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Baozi Chengdu.JPG
Meat-filled baozi for sale in a market
Alternative namesBao, humbow, pau
TypeFilled steamed bread
Place of originNorth China
Region or stateEast Asia
VariationsDabao, xiaobao
Baozi (Chinese characters).svg
"Baozi" in Chinese characters

Baozi (Chinese: About this sound包子), or bao, is a type of yeast-leavened filled bun[1] in various Chinese cuisines. There are many variations in fillings (meat or vegetarian) and preparations, though the buns are most often steamed. They are a variation of mantou from Northern China.

Two types are found in most parts of China and Indonesia: Dàbāo (大包, "big bun"), measuring about 10 cm across, served individually, and usually purchased for take-away. The other type, Xiǎobāo (小包, "small bun"), measure approximately 5 cm wide, and are most commonly eaten in restaurants, but may also be purchased for take-away. Each order consists of a steamer containing between three and ten pieces. A small ceramic dish for dipping the baozi is provided for vinegar or soy sauce, both of which are available in bottles at the table, along with various types of chili and garlic pastes, oils or infusions, fresh coriander and leeks, sesame oil, and other flavorings. They are popular all over China.

History and etymology[edit]

Written records from the Song dynasty show the term baozi in use for filled buns.[2][3] Prior to the Northern Song Dynasty (960–1279), the word mantou was used for both filled and unfilled buns.[4] According to legend, the filled baozi is a variation of were invented by military strategist Zhuge Liang.[5] Over time mantou came to indicate only unfilled buns in Mandarin and some varieties of Chinese, although the Wu Chinese languages continue to use mantou to refer to both filled and unfilled buns.[citation needed]


Japanese variations
Making of baozi
English name/ Pīnyīn Chinese name



Other names Description
Cha siu bao, Charsiu bau 叉燒包
caa1 siu1 baau1
manapua, Siopao Filled with barbecue-flavoured char siu pork; typical of Cantonese cuisine (Guangdong province and Hong Kong)
Goubuli 狗不理
a well known restaurant chain specializing in baozi considered characteristic of Tianjin, Northern China; Its name literally means, "Dog ignores it".
Xiaolongbao 小籠包
a small, meat-filled baozi from Shanghai Containing a juicy broth. Because it is succulent and prepared only with thin, partially leavened dough, it is sometimes considered different from other bao types, and more closely resembles a jiaozi (dumpling)
Shuijianbao 水煎包
Very similar to xiaolongbao, but pan-fried instead of steamed.
Shengjian mantou 生煎饅頭
shēngjiān mántou
A small, meat-filled, fried baozi from Shanghai
Tangbaozi 湯包
a large soup-filled baozi from Yangzhou Drunk through a straw;
in other areas of China, it is small in size with rich soup
Doushabao 豆沙包
Hokkien: tāu-se-pau Filled with sweet bean paste
Lotus seed bun 蓮蓉包
Filled with sweetened lotus seed paste
Kaya-baozi 咖央包子
Malay: pau kaya filled with Kaya, a popular jam made from coconut, eggs, and sometimes pandan in Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore
Naihuangbao 奶黃包
filled with sweet yellow custard filling
Shāobāo, siopao 燒包
Philippine: siyopaw steamed, filled with either chicken, pork, shrimp or salted egg
Zhimabao 芝麻包
steamed, filled with a black sesame paste
Yacaibao (Beansprout-bao) 芽菜包
steamed, filled with a type of pickle, spices and possibly other vegetables or meat, common in Sichuan, China
Bah-pau 肉包
Hokkien: bah-pau
Indonesian: bakpau
filled with minced pork as well as chocolate, strawberry, cheese, mung bean, red bean, minced beef, or diced chicken.
Big Pau 大包
large buns filled with pork, eggs and other ingredients
Gua bao 割包
Originated as Fujianese street food. Unlike other types of Bao, Gua Bao is made by folding over the flat steamed dough and is thus open. Designed to fit easily in your hands and has a wide variety of fillings.
Crisp Stuffed Bun 破酥包
A lard-layered bun with pork, lard, bamboo shoot, and soy sauce; or with the filling of Yunnan ham and white sugar or brown sugar. Crisp Stuffed Bun was created by a chef from Yuxi almost a hundred years ago.


In many Chinese cultures, these buns are a popular food, and widely available.[1] While they can be eaten at any meal, baozi are often eaten for breakfast. They are also popular as a portable snack or meal.

The dish has also become common place throughout various regions of South East Asia due to longstanding Chinese immigration.

  • Due to the long history of Chinese overseas diaspora in Malaysia, the Malays have adopted these buns as their own. A particularly Malay form of the baozi (called pau in Malay) is filled with potato curry, chicken curry or beef curry that are similar to the fillings of Malay curry puffs. Some variants have a quail egg in the middle, in addition to the curry. Due to the Muslim beliefs of most Malays, these buns are halal and contain no pork. One can find Malay stalls selling the buns by the roadside, at pasar malams (night markets), highway rest stops, and pasar Ramadans (Ramadan food bazaars).
  • Similarly, in Indonesia the dish has been adopted into Indonesian cuisine through the integration of Chinese culture. It has been adopted through the Hokkien name of bakpau. In addition to meat fillings, local variants include: chocolate, sweet potato, and marmalade filling.
  • As a colonial influence from Indonesia, at supermarkets in the Netherlands one can easily find frozen bapao or bakpao wrapped in plastic, ready-made to be heated inside a microwave. The most prevalent filling is chicken, although there are pork and beef variants available as well. This food is culturally categorized as a quick snack or a fast-food item. Fresh forms of this steamed bun are not seen outside of the Chinese community within the country.
  • In the Philippines, their version of baozi is called siopao brought by Chinese immigrants (Sangleys) prior to Spanish colonialism.[citation needed] A Filipino siopao filling contains meatballs, Philippine adobo, flaked tuna and pork, and sometimes chocolate and cheese.
  • A similar concept is also present in Thailand, called salapao.
  • Baozi is also very popular in Japan where it's known as nikuman and is typically sold in convenience stores.
  • Baozi is called Num Bao in Cambodian. It is a popular snack in Cambodia and is usually homemade or sold in street markets.
  • Bánh bao is the Vietnamese version of the Cantonese tai bao that was brought over by Chinese immigrants.
  • The Myanmar version is called "Pauk-si"[6][7] and is a popular snack available in almost every traditional tea shops.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Phillips, C. (2016). All Under Heaven: Recipes from the 35 Cuisines of China. Ten Speed Press. p. 405. ISBN 978-1-60774-982-0. Retrieved November 5, 2016.
  2. ^ "Shǐ huà " mán tóu " hé " bāo zǐ " yóu lái" 史話“饅頭”和“包子”由來 (in Chinese).
  3. ^ 王栐(北宋). 燕翼冶谋录. “仁宗诞日,赐群臣包子。”包子下注“即馒头别名。”、“今俗屑发酵,或有馅,或无馅,蒸食之者,都谓之馒头。”
  4. ^ cf Zhuge Liang tale; also "Shǐ huà " mán tóu " hé " bāo zǐ " yóu lái" 史話“饅頭”和“包子”由來 (in Chinese).
  5. ^ 周达观(). 诚斋杂记. 孔明征孟获。人曰:蛮地多邪,用人首祭神,则出兵利。孔明杂以羊豕之内,以面包之,以像人头。此为馒头之始。
  6. ^ ": ေပါက္စီ". Sofia Food Paradise. December 23, 2015.
  7. ^ "၀က္သား ေပါက္စီ အိအိေလး". Wutyee Food House.