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Frozen mantou (馒头) or steamed buns

I hardly ever buy anything from the frozen section when we are back home. After all, with so much fresh food around us, why bother?

In China, food poisoning (not to mention food scandals) are as common as soy beans, I can’t take any chances especially as I’m buying food for kids.

During the first few months we moved here, I had to cook breakfast, lunch and dinner! In fact, some of my friends bake their own bread. The lousy cook that I am, you can imagine what a challenge it has been for me to cook 7 days a week, especially as I have a fussy eater.

Recently, a friend from Beijing taught me how to make steamed buns (bao). She’s volunteered to teach me how to make them because she says that they are as easy as ABC – the key ingredient is good quality bao flour 😉

If you want to try making your own bao or man tou, here’s a video with a simple recipe:

Thank God I met a friend who showed me the frozen steamed buns or mán tou (馒头) she would buy for her school-going kids. As she has 3 kids, she already cooks up a storm but draws the line at baking her own bread 😀

Here are the  mán tou (馒头)   or steamed bao buns we’d usually buy from the supermarket:

Barbecue steamed buns

We were quite happy to see this because they closely resemble the “char siew pau” back home in terms of appearance and taste. Since my son was on a “char siew pau” binge for a while, I bought these frozen buns on a regular basis.

Then, Hubby got a bit worried because it’s got meat and due to the change in seasons here, meat is a bit tricky to store and transport especially during the hot summer. We decided not to buy these barbecue buns during summer 🙁

Steamed milk buns

These milk-flavoured steamed buns are actually quite fragrant. I love milk-based food so these smelled delicious!

However, the melamine milk scandal has effectively frightened anyone and everyone off buying any milk-based product made in China. Think I still see these on the supermarket shelves but you can bet the older folks will throw you warning looks if you buy them (wink, wink).

Spring onion flower rolls

Ahhh…this is my personal favorite because I have fond childhood memories of eating fluffy, warm steamed buns at The Esquire Kitchen in KL 😀

In fact, these are the only steamed buns I will buy from the frozen section. Since I only eat them every fortnight or so, I think I’m pretty safe. Knock wood!

Taro steamed buns

We gave these taro-flavored buns a chance to add a bit of variety to our (frozen) diet but they had a very strong smell when steamed. Since NOBODY in the family likes taro, these were slowwwwwwwly finished and not replenished 😀

I think that Japanese Rice Cake Mochi Daifuku (Red Bean) will be more popular among children.

Vegetable and mushroom steamed bun

Besides the spring onion steamed bun, I love these vegetable and mushroom bao. Since they are vegetarian, they are quite popular!

I hardly ever see them on the supermarket shelves so I tend to grab them when I see them.

And that’s our collection of frozen steam buns from the supermarket.

Recently, a friend told me that rumors are rife about additives included in steamed buns to make them look smoother and whiter.

Drat! I was advised to look for “home made looking” man tou i.e. ugly looking steam buns. Thus, I searched high and low and found these:

They’re the ugliest looking buns on the block but they came in a gigantic pack of 24 pcs! What if they didn’t smell or taste good? I didn’t have any dogs to feed them to. The poor buns stayed in the supermarket shelf.

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