|Alternative names||Chinese cruller|
|Place of origin||China|
|Region or state||East Asia and Southeast Asia|
|Associated national cuisine||China, Cambodia, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, Brunei, Myanmar, Thailand, Taiwan, and Vietnam|
|Literal meaning||oil strip|
|Yu Char Kway|
|Literal meaning||oil-fried pastry (or devil)|
|Khmer||ឆាខ្វៃ / យ៉ាវឆាខ្វៃ|
Chha Khwai / Yav Chha Khwai
Youtiao (simplified Chinese: 油条; traditional Chinese: 油條; pinyin: Yóutiáo) is a long golden-brown deep-fried strip of dough commonly eaten in China and (by a variety of other names) in other East and Southeast Asian cuisines. Conventionally, youtiao are lightly salted and made so they can be torn lengthwise in two. Youtiao are normally eaten at breakfast as an accompaniment for rice congee, soy milk or regular milk blended with sugar. Youtiao may be known elsewhere as Chinese cruller, Chinese fried churro, Chinese oil stick, Chinese doughnut, Chinese breadstick, and fried breadstick.
In Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore, they are called you char kway, cakwe, cakoi, kueh, or kuay. In the Philippines, they are called bicho/bicho-bicho or shakoy.
At breakfast, youtiao can be stuffed inside shāobǐng (simplified Chinese: 烧饼; traditional Chinese: 燒餅; lit. 'roasted flatbread') to make a sandwich known as shāobǐng yóutiáo (simplified Chinese: 烧饼油条; traditional Chinese: 燒餅油條). Youtiao wrapped in a rice noodle roll is known as zháliǎng. In Yunnan, a roasted riceflour pancake usually wrapped around a youtiao is known as erkuai (simplified Chinese: 烧饵块; traditional Chinese: 燒餌塊). Yet another name for a sandwich variant is jianbingguǒzi (simplified Chinese: 煎饼果子; traditional Chinese: 煎餅果子; lit. 'youtiao and fried bread').
Youtiao is occasionally dipped into various liquids, for example the soup xidoufen, soymilk (sweet or salty), and soy sauce.
Youtiao is also an important ingredient of the food Cífàn tuán in Shanghai cuisine.
Tánggāo (Chinese: 糖糕), or "sugar cake", is a sweet, fried food item similar in appearance to youtiao but shorter in length.
In Thailand, youtiao or pathongko (ปาท่องโก๋) in Thai are eaten for breakfast with soymilk or porridge.
Although generally known as yóutiáo in Standard Mandarin throughout China, the dish is also known as guǒzi (餜子) in northern China. In Min Nan-speaking areas, such as Taiwan, it is known as iû-chiā-kóe (油炸粿), where kóe (粿/餜) means cake or pastry, hence "oil-fried cake/pastry". In Cantonese-speaking areas this is rendered as yàuhjagwái (油炸鬼), where gwái literally means "devil" or "ghost".[a]
The Cantonese name yàuhjagwái literally means "oil-fried devil" and, according to folklore,[unreliable source?] is an act of protest against Song Dynasty official Qin Hui, who is said to have orchestrated the plot to frame the general Yue Fei, an icon of patriotism in Chinese culture. It is said that the food, originally in the shape of two human-shaped pieces of dough but later evolved into two pieces joined in the middle, represents Qin Hui and his wife, both having a hand in collaborating with the enemy to bring about the great general's demise.[unreliable source?] Thus the youtiao is deep fried and eaten as if done to the traitorous couple. In keeping with the legend, youtiao are often made as two foot-long rolls of dough joined along the middle, with one roll representing the husband and the other the wife. The Cantonese name may derive from Guangzhou being the last resistance front before the Song dynasty collapsed.
In Cambodia, it is called cha kway (Khmer: ឆាខ្វៃ) and usually dipped in kuy teav, congee or coffee. Some Chinese Cambodian immigrants in Australia sometimes call it chopstick cake because of its resemblance to a pair of chopsticks.
In Indonesia, the fried dough is known as cakwe (pronounced [tʃakwe]). It is commonly chopped or thinly sliced and then eaten for breakfast with bubur ayam (chicken porridge) or eaten as snacks with dipping of local version of chilli vinaigrette or peanut / satay sauce.
In Java, cakwe is usually sold as a street snack at kaki lima, usually at the same stalls that sell bolang-baling or roti goreng (sweet fried dough) and untir-untir (Javanese version of mahua). This snack is sometime served with spicy sweet salty sauce (optional). Savoury cakwe, sweet bolang-baling and crunchy untir-untir are to be considered to compliment each other in a snack mix.
In Laos, youtiao is generally called kao nom kou or patongko (cf. Thai patongko) or "chao quay", and is commonly eaten with coffee at breakfast in place of a baguette (khao jee falang). It is also eaten as an accompaniment to "khao piek sen" (chicken noodle soup) or "jok" (congee).
In Malaysia and Singapore, it is known as yu char kway, which is the transliteration of its Hokkien (Minnan) name (油炸粿 iû-tsiā-kué). It is rendered in Malay language as cakoi, an alteration of the Minnan term, char kway. The name pathongko (see Thailand) is more common in the northern states of Kedah, Perlis and Penang. Apart from the plain version, the Malaysian take on Youtiau also comes with various fillings which are either sweet, such as red bean paste (as ham chim peng, 咸煎饼) or savoury, such as sardines in tomato sauce. The plain version is often eaten with sweet chili sauce or coconut and egg jam called kaya, or served with bak kut teh (肉骨茶), porridge or rice congee, sliced thinly to be dipped into the broth or congee and eaten. Cakoi is usually sold in morning street markets or pasar malam night markets and commonly eaten with coffee or soy milk for breakfast or at tea time.
The youtiao is also a popular breakfast food in Myanmar (Burma) where it is called e kya kway (အီကြာကွေး [ì tʒà ku̯éː]) . It is usually eaten with steamed yellow beans (with salt and oil). It is also usually dipped into coffee or tea. E kya kway is also eaten with rice porridge, or cut into small rings and used as a condiment for mohinga. Tea culture is very prevalent in Myanmar, and every shop will serve e kya kway for breakfast.
Some shops stuff meat into the youtiao and deep fry it over again. It is called e kya kway asar thoot – stuffed e kya kway.
Main article: Shakoy
In the Philippines, it is either known as Bicho / Bicho-Bicho (Hokkien: 米棗 Pe̍h-ōe-jī: bí-tsó) or Shakoy / Siyakoy (Hokkien: 炸粿 Pe̍h-ōe-jī: tsia̍h-kué) / Pinisi / lubid-lubid. They are usually deep-fried, in the case of Bicho-Bicho, or deep-fried and twisted as twisted doughnuts, in the case of Shakoy. Dry, smaller and crunchy versions are called pilipit.
In Thailand, youtiao is generally called pathongko (Thai: ปาท่องโก๋, pronounced [paːtʰɔ̂ŋkǒː]) due to a confusion with a different kind of dessert. Pathongko is a loanword adapted from either Teochew Minnan beh teung guai (白糖粿; Mandarin: bái tángguǒ) or Cantonese of baahktònggòu (白糖糕; Mandarin: bái tánggāo). However, both possible original names are different desserts, not to be confused with the real white sugar sponge cake (白糖糕). It was previously sold together with youtiao by street vendors who normally walked around and shouted both names out loud. However, Thai customers often mistakenly thought that the more popular youtiao was "pathongko". Eventually, the real pathongko disappeared from the market because of its unpopularity. Ironically, the disappearance of real "pathongko" leaves youtiao being called under the former's name, but the latter's real name is generally unknown amongst the Thais. But the original white sugar sponge cake can still be easily found in Trang Province in Southern Thailand under its original name while youtiao is still called "chakoi" or "chiakoi" by some Southerners.
In Thailand, pathongko is also dipped into condensed milk or, in the South, eaten with kaya.
In Vietnamese cuisine, it is known by a name that is a pronunciation similar to the Cantonese pronunciation, as dầu cháo quẩy, giò cháo quẩy or simply quẩy. 油 ("Dầu/giò"), 鬼 ("quỷ/quẩy") coming from the approximate Cantonese pronunciation. In Vietnam, "giò cháo quẩy" is eaten typically with congee, pho in Hanoi and sometimes with wonton noodle (mi hoanh thanh).