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Meat-filled baozi for sale in a market
Alternative namesBao, humbow, pau, Pao-tsih
TypeFilled steamed bread
Place of originChina
Region or stateGreater China, East Asia, Chinatown all over the world
VariationsDabao, xiaobao
"Baozi" in Chinese characters
Alternative Chinese name

Baozi (Chinese: 包子), or simply 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: Dàbāo (大包, "big bun"), measuring about ten centimetres (four inches) across, served individually, and usually purchased for take-away. The other type, Xiǎobāo (小包, "small bun"), measures approximately five centimetres (two inches) 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.

Baozi are popular throughout China and have made their way into the cuisines of many other countries through the Chinese diaspora.

History and etymology

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 manta 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 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/小笼包
a small, meat-filled baozi from Shanghai containing an aspic that reverts to a juicy broth when cooked. 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/生煎馒头
shēngjiān mántou
A small, meat-filled, fried baozi from Shanghai.
Tangbaozi 湯包/汤包
a large soup-filled baozi from Yangzhou Drunk through a straw;
in other areas of China, it is small in size with a rich soup.
Doushabao 豆沙包
Hokkien: tāu-se-pau Filled with sweet bean paste.
Lotus seed bun 蓮蓉包/莲蓉包
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/奶黄包
filled with sweet yellow custard filling
Siopao 燒包
Filipino/Tagalog: siyopaw steamed, filled with either chicken, pork, shrimp or salted egg
Zhimabao 芝麻包
steamed, filled with a black sesame paste
Yacaibao 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
Indonesian: bakpau or bakpao

Javanese: ꦧꦏ꧀ꦥꦲꦸ, romanized: bakpau Dutch: bapao

filled with minced pork, or alternatively 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
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.[citation needed]
Tandoori Baozi 烤包子
Kao Baozi
Uyghur: سامسا
A Uyghur specialty, cooked in tandoor instead of steaming it. Usually filled with lamb, potatoes, and spices.

Gua bao

Gua bao (割包/刈包, koah-pau, 虎咬豬/虎咬猪, hó͘-kā-ti) 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.

Outside of China

Broken open bakpau showing minced meat filling, served with sweet chili sauce

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 Northeast Asia with cultural and ethnic relationships, as well as Southeast Asia and outside Asia due to long standing Chinese immigration.

Cambodian num pao

See also


  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). Archived from the original on 2023-04-30. Retrieved 2020-05-17.
  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). Archived from the original on 2023-04-30. Retrieved 2020-05-17.
  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. ^ Mezhenina, Tatiana. "Close-up buryat, mongolian or chinese traditional buuz, buuza,." 123RF. Archived from the original on 2021-10-21. Retrieved 2021-01-13. (image) Close-up of buryat, mongolian or chinese traditional buuz, buuza, baozi. Asian steamed food made of dough and meat.
  7. ^ Getty. "Close-Up Of chinese origin meat dumplings, aka buuz or buzza or..." Getty Images. Archived from the original on 2021-01-14. Retrieved 2021-01-13. Close-Up of chinese origin meat dumplings, aka buuz or buzza or manti, a popular dish in Buryatia Republic (Russia) and russian Siberia regions or among Central Asian countries.
  8. ^ "Chinese flavor in Philippine history". 25 May 2019. Archived from the original on 10 July 2021. Retrieved 10 July 2021.
  9. ^ De Leon, Adrian (2016). "Siopao and Power: The Place of Pork Buns in Manila's Chinese History". Gastronomica. 16 (2): 45–54. doi:10.1525/gfc.2016.16.2.45.
  10. ^ Renards Gourmets (July 2018). "Nom Pao". 196 flavors. Archived from the original on 23 May 2020. Retrieved 29 June 2020.
  11. ^ "ပေါက်စီ". Sofia Food Paradise. December 23, 2015. Archived from the original on December 7, 2019. Retrieved July 9, 2019.
  12. ^ "ဝက်သားပေါက်စီအိအိလေး". Wutyee Food House. Archived from the original on 2020-07-26. Retrieved 2019-07-09.
  13. ^ "Chinese Cuisine". Cuizine Maurice. Archived from the original on 2022-01-10. Retrieved 2021-04-22.
  14. ^ a b c "[Diaporama] Le partage de la gastronomie culturelle à Maurice". Le Defi Media Group (in French). Archived from the original on 2021-04-22. Retrieved 2021-04-22.
  15. ^ a b "Mauritius Pow Recipe | Mauritius, Seychelles, Reunion: Holidays & Travel". 2016-02-26. Archived from the original on 2021-04-22. Retrieved 2021-04-22.
  16. ^ "Paw – Pain à la Vapeur". Ti Karaii (in French). 2015-06-24. Archived from the original on 2021-04-22. Retrieved 2021-04-22.
  17. ^ "Two Women and A Half Man » Archive » Chinese Hakka Buns – Pow". Archived from the original on 2021-04-22. Retrieved 2021-04-22.