Xizhou Food Guide / Baozi

Welcome to another post from my Xizhou Food Guide series, where I highlight different specialty foods from Xizhou, Dali, Yunnan.

Possibly the only routine part of my day here is going to the morning market and to find baozi for breakfast.

Baozi is a filled steamed bun, made of a simple dough of flour, water,  yeast, and a pinch of sugar. They come with all sorts of different fillings, including pork, pickled vegetables, mushrooms, and red bean paste. Xizhou also has a lot of baozi with brown sugar, a local specialty ingredient.  Rumor has it that someone once found a rose jam baozi, but my hunt has been unsuccessful so far.

The hardest decision is picking the size: smaller baozi have a better filling-to-dough ratio, but there is also something so fun about biting into a huge, pillowy dough.

One of my favorites, pickled vegetable baozi (酸菜包子, suāncài bāozi)

Baozi can be found in some shops all day long (it is a great snack or side with soup), but most Chinese people eat baozi for breakfast. As you walk around the market, you’ll see many people holding small plastic bags, all steamed up from the hot baozi or mantou (a plain steamed bun) inside. I like to order my baozi and then enjoy it as I walk through the market or past the rice fields on my way to work.

Although I want to try as many new things as possible this summer, there is something so wonderful about being at a point where the vendor smiles and waves when they see you coming from far away. We are planning to do a “Humans of Xizhou” style photo essay soon for work, and I am excited to feature my favorite baozi friends!


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