Place of origin
|Dough (corn starch, sweet potato starch, rice flour), pork, bamboo shoots, shiitake mushrooms|
Ba-wan (Chinese: 肉圓; pinyin: ròu yuán; Wade–Giles: jou4-yüan2; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: bah-ôan; literally: "meat sphere") is a Taiwanese snack food, consisting of a 6-8 cm diameter disk-shaped translucent dough filled with a savory stuffing and served with a sweet and savory sauce. The stuffing varies widely according to different regions in Taiwan, but usually consists of a mixture of pork, bamboo shoots, and shiitake mushrooms. Changhua-style ba-wan is considered to be the "standard" ba-wan as it is the most famous and most widely imitated of all styles of ba-wan.
The term "ba-wan" is a non-standard romanization of the Taiwanese pronunciation of "肉圓", as well as "肉丸" (in Mandarin, ròu wán; "meatball"). In Lukang, ba-wan are known as "bah-hôe" (肉回; ròu huí; lit. "meat returns") because they take on a block-like shape as embodied in the shape of 回.
The gelatinous dough is made of a combination of corn starch, sweet potato starch, and rice flour, which gives it its chewy, sticky, and gelatinous texture and a greyish translucent hue. Ba-wan are initially cooked by steaming; however, they may also be served after being deep fried to give them a "skin" or gently poached in oil to heat them without drying them out.
It is believed that ba-wan were first prepared in the Beidou township of Taiwan by a student by the name of Fàn Wànjū (范萬居) as food for disaster relief during the late Qing dynasty (1644–1912), when the Beidou region was struck by heavy floods. Since then, ba-wan had spread to different regions of Taiwan and is now considered by many as a national food, and can be found in most night markets in Taiwan. Their form makes them relatively easy to pre-make and store. Like potstickers or steamed buns, they can be quickly heated again in oil before serving.
- 林明德, 2002, 彰化縣飲食文化, 彰化市：彰化縣文化局