Steamed wheat flour cake is made from wheat flour and meat and/or vegetable fillings. The filling is wrapped in wheat flour mix then it will be steamed. After being cooked, this food has an attractive smelling that makes you want to try it as many as you want. Banh bao originated in China where it has become the soul of Chinese cuisine. Chinese people have steamed wheat flour cake for breakfast, lunch, dinner and at any time of the day. Either do Vietnamese people.
Let’s learn about the history of steamed wheat flour cake. It has been said that Zhuge Liang and his soldiers couldn’t pass a wide and powerful river on the way returning home after occupying South China region (Yunnan and North Burna in recent days). A tyrant told Zhuge Liang he should kill 50 males and throw their head into the river to calm down it. But Zhuge Liang didn’t want to kill anyone of his soldiers. After many thoughts, he decided to kill all cows and horses and use their meat to put into small cake which represented human head to throw into the river. They passed the river and returned to their kingdom. Zhuge Liang called those cakes “barbaric human head cake” and it’s called mantou in recent days.
In North China, mantou is an important dish like steamed rice because it’s eaten as main dish in the meals. However, in South China, mantou is a street food or appetizer at restaurants. Mantou ‘s crust is soft, tender and has special taste. Some people like mantou without filling. Not only in China where it originated but also in Asia, mantou and its versions is one of the most popular dish. In Hong Kong, they love mantou so that annual mantou festival is organized on Chueng Chau island for 3 days. In Japan they have “manjū” while it’s called “mandu” in Korea. In Philippin, you can find a very delicious like-mantou “siopao”. In Vietnam, banh bao is a must-eat food for any travelers who come to visit our country.