Eaten Magazine | Steamed Buns' Contested Origins

In the inaugural issue of the new print-only food history magazine, Eaten, “Food of the Gods", I explore the little-known history of the humble Chinese steamed bun, mantou, and its historicals connections with similar foods across Asia.

Here’s a sneak peak:

Today, Korea has mandu (which refers to both stuffed and unstuffed buns) and Japan the manju. Turkey claims manti as a native food, while Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan all prepare stuffed mantu. Mongolia has both filled buuz and unfilled mantuun buuz, which it considers a national cuisine, but which likely descended from the Chinese stuffed bao and mantou, respectively. Meanwhile, Tibet and Nepal consume stuffed momo, a word that also originated in China’s Jiangnan region, where momo (饃饃) simply means unstuffed bun. Even further afield, Vietnam, prepares the banh bao, the Phillipines the siyopaw, Thailand the salopao, and, centuries later, variations have even reached Hawaii as the manapua.