Our delicious vegan Bao its found under the “Not so Kids” section but my 2-year old daughter loves it! This white ball-looking treat is such a popular street food in China and some Asian countries. Its origins are in Northern China and we call this Bao or Baozhi.
These satisfying treats have been around for hundreds of years and a legend traces their history to a military strategy from the Three Kingdom Period. However, many others believe these buns date as early as 400 B.C
Baozhi in different regions of China
Bao buns can range in size, shape, and fillings according to the Chinese region in which they’re created. They can also be made from wheat or rice flour depending on which grows best in the area. For example, the Yacai Bao is known in the province of Sichuan. Its filling is made from Yacai or preserved vegetables. Locally, these buns are usually enjoyed in the morning.
Another example is Zhi Ma Bao, a black sesame bun that is considered a breakfast staple all over China. This sweet pastry is characterized for being smooth all around rather than having pleats. Additionally, many people incorporate black sesame not only in the dough but also in the filling which causes the paste to have a distinct dark color.
A third type is the Shengjian Mantou that originates from the region of Shanghai. Unlike most Baos that are steamed, this bun is pan-fried and has a signature soupy pork and gelatin filling.
Overall, there are more than 10 different traditional types of baozi and indefinite types of fillings!
Vegan Bao at Alice and Friends’
At Alice and Friends’, we put our own twist on the recipe to make Baos with only vegan and quality ingredients. Here are some of the flavors we have created in the past six months:
Our original Bao
Our original Bao is a bun filled with braised Non-GMO soy protein. The dough is soft and slightly sweet while the protein is chewy and moderately salted. The combination is the perfect balance between sweet and savory! Want to elevate the flavor? Chef Ruby and many clients recommend adding a dash of our house-made chili oil to every bite.
Red Bean Bao
The Red Bean Bao is a black sesame bun filled with fresh red bean paste. Chef Ruby had to test different flours and methods of kneading to create this vegan variation. We use a traditional paste filling that’s sweet, smooth, and rich in texture.
This is a special flavor and it’s only available for a limited time.
Why did we create these delicious Vegan Baos?
It’s very difficult to find Vegan Bao even in vegan-friendly areas. Traditional Baozi is made with dairy and meat ingredients.
Additionally, many Bao buns (especially those that are frozen) are made with additives to enhance its fluffy texture. Therefore, it was more of a challenge for us to find just the right flour and technique of kneading to assure a soft and fluffy texture without using any artificial ingredients.
During the process, we also tested different stuffing/fillings. Will we have new flavors? Follow us on social media @aliceandfriendsvegan to stay on the loop!
The original Bao is available in our online menu. Visit us or place your order today using this link.