Big Boy boazi. I have mentioned these Chinese buns a lot on this blog, but in case you still don’t know what they are… Baozi are traditional Chinese dumplings stuffed mainly with meat (pork), but you can easily find vegetarian baozi filled with steamed veggies. They are often served with some spicy sesame oil to dip them in.
Elijah ALL three of us absolutely love their thick texture and fresh smell. They are very filling and absolutely addictive! There is a little boazi restaurant just outside of the main gate to our apartment. The place is literally about 2 meters wide and 4 meters long. The same lady is there everyday, and she sees us preeeeetty often. These steamed buns are Elijah’s favorite snack, and they aren’t too bad when they are cool either so I often grab a bag of them (there are seven in a bag, and they literally come in a small plastic bag!) and throw them under his stroller when we are heading out on a walk. Elijah’s eyes light up when he sees the buns, and often he will stretch out his arms and flex his fingers. His way of telling us…”Gimme gimme gimme”. The hots go directly from the steamer into the bag, so I have to wait a while before handing one of them to Eli.
On this particular afternoon I decided to try letting Elijah eating at the restaurant. Chinese people love to stick to scheduled eating times, so even though it was roughly lunch time, it wasn’t “official lunch time” and therefore this tiny restaurant was completely empty. Whenever we eat with Eli, he needs a high chair. If he doesn’t have one he will be OFF IN EVERY DIRECTION! In a high chair he is happy to stay put, but without those restraints, he simply won’t stay in one place. For that reason, I imagined that this attempt to let him eat alone, sitting on a little stool, would be in vain. Nevertheless, I thought I would give it a shot!
Above – source of image – those are the boazi (buns) steaming.
Two types are found in most parts of China and Indonesia: Dàbāo (大包, “big bun”), measuring about 10 cm across, served individually, and usually purchased for take-away. The other type, Xiǎobāo (小包, “small bun”), measure approximately 5 cm wide, and are most commonly eaten in restaurants, but may also be purchased for take-away. Each order consists of a steamer containing between three and ten pieces. A small ceramic dish is provided for vinegar or soy sauce, both of which are available in bottles at the table, along with chili and garlic paste.
This is the lady would works at the boazi restaurant. She is so sweet!
Much to my surprise, Elijah sat on the stool and happily ate his Xiǎobāo. There were a few times that he took his attention off the buns and tried to put his feet on the stool next to him, but overall he sat really nicely and ate his lunch. This momma is trying to stay away from flour and sugar, so boazi – although severely tempting – are a no-go for me. It therefore helped that I was trying out my new 135mm prime lens and had to walk a few meters away from Elijah to get a full body shot of him. FYI – loving this amazing lens which I bought used from another Qingdao Expat!
We have heard that it is better to make these steamed buns yourself, because then you can control exactly what goes into them. But the truth is that I really love walking downstairs, around the apartment garden, and then to this little restaurant, with Elijah. The way that his eyes light up when we reach that tower of steaming buns, it just priceless! I think I should try and get a video of these things!
After lunch we went to the convenience store next to our boazi restaurant, and I bought Elijah a couple of Yakults.
Yakult is a probiotic dairy product which comes in a tiny little bottle – the perfect size for his tiny little hands. I really grew to love these while I lived in South Korea, and of course, now my boy loves them too. This kid loves everything that mommy loves!
Now that Elijah is walking up and down the steps himself, getting upstairs and downstairs is no quick task (unless we pick him up to hurry the process). On the way home he sometimes stops at every level – and there are six of them – to sit at the window to look outside. I think he’s trying to tell me that he wished we could stay outside all day, running through the gardens and eating boazi.