Huangqiao Shaobing (Huangqiao Baked Bun)

huangqiao shaobing

Huangqiao Shaobing (黄桥烧饼), also known as Huangqiao Baked Bun, is a traditional local snack from Taixing City in Jiangsu Province, China. Its name is derived from the famous “Huangqiao Decisive Battle” that took place in October 1940. During the battle, as fighting raged outside the town, the residents of Huangqiao Town worked tirelessly, with 12 flour mills and 60 bun ovens, day and night, to make these buns and deliver them to the front lines, amidst the turmoil of war.

In 1983, Huangqiao Shaobing was recognized as a “Famous and Special Food of Jiangsu Province.” Historical records show that during the time of the Xinhai Revolution, Huangqiao, with an area of less than two square kilometers and a population of less than 6,000, boasted nearly 20 pork shops, over 20 oil mills, more than 10 liquor shops, and over 90 grain shops. The prosperity of commerce and the influx of people contributed to the thriving food and beverage industry in the area.

Despite gaining national fame as “Huangqiao Shaobing” during the pivotal battle of 1940, the original version of these buns was quite different from what is now celebrated. The earlier Huangqiao Shaobing was a simple leavened bread made with wine lees fermentation. It was cooked over a grass fire with a little oil, resulting in a bun with a shape resembling an upside-down small basin. The contemporary Huangqiao Shaobing, on the other hand, is palm-sized and about half an inch thick, featuring a thick layer of toasted sesame on the outside. It is round and golden, resembling an exquisite craftwork.

Of course, the content inside is far more refined than what the soldiers of 1940 could have ever imagined. The original buns were typically devoid of any fillings, with a small amount of sugar being a prized addition. Today’s Huangqiao Shaobing is filled with a variety of ingredients, including shredded pork, ham, dried shrimp, scallion oil, diced chicken, sausages, and lard, all blended with fragrant scallion oil into a soft and flavorful filling. Baked in electric ovens with precise temperature control, the buns have a crisp golden exterior and a tender interior, with a crab-shell red hue. They are neither burnt nor greasy. Taking a bite releases a burst of aroma, and the scallion oil infuses the taste, leaving a delightful sensation on the taste buds.

Huangqiao Shaobing has evolved from its humble beginnings into a beloved delicacy, a symbol of resilience, and a culinary masterpiece. The legacy of the Huangqiao Decisive Battle lives on in these buns, connecting the past with the present and delighting food enthusiasts with its delectable flavors and rich history. Whether enjoyed as a snack or a cultural experience, Huangqiao Shaobing continues to captivate the hearts and palates of those who have the privilege to savor its unique and delicious taste.

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