KUNGFOOD Dumplings are a type of Chinese Dumpling called “Jiaozi.” In China, there are several different folk stories explaining how these little pockets of pure joy came about. Study the stories of the Dumpling below:
THE STORY OF TENDER EARS
The ‘Jiaozi’ were thought to have been invented a very long time ago during the era of the Eastern Han (AD 25-220) by a great practitioner of traditional Chinese medicine. ‘Jiaozi’ were originally referred to as “tender ears” because they were used to treat frostbitten ears. During winter, the great practitioner found that the poor had frostbitten ears because they did not have warm clothing and sufficient food to eat. He treated them by stewing mutton, peppers and some warming medicines in a pot. He chopped this up and used this to fill small dough wrappers which he folded into the shape of human ears. He boiled these ‘dumplings’ and gave them with the broth to the poor until the coming of the Chinese New Year. While also being a delicious treat, the ingredients used in the recipe helped to warm the body, increase blood flow and thaw cold ears. To celebrate the Chinese New Year and to aid with frostbitten ears, people imitated the practitioner’s recipe and the rest they say, is history…
THE WAY OF THE HORN
Some say ‘Jiaozi’ may be named because they are horn-shaped. The Chinese word for “horn” is ‘Jiao.’
GO FORTH & PROSPER
Others say ‘Jiaozi’ look like gold ingots that were used as currency during the old times of the Ming Dynasty. Serving them is believed to bring prosperity.
It is thought that Steam Buns came about thousands of years ago. Whilst on their way home after defeating an evil King, a wise strategist is said to have lead his army to the banks of a very fast-flowing river that was too treacherous to cross (beware, this is where things appear to get a little grisly, but there’s a twist!). Local barbarians told the strategist that the river spirits could be appeased, BUT….. this required the sacrifice of some of his men and for their heads to be tossed into the river. Exhausted by their campaign and proud of the low number of casualties, the wise strategist decided to trick the river by throwing dough balls stuffed with meat into the river (as human heads in disguise). The river was accepting of the balls, grew calm and allowed his army to cross. From that day, forth, the meat-filled dough balls became known as “Barbarian Heads” or “Steam Bun Heads” in Chinese culture. Who’d have thought that such a delicious Bun came from such grisly beginnings!
The Gua Bao or Bao for short, is Taiwan’s answer to the humble hamburger and a little bit fancier. ‘Bao’ literally means “to wrap” or “to hold.” The colloquial Taiwanese translation for these fluffy white buns is “tiger bites pig” due to the mouth-like shape of the bun and the common Pork filling.