Wowotou, an ode

Yesterday I went back to the lovely sheep soup place, and they asked me to record a little endorsement. Hey, that’s no problem at all, right?

Well, if the name of the place is 和孝房,徐家羊肉汤 then maybe it is.

Especially if the whole phrase is “和孝房,徐家羊肉汤。味道太棒,” (Hexiaofang, Xujia yangrou tang, weidao taibang!), which is right up there with “vitameatavegemin” in the sheer Daffy Duckishishness of its unpronunciability.

See the source image
Spoon your way to better health!

But let’s talk about wowotou (窝窝头), those lovely dimpled buns that you get in north China.

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_c727Not mushroom caps, not cheerios, they’re wowotou!

They’re very easy to make, basically mix grain flour, water and a little baking soda into a paste, smear it onto what looks like a ping pong ball on a stick, and steam until it is cooked. The result is an upside down cup that you can fill with pickled turnip or any salty dish, or just serve along side dishes instead of rice.


Back in the day, I used to eat these by the bagfull. Especially when I was living in Cangzhou, where they make them out of corn flour. In fact, most places make them out of corn flour, and like most Chinese breads, they are unsalted, meant to clear the palate and settle the stomach after eating the stronger flavored friend dishes.

But you can also make them from any grain–I have seen ones that added oats, sticky rice, yam or like the ones I had yesterday–bean flour.  These mixed the heavier bean flour in with white flour, and this being Shandong, gave them a quick brush of salt before steaming.


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