|Bo lo baau|
|Place of origin:|
|Sugar, eggs, flour, and lard|
|Recipes at Wikibooks:|
|Media at Wikimedia Commons:|
|Simplified Chinese||菠萝 包|
|Traditional Chinese||菠蘿 包|
|Literal meaning||pineapple bun|
A pineapple bun is a kind of sweet bun predominantly popular in Hong Kong and Macau, though they are not uncommon in Chinatowns worldwide. It is known in Cantonese Chinese as bo lo baau, in which "bo lo" means "pineapple", and "baau" refers to a kind of bun-like item in Chinese cuisine.
The top of the pineapple bun (the part which is made to resemble a pineapple) is made of a dough similar to that used to make sugar cookies, which consists of sugar, eggs, flour, and lard. 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 popular with breakfast or afternoon tea.
Although it is known as "pineapple bun", the traditional version contains no pineapple. The name originated from the fact that its sugary top crust is cooked to a golden-brown color, and because its checkered top resembles the epicarp of a pineapple. 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.
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 Chinese as bo lo yau (菠蘿油), in which "bo lo " means "pineapple," and "'yau'" (oil) refers to butter. Variants of this include using custard in place of butter.
Typically, the bun would be brought hot from the oven to the diner's table, and served halved with a large slab of butter in between the halves. This item is sometimes criticised for containing too much fat and cholesterol.
Other common variants
The pineapple bun may come in miniature sizes (迷你菠蘿包), it may be used as a bread roll for sandwiches with luncheon meat (餐肉菠蘿包), or it may be pre-stuffed with red bean paste (紅豆菠蘿包), custard cream (奶黃菠蘿包), barbecued pork (叉燒菠蘿包), or a sweet filling of shredded coconut (椰絲菠蘿包) like that in a cocktail bun. It is possible to order a pineapple pineapple bun, actually stuffed with pineapple (菠蘿菠蘿包), although this is very likely the product of misinterpretation of the name by non-native bakers.
Japanese "Melonpan" and Korean soboro ppang (소보로 빵) or soboru ppang (소보루 빵) are variants that use the same ingredients for a German streusel-like texture on top but without resemblance to a pineapple.
In 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 film is 菠蘿油王子 (Prince of Pineapple Bun with Butter).
- In 2005, "Pineapple Bun" was nominated as a potential Pacific typhoon name but was rejected. Former 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."
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