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A Bite of Jinan: International friends learn to make baozi in a time-honored restaurant

2021/12/3 15:53:11

Baozi, or steamed stuffed bun, is a traditional Chinese food and one of the most common staple foods in China. Baozi restaurants can be found everywhere, but really well-known time-honored brands are still rare; Caobao Baozi Restaurant in Jinan is one of them.

Recently, “Touch Shandong” column invited two international friends, Jerraf Kaoutar from Morocco and Natividad Mico Bindang from Equatorial Guinea, to learn to make baozi in this time-honored restaurant.

Kaoutar and Bindang, very interested in Chinese food, had been looking forward to this experience activity. After the preparations of dough, stuffing and chopping board were done by the chefs, the two international students could not wait to wash their hands, put on headgear, and entered the kitchen.

The chefs in the restaurant showed the process of making buns: first, divide the dough into same-sized small doughs, and roll them into round wrappers; then, hold the wrapper in your hand and put right amount of stuffing onto the center of it, and knead wrinkles around the wrapper; finally knead the wrinkles together.

The seemingly simple and smooth process turned out not to be that easy to operate. Bindang, volunteering to make pork-stuffed baozi, which is relatively difficult, always had problems at the last step. The chef kept putting forward suggestions, and helped her make adjustments. After repeated exercises, Bindang’s baozi looked decent and were praised by the chef.

Kaoutar first tried to make sanxian (three delicacies) baozi, which is relatively easy to make, but she still found it difficult to make a dozen wrinkles that look as good as those made by the chef. She watched the chef's technique carefully and sought guidance while trying repeatedly to make perfect.

After three cages of baozi were made, the chef put them onto the stove to steam. Bindang and Kaoutar waited expectantly by the stove for their fruits of labor. While eating the baozi, Bindang said that these baozi are particularly delicious, better than those she usually eats; and of course, they are more delicious because they were made by themselves.

After the experience activity, Kaoutar said that Caobao Baozi reminded her of the Briouat, a sweet or savory puff pastry in Moroccan cuisine, served at festivals and when treating guests; it seemed that there are similarities between cuisines of different countries.

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