Hujiao bing

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Hujiao bing
Pepper bun at Raohe Street Night Market 20070622.jpg
Hujiao bing right out of the oven
Course Snack
Place of origin Fuzhou, Fujian, China
Region or state Fujian, Taiwan
Main ingredients Flaky biscuit-like bread, sugar, soy sauce, white pepper or black pepper, and scallions
  • Cookbook: Hujiao bing
  •   Media: Hujiao bing

Hújiāo bǐng or Pepper bun (Chinese: 胡椒餅; pinyin: Hújiāo bǐng; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: hô͘-chio-piáⁿ; literally: "black pepper cake or biscuit") is a type of baked bun that originated from the Fuzhou region of the mainland China. It is a street food that has become quite popular in Taiwan and can be found in night markets or mini food stalls throughout Taiwan. Nowadays when speaking about the item it is usually refer to as "Taiwanese Pepper Bun". There are many variations of the bun, it depends on how the vendor prepares it. The common ingredients are flour, water, and a leavening agent for the outer dough shell, and a meat protein (usually pork or beef) marinated with sugar, soy sauce, white pepper or black pepper, and scallion for the inside filling.[1]

Origin

It is not known who invented the hújiāobǐng, but vendors list the item as "Fuzhou Pepper Bun" (福州胡椒餅). Also many of the vendors in Taiwan that sell the item are of Fujianese ancestry and claim that their recipe is a family recipe that their ancestors brought with them when they crossed over to Taiwan from Fujian province.[2]

Preparation

Inside of cooked Hújiāo bǐng.

The outer dough shell is prepared with flour, water, and a leavening agent such as yeast or baking powder. Lard, butter or oil is sometime added to the dough to make the bun extra crunchy and flaky like a croissant when cooked. The outer shell dough is then individually rolled to a thin circular shape, similar to a dumpling wrapping.

The main ingredients of the filling are meat which is usually pork. The meat is either ground or sliced thinly. Some vendors use ground and sliced meat to give the bun a bite to it, but ground meat is usually used since it produces more juice when cooked. The meat is usually marinated with a heaping of white or black pepper powder, soy sauce, sugar and cooking wine. Some vendors also add five-spice powder or curry powder to the meat marinade.

The marinated meat is spread on the thin dough. A handful of cut green scallions is then placed on top of the meat and sealed up with the dough. The scallions must be added in a separate step - never mixed into the meat filling - to produce a clear scallion taste to the bun. Unlike other buns, the sealed end is on the bottom. The top of the bun is then brushed with water and finished with a sprinkling of white sesame seeds.

Hújiāo bǐng being baked in an oven.

The buns are then baked in a cylindrical, high-heat, clay oven that is similar to a tandoori oven. Burning charcoal is put at the bottom to heat the oven. The buns are then stacked vertically along the side of the oven, from bottom to top. To remove the finished buns, a flat object such as a blunt knife or spatula is used to scrape the bun off of the side of the oven. A colander is then used to catch the buns to prevent them from falling into the charcoal pit at the bottom of the oven.[3]

The cooked bun has a crunchy, thin dough, almost cracker like. When bitten into, meat juices pour out. Due to the way that the bun is wrapped, the green scallions are at the center of the bun with the meat wrapped around them, instead of at the bottom.

Popularity

The Hújiāo bǐng first started gaining popularity outside of Taiwan when it was featured on tourist programs such as Anthony Bourdain's The Layover.[4] Also Hong Kong's TVB channel foodie show Neighborhood Gourmet season 3. The item soon became a tourist must try when visiting Taiwan. Tourist who visited Taiwan and had tasted the bun would blog about it. The wait to buy a Hújiāo bǐng is notoriously long during peak hours at any vendors, the average wait is usually 30 minutes minimum. Customers also always buy in batches due to the long wait in line. When the vendor sell out and runs out of ingredients they usually close shop for the day instead restocking their ingredients to make more buns.

Notable vendors

  • Tian Yue Hujiao Bing (天玥胡椒餅) - Tainan Flower Night Market
  • Gu Wei Xiang Tan Kao Hujiao Bing (古味香碳烤胡椒餅) - Tainan Taiwan
  • Fu Zhou Hujiao Bing (福州世祖胡椒餅) - Shilin Night Market
  • Fu Zhou Shi Zu Hujiao Bing (福州世祖胡椒饼) - Raohe Street Night Market
  • Fu Zhou Yuan Zu Hujiao Bing (福州元祖胡椒餅) - Wanhua District, Taipei City, Taiwan

References

  1. ^ "2/17 Shilin One-Day Tour" (PDF). Retrieved 10 July 2015.
  2. ^ "Pork Pepper Buns". Retrieved 17 Feb 2016.
  3. ^ "非凡大探索_窯烤美味_炭香胡椒餅". Retrieved 17 February 2016.
  4. ^ "48 Hours in Taipei Travel Guide". Retrieved 17 February 2016.
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