Chinese birthday cake

Technically speaking, it is not a birthday cake. It is a birthday bun. In Chinese, it is called 壽包(pronounced as ‘sau bao’). 壽 means ‘long life’, 包 is ‘bun’. Traditionally, 壽包 are made in the shape of a Chinese peach as it is held in the hand of the God of Longevity.

Chinese birthday cake

Birthday buns consist of an outer layer of bread, which is soft and spongy and slightly sweet, similar to that of the classic dim sum barbecue bun. The core is my favourite yolk of salt preserved duck egg. (yum!) A good yolk appears golden and has a natural gloss. It should be tender and disintegrate in your mouth. It goes very well with the sweet lotus seed paste that wraps the yolk, which has a light starchy texture.

Birthday buns may come in small palm size or large like a birthday cake. Personally, I prefer the small ones as they are just the right size for me to finish one all by myself. They are steamed, not baked and are best served warm so that the bread is nice and soft. Yum! I am hungry just thinking about it.

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