian's head".

This story originates from the Three Kingdoms Period, when the strategist Zhuge Liang led the Army in . After subduing the barbarian king Meng Huo, Zhuge Liang led the army back to Shu, but met a swift-flowing river which defied all attempts to cross it. A barbarian lord informed him that, in olden days, the barbarians would sacrifice 50 men and throw their heads into the river to appease the river spirit and allow them to cross; Zhuge Liang, however, did not want to cause any more bloodshed, and instead killed the cows and horses the army brought along and filled their meat into buns shaped roughly like human heads - round with a flat base - to be made and then thrown into the river. After a successful crossing he named the buns "barbarian's head" , which evolved into the present day ''mántóu'' .

Variations in meaning outside Northern China

Prior to the Song Dynasty, the word ''mantou'' meant both filled and unfilled buns. The term ''baozi'' arose in the Song Dynasty to indicate filled buns only. As a result, ''mantou'' gradually came to indicate only unfilled buns in and other varieties of spoken Chinese. In , mantuu are basically the same as the Chinese mantou.

However, in many areas ''mantou'' still retains its meaning of filled buns. In the Jiangnan region, ''mantou'' usually means both filled and unfilled buns .

The name ''mantou'' is cognate to ; these are filled dumplings in , , Central Asian, and Pakistani cuisines. In Japan, usually indicates filled buns, which traditionally contain bean paste or minced meat-vegetable mixture . Filled mantou are called siopao in . In Korea, means jiaozi .

How to make Banana Mantou

* 3 Eggs
* 125 g Sugar
* 300 g Mashed Bananas
* 225 g Flour
* 2 tsp Baking Powder
* 1 tsp Baking Soda
* 100 g Oil
* 1/8 tsp Banana Essence

Sift together flour, baking powder and baking soda, set aside.
Whisk together eggs and sugar till fluffy.
Mix in bananas and banana essence, beat till combine.
Fold in flour mixture and oil.
Pour batter into muffin cups.
Steam for 15 to 20mins till cooked.

Mandarin roll

Mandarin rolls or Steamed Mandarin rolls are a kind of steamed bun originating from China. The rolls are cooked by steaming. It is another one of the staples of Chinese cuisine similarly to white bread in western cuisine. Because mandarin rolls are slightly sweet, they can be eaten plain. Sometimes it is eaten with . The rolls are made of wheat flour, water, sugar, soy bean oil, vegetable shortening, milk powder, salt, yeast and baking soda.

Lotus seed bun

Lotus seed bun is a Chinese pastry found in Hong Kong, Taiwan, China. It is sometimes available in overseas Chinatowns. It can be classified as a dim sum, though not exclusively so.


Because the bun has a variety of different appearances, the dough especially, can be different depending on where it is made. The dough is generally made of similar substances like the ones used in char siu baau.


Laobing is a type of unleavened flatbread sold in parts of northern China and used in Beijing cuisine. It is sometimes referred to as a Chinese pancake.

Laobing can be the size of a large pizza, about one centimeter thick, and is doughy and chewy in texture. Most laobing are plain, although some have scallions inside the pastry. Laobing is usually cut into slices and served as a staple food, or can be stir-fried with meat and vegetables to make chaobing .


Kompyang is a hot biscuit with onions that is popular in Sitiawan, Sibu, Ayer Tawar in Malaysia or anywhere with Hockchiew . It originates from the Fuzhou city, the capital of Fujian Province of China.

It is made using lard, onions, salt and flour. A ball of flour is stuffed with the other ingredients and flattened with a rolling pin, then it is slapped onto the sides of a homemade traditional Chinese oven. Meat are also usually, but not necessarily, stuffed in-between the biscuits. The biscuits take approximately 15 minutes to bake.

Jin deui

Jin deui is a type of fried made from glutinous rice flour and commonly found in the Far East. The pastry is coated with sesame seeds on the outside and is crisp and quite chewy. Inside of the pastry is a large hollow, caused by the expansion of the dough,which is partially filled with a filling usually consisting of . Alternatively black bean paste, called ''dousha'' may be used, and less commonly red bean paste .

Depending on the region and Chinese cultures, jin deui is known as ''matuan'' in northern China, ''ma yuan'' in northeast China, and ''jen dai'' in Hainan. In American restaurants it is known as Sesame Rice Ball.


The origins of jin deui can be traced back to the Tang dynasty as a palace food in Changan, known as ''ludeui'' . This food item was also recalled in a poem by the Tang poet Wang Fanzhi. With the southward migration of many peoples from central China, the jin deui was brought along and hence became part of southern Chinese cuisine.



In Hong Kong, it is one of the most standard pastries. It can also be found in most Chinatown bakery shops overseas.


In , two very similar dishes are called ''bánh cam'' and ''bánh rán'' , both of which have a somewhat drier filling that is made from sweetened . ''Bánh rán'' is scented with jasmine flower essence .

Ham and egg bun

Ham and egg bun is a type of Chinese pastry. It contains a sheet of egg and ham. It is commonly found in Hong Kong as well as some Chinatown bakery shops overseas.

Green onion pancake

A green onion pancake is a , non- flatbread folded with and minced scallions . Unlike a true pancake, it is made from dough instead of , similar to the paratha. It is available in China, Taiwan, and other areas of the world with significant Chinese populations in restaurants and as a street food item, and is also commercially available in plastic packages in Asian supermarkets.

Variations and innovations

Other ingredients, such as chopped fennel greens and sesame seeds are sometimes added with the green onions. One could substitute the green onions with another topping of choice such as corn and diced bell peppers. There is actually a Chinese dessert called red bean pancakes where the green onions and salt are replaced with a sweet red bean paste.

Another method for cooking green onion pancakes is to fry them with eggs coated on one side. There is another Chinese snack called egg pancake , which is almost identical to the green onion pancake except that the dough of the egg pancake is thinner and moister.

A similar pancake may be made with garlic chives instead of scallions. Such a pancake is called a ''jiucai bing'' or ''jiucai you bing'' .

One variation involves leavening the dough and not flattening up the coil into a pancake. The coil is then fried or baked into a bread.

In North America, the pancakes are often served with soy sauce, hot chili sauce, or Vietnamese dipping sauce.

Chinese myth surrounding the invention of pizza

There exists in China and Taiwan an erroneous belief that pizza is an evolution of green onion pancake, brought back to Italy by Marco Polo. Here is one version of the legend:
Marco Polo missed green onion pancakes so much that when he was back in Italy, he tried to find chefs willing to make the pancake for him. One day, he managed to meet a chef from Naples at a friend's dinner party and persuaded him to try recreating the dish. After half a day without success, Marco Polo suggested the filling be put at the top rather than inside the dough. The change, by chance, created a dish praised by everyone at the party. The chefs returned to Naples and improvised by adding cheese and other ingredients and formed today's pizza.

Go Believe

Go Believe is a famous brand of baozi from Tianjin, China. Founded in 1858, it is one of China's longest established brands.
Several explanations have been offered for its unusual name; perhaps the most common is that it comes from a childhood nickname of the founder, Gao Gui 高贵, given to protect him from bad luck. Another spinoff of the story says that Gao Gui, after the wild success of his baozi business, had less and less time to converse with his patrons, which led to a joke amongst the patrons that Gao Gui does not care about them, hence the name "Dog Won't Care". According to tradition, the Empress Dowager Cixi was brought some Goubuli baozi by Yuan Shikai, who returned from Tianjin, and she pronounced them delicious, instantly adding to their fame.

A proper name was created for the restaurant recently, in anticipation of the Beijing Olympics. The English name's pronunciation is similar to the pronunciation of the Chinese name.

As of 2005, the Goubuli brand is owned by the Chinese pharmaceutical company Tong Ren Tang.

Egg tart

Egg tarts, custard tarts, or egg custard tarts are a kind of pastry popular in many parts of the world but particularly in Chinese and Western European cuisines. The tarts consist of an outer pastry crust, filled with custard and baked.


Custard tarts were introduced in Hong Kong in the 1940s by cha chaan tengs and western cafes and to compete with dim sum restaurants particularly for yum cha. It later evolved to become egg tarts today. At the time, egg tarts were twice the size of today's tarts. During the 1950s and 1960s when the economy started taking off, Luk Jyu took the lead with the mini-egg tart.. ''Casa Pastéis de Belém'' was the first pastry shop outside of the convent to sell this pastry in 1837, and it is now a popular pastry in every pastry shop around the world owned by Portuguese descendants.

The Portuguese-style egg tarts known in Macau originated from Lord Stow's Café in Coloane, owned by a Briton named Andrew Stow. Stow modified the recipe of pastel de nata using techniques of making English custard tarts . It has since become available at numerous bakeries, as well as Macau-style restaurants and Chinese, Hong Kong and Taiwan branches of the KFC restaurant chain. There was a craze in Singapore and Taiwan in the late 1990s.

Curry beef triangle

Curry beef triangle is a type of . It is one of the standard pastries in Hong Kong. Overseas, it is much more rare in Chinatown bakery shops. Depending on the store, it may not be a standard everyday selection at all. It should not be confused with the Malaysian curry puff.

The pastry is shaped in a half-moon crescent. It has curry beef filling in the center and is also crunchy. The outer shell is thick and flaky.

Cream bun

Cream bun is a type of Chinese pastry. It is one of the most standard pastries in Hong Kong. It can also be found in most Chinatown bakery shops overseas. The bun has either butter cream or filling down the middle with coconut sprinkles on the outside.

Cocktail bun

The cocktail bun, a specialty of Hong Kong, originating in the 1950s, is a type of bun stuffed with a filling comprised of unsold buns, sugar, and shredded coconut. At the time, the proprietors of bakeries found aversion to the wasteful disposal of unsold, but nonetheless edible, buns. As a solution to this problem, the cost-saving cocktail bun was formulated.

By mashing the left-over buns and adding granulated sugar, buns left unsold could be resold. This hodgepodge of ingredients likened it to the bakery counterpart of alcoholic cocktails, thus deriving its name. Later on, shredded coconut was added to the recipe, producing an even more appetizing flavor.

The shiny golden-brown exterior color comes from a combination of a light egg wash and/or sugar glaze. The chewy interior is bread-like with the coconut filling. The exterior also often has some swoosh mark made from the coconut filling and may have sprinkled sesame seeds.

Each bun is approximately 6 to 8 inches long and 2 to 3 inches high in the shape of a small baguette.

Chinese pancake

Chinese pancakes are pancakes found in Chinese cuisine. They may be either savory or sweet, and are generally made with dough rather than batter. They include the following:

*Bao bing , a variety of thin pancake
* , the generic Chinese term for disc-shaped flatbreads
*Green onion pancake , a salty, unleavened flatbread whose dough contains oil and minced scallions .
*Laobing , an unleavened flatbread made from wheat flour
*Jian bing , a thin, fried egg pancake similar to a crepe
*Shaobing , a baked, layered flatbread topped with sesame seeds; may be savory or sweet

Chinese bakery

Chinese bakeries in big cities like Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Shanghai, and across the world in Chinatowns, serve traditional Chinese goods such as mooncakes, sun cakes, and s. Such establishments may also serve tea, coffee, and other drinks.

Bakery types

There are generally two types of Chinese bakeries: Hong Kong styled bakeries and Taiwan styled bakeries. The baked goods in these two types of bakeries differ although they may sell some of the same goods. For instance, the Bread Cake was developed in Taiwan styled bakeries while the Cocktail bun is a Hong Kong style product. Hong Kong, in particular drew its western influence from the pre-1997 British colonial and European style . Another type is Chinese style bakeries which can be found in Malaysian cities with large Chinese populations, such as Penang, Ipoh and Malacca and offer certain innovations that cannot be found in China itself.

Eastern-origin pastry

* Almond Biscuit: A golden, delicate cookie with a light almond taste.
* Banana roll
* Beef Bun
* Cha Siu Baau: This bun can be steamed or baked and is filled with and onions.
* : These are sweet and filled with shredded coconut.
* Cream Bun
* Curry Beef Triangle
* : This is a delicate pastry tart with a lightly sweet golden egg custard filling.
* Lotus seed bun
* Marry girl cake
* Mooncake: The traditional variations are heavy lotus seed paste filled pastry, sometimes with 1-2 egg yolks in its centre. Modern variations have altered both the pastry crust and filling for more variety. These are served at the Mid-Autumn Festival.
* Nuo Mi Zi: A sweet glutinous rice dumpling with different fillings such as red bean paste, black sesame paste, and peanuts.
* Paper Wrapped Cake: Spongy and light, these are plain chiffon cakes wrapped in paper.
* : This bun does not contain pineapples, but derived its name from the 'pineapple-like' appearance of the top which is a tender crispy, sweet, golden crust.
* : Like a pineapple bun, except with fillings such as custard and red bean paste.
* Sausage Bun
* Sachima
* White Sugar Sponge Cake
* : A round flaky pastry with a translucent white winter melon paste centre.
* Zin Dou

Western-influenced pastry



* Tea
* Bubble Tea : Large tapioca pearls are served in tea with milk.
* : black tea sweetened with sweet evaporated milk.
* Coffee: usually served with light cream.
* : a blend of tea and coffee, popular in Hong Kong.

Cha siu baau

Cha siu baau are barbecue pork . The buns are filled with barbecue-flavoured . They are served as a type of dim sum during ''yum cha'' and are sometimes sold in .


There are two major kinds of cha siu baau: steamed and baked . Steamed cha siu baau has a white exterior, while its baked counterpart is browned and glazed. Another variety of these buns, made with puff pastry, are called cha siu sou.


Although visually similar to other types of steamed ''baozi'', the dough of steamed ''cha siu baau'' is unique since it makes use of both yeast and baking powder as leavening . This unique mix of leavening gives the dough of ''cha siu baau'' a soft, fluffy, and almost cake-like texture. Indeed the texture of the dough is so appealing that many other types of steamed baozi are made using ''cha siu baau'' dough.


Bing (Chinese flatbread)

Bing is a term used to describe dough-based flatbreads, pancakes, unleavened dough foods, or indeed any food item with a flat disk-like shape. Many of them are similar to the Indian roti, French crepes, or Mexican tortilla, while others are more similar to Western cakes and cookies.


Some common types include:
*''Fa mian bing''
*''Qian ceng bing''
*''Jian bing'' .
*''Báo bǐng'' , or ''mù xū bǐng''
''Bing''s are a casual food, generally eaten for lunch. A famous meal involving ''bing'' is Peking duck and moo shu pork, both of which are rolled up in thin wheat flour ''bao bing'' called with scallions and sweet noodle sauce or hoisin sauce. ''Bing''s are cooked on a skillet or griddle.

Some cakes and patties are also referred to as ''bing'', such as ''yuèbǐng'' , and ''luo buo si bing'' .

''Bing''s are also eaten in Korean culture, the most common being ''jian bing'', which are consumed together with seafood.

Beef bun

Beef bun is a type of Chinese pastry. It is one of the most standard pastries in Hong Kong and can also be found in most Chinatown bakery shops overseas. The bun has a ground beef filling, sometimes include pieces of onions.


A baozi , or simply known as bao, bau, pow, or nunu, is a type of , filled bun or bread-like item in various Chinese cuisines, as there is much variation as to the fillings and the preparations. In its bun-like aspect it is very similar to the traditional Chinese mantou. It can be filled with meat and/or vegetarian fillings, and is usually seasoned with nutmeg. It can be eaten at any meal in Chinese culture, and is often eaten for breakfast.

According to legend, they were invented by the scholar and military strategist Zhuge Liang .

Well known types of baozi include:

*''Cha siu baau'' or ''Charsiu bau'' or ''manapua'', filled with barbecue-flavoured .
*''Goubuli baozi'' : a meat-filled baozi variety from Tianjin; its name literally means, "Baozi that dogs ignore"
*''Xiaolongbao'' : a small, meat-filled baozi from Shanghai containing a juicy broth. Because it is succulent and prepared with leavened dough, it is sometimes considered different from other bao types, and more closely resembles a jiaozi
*''Shengjian mantou'' : a small, meat-filled, fried baozi from Shanghai.
*''Tangbao'' : a large, soup-filled baozi from Yangzhou, containing mainly soup. Two forms exist. One of which is similar in looks to normal baozi and the other kind in steamed into the bamboo steamer. The Former is more traditional and eaten by biting it open to empty its liquid on a spoon. The other is more modern and the liquid is first directly drunk with a straw, with the flour skin eaten afterwards. Sometimes confused as one with ''xiaolongbao'' because of a similar emphasis on soup.
*''Doushabao'' is a type of baozi filled with sweet red bean paste .
*''LianRong bau'' : is a type of baozi filled with sweetened Lotus seed paste .
*''Naihuangbao'' : filled with sweet yellow custard filling.
* ''Zhima bao'' are steamed buns filled with a black sesame paste.

Banana roll

Banana roll is a common Chinese pastry found in Hong Kong, and may occasionally be found in some overseas Chinatowns. The pastry is soft and made with glutinous rice. Ingredients may vary a little depending on where it is purchased. Each roll is a vanilla flavored circular tube, slightly bigger than an adult sized index finger, thus resembling banana. Sometimes it may have a cinnamon swirl filling. While other times, the more traditional red bean paste maybe used.