Mantou: Outside China, call me Chinese sugar-free bread!

Published : Friday, June 14, 2024, 9:00 pm

BEIJING, June 14, 2024 /PRNewswire/ -- A news report from on Chinese gourmet foods:

Mantou: Outside China, call me Chinese sugar-free bread!

Welcome to China Mosaic! Not long ago, Mantou (Mantao) entered the French Bread Festival (la fete du pain), as a representative of Chinese flour foods, and garnered attention from all around the globe. Today, we are honored to have Mantou on our program.

"Hello! I'm Mantou, and in France, they call me Mantao. I'm a Chinese home-grown flour food, and my specialty is my wholesomeness and good taste. Please, give me a show of hands!"

Thank you, Mantou.

At this bread festival, although the organizer described it as Chinese sugar-free bread, mantou is in many ways different from bread. To start with, rather than baked at a high temperature, mantou is steamed — that's why it's also called steamed bun, which also gives it its white color and the slightly moist texture.

As a traditional Chinese gourmet food, mantou also harbors rich cultural significance. About 2,000 years ago, mantou was primarily used as sacrifice — with mince inside, mantou was not so affordable for ordinary people back then. Today, on some special occasions, sending mantou to those you care for remains a custom in northern China's rural areas: People make mantou in various shapes, giving it auspicious meanings as a symbol of best wishes.

After centuries of evolving, mantou has now become one of the major staple foods for the Chinese. Moreover, it not only holds a special position in Chinese cuisine but has also become popular in many countries other than China.

Besides mantou, the kaleidoscope of Chinese flour foods has been a genuine crowd-pleaser. In Rome, Italy, a Suzhou-style noodle restaurant "Xin Noodles" has been a great hype. The moment it's open for business every day, a vacant table is nearly impossible to find. Like many other flour foods in China, Changshu noodles with fried toppings are nutritious and cooked with many particularities. First, "no noodles without current seasonal ingredients." The restaurant will brand different toppings according to different seasons, such as bamboo shoots in winter, and Chinese mitten crabs in autumn; secondly, the restaurant is known for "tailoring its taste," frying each order of topping uniquely to give each bowl of noodles the customized flavors; thirdly, it upholds localization, serving more than 20 toppings based on the preferences of local consumers.

Actually, it's nothing rare for Chinese gourmet foods to go global. Huoguo (hotpot) and malatang among other Chinese cuisines have become a favorite for food lovers globally. Outside the offshore branches of Chinese tea beverages Mixue Bingcheng (Mixue Ice cream&Tea) and Chagee, long lines of eager consumers can often be seen. According to projections, in 2026, the volume of the offshore Chinese food and beverage market is likely to exceed 400 billion USD.

Mantou's business trip in France, brought more tasty, appealing, and nutritious traditional Chinese gourmet foods onto the radar of global foodies, arousing their appetites as well as building a bridge between different cultures.

China Mosaic 

Mantou: Outside China, call me Chinese sugar-free bread! 

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