Fa gao
Fa gao 笑口发糕 Steamed rice-cakes.jpg
Place of originChina
Main ingredientsflour (usually rice flour), leavening (traditionally yeast), sugar
Similar dishesHtanthi mont, Bánh bò

Fa gao (simplified Chinese: 发糕; traditional Chinese: 發糕; pinyin: fāgāo; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: hoat-koé), also called Fat pan (發粄; fa ban) by the Hakka,[1] prosperity cake,[2][3] Fortune cake,[4] Cantonese sponge cake,[5] is a Chinese steamed, cupcake-like pastry.[6] Because it is often characterized by a split top when cooked, it is often referred as Chinese smiling steamed cake or blooming flowers.[6] It is commonly consumed on the Chinese new year.[7] It is also eaten on other festivals, wedding, and funerals by the Hakka people.[8]


The name of cake, fagao, is a homonym for "cake which expands" and "prosperity cake" as "fa" means both "prosperity" and "expand" and gao means "cake".[7]

The Hakka calls the "top split" of the fa ban "xiao", which means smiling which resembles a sign of a coming fortune; therefore, the bigger the "top split", the better.[8]


The cake is made of flour (usually rice flour), leavening (traditionally yeast, but can be chemical leavening),[7] sugar or another sweetener; it is then steamed (instead of baked) on high heat until the top splits into a characteristic "split top" of four segments, or sometimes 3 sections.[6] The batter is typically left to rest for fermentation prior to being steam-cooked.

These cakes, when used to encourage prosperity in the new year, are often dyed bright colours.[citation needed] The most common colours traditionally are white and pink, but it can also be turned brown by adding palm sugar.[6]

Influences in Asia


Chinese Singaporeans use fa gao as offerings during ancestral worship.[5][4]

Influences outside Asia


In Mauritius, the fa gao is known as "poutou chinois" (lit.'Chinese puttu') or "poutou rouge" (lit.'red puttu' in French).[9][10] It is called "pot pan" (發粄/发粄; fa ban) by the Mauritians of Hakka descent.[11] Fa gao in Mauritius is typically pink in colour,[12][13] and it is eaten on Chinese New Year.[9][10] However, it is actually sold and eaten all year long.


See also


  1. ^ "發粄 - Wiktionary". en.wiktionary.org. Retrieved 2021-04-19.
  2. ^ Knapp, Ronald G. (2012). Peranakan Chinese home : art and culture in daily life. A. Chester Ong. Rutland, Vt.: Tuttle Publishing. ISBN 978-1-4629-1185-1. OCLC 830947706.
  3. ^ The culture of China. Kathleen Kuiper (1st ed.). New York: Britannica Educational Pub. in association with Rosen Educational Services. 2011. p. 37. ISBN 978-1-61530-183-6. OCLC 656833342.((cite book)): CS1 maint: others (link)
  4. ^ a b Lim, Tai Wei (2017). Cultural heritage and peripheral spaces in Singapore. [Singapore]. p. 257. ISBN 978-981-10-4747-3. OCLC 1004189895.
  5. ^ a b Singapore-china Relations: 50 Years. Liang Fook Lye, Yongnian Zheng. World Scientific Publishing Company. 2015. p. 217. ISBN 9789814713573.((cite book)): CS1 maint: others (link)
  6. ^ a b c d "Chinese New Year Steamed Prosperity Cakes (Fa Gao) |Gluten Free Asian Recipes |Healthy gf Asian". Gluten Free Asian Recipes | Healthy gf Asian. 2016-02-07. Retrieved 2021-04-18.
  7. ^ a b c "Chinese Fortune Cup Cake (fa gao)". Knowingfood. Archived from the original on 2009-01-27. Retrieved 2009-01-30.
  8. ^ a b "Fa Ban". www.chinadaily.com.cn. Retrieved 2021-04-19.
  9. ^ a b "Nouvel An Chinois : le 'gato la cire' en vedette ce vendredi". Wazaa FM - Feel Good (in French). Retrieved 2021-04-18.
  10. ^ a b "Fête du Printemps : au cœur d'une célébration religieuse et familiale". Le Defi Media Group (in French). Retrieved 2021-04-18.
  11. ^ "Sweet snacks". Hakka Mauritians 客家. Retrieved 2021-04-18.
  12. ^ lemauricien (2020-09-05). "(Chinatown) M. Chu : Les délices chinois d'un art traditionnel millénaire". Le Mauricien (in French). Retrieved 2021-04-19.
  13. ^ "Chinatown : tout ce qui rampe se mange ! | KOZÉ | Dan Karay". KOZÉ (in French). 2017-05-18. Retrieved 2021-04-19.