Goubuli's Stuffed BunsGoubuli's stuffed buns are known for their generous filling, which is succulent but not greasy.
This famous snack was created during the late Qing Dynasty by a native of Wuqing County, who had the nickname "Dogy". At the age of 14, Dogy left home and came to Tianjin, where he was apprenticed to a restaurant specializing in stuffed buns. A diligent and honest young man, he eventually opened a shop of his own. As his stuffed buns tasted better and had a unique flavour, they attracted an increasing number of customers. As time went by, his nickname became known far and wide. Later, people changed "Dogy" to "Goubuli", which literally means "the Dogy who doesn't talk", because he was often too busy to speak to his customers. Then, eventually, his buns were called by the same name.
Today, with its main outlet located at 77 Shandong Road, Heping District, the Goubuli Bun Shop has developed into a corporation with 89 branch restaurants opened in Tianjin and two dozen other Chinese cities, provinces and regions. In addition to over 90 varieties of stuffed bun, its restaurants also offer more than 200 dishes.
Goubuli Bun Shop is working to enter the international market, and now has shops in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, Singapore, Japan, Korea and the United States.
Ear-Hole Fried CakeThe Ear-Hole Fried Cake is another one of the famous traditional Tianjin snacks. It derived its name from the narrow Ear-Hole Street in Tianjin's Beidaguan, where the shop selling it was located.
The Ear-Hole Fried Cake has a history of more than 80 years. lt was introduced by a man named Liu Wanchun, who peddled it on a single-wheel barrow from street to street. When his business prospered, he rented a room and opened Liu's Fried Cake Shop. Because the fried cake he made was of high quality, reasonable in price and had a special flavour, it soon became a popular snack.
The cake is made of carefully leavened and kneaded glutinous rice dough. The filling is bean paste made with good-qualified red beans. The pastry of the finished cake is golden in colour, crisp and crunchy, while the filling is tender and sweet with a lingering flavour.
Guifaxiang Fried Dough TwistsVisitors to Tianjin can see fried dough twists, a traditional Tianjin snack, sold almost everywhere in the city. The most famous ones are the "18th Street Fried Dough Twists", so called because they are made at the former 18th Street.
The Guifaxiang Fried Dough Twist General Shop is now situated at 568 Dagu Road South in Hexi District, the original location of the former 18th Street shop. It produces the traditional 18th Street Fried Dough Twists. The dough twists made at this shop are aromatic, sweet, crunchy and crisp. Guifaxiang dough twists are also sold in Food Street. Each of the dough twists weighs about two or three pounds. They are appetizing in colour and fancy in shape.
A snack of strong local flavour, guobacai is a sort of pancake made of millet and mung bean flour. The pancake is sliced and cooked in the sauce made of sesame oil, chopped ginger, soy sauce, preserved beancurd and green onion. Guobacai is often served along with fried dough and sesame cakes.
Chatang SoupChatang is Tianjin's traditional snack. It is made of baked millet and glutinous millet flour. The soup is made by pouring boiling water to the mixed flour and then add sugar or brown sugar.
The way chatang being served at stalls is as attractive as the soup itself. The water is boiled in a big copper pot whose spout is usually fashioned into a dragon's head. While making the soup, the skilled chatang maker holds several bowls in one hand and pours the boiling water into them from quite a distance.
It is a custom in Tianjin to eat tangdui on the eve of the Chinese New Year. The most popular tangdui is made of hawthorn berry. Hawthorn berries have their seeds removed and are skewered on a thin bamboo stick, then dipped in hot syrup. When they turn cool, the stringed berries wrapped in crystal sugar look like beautiful stone beans pungently sweet and sour.
Sometimes, the hollowed hawthorn berries are filled with red bean paste, walnut and melon seeds. Today, in addition to hawthorn, a wide variety of tangdui has been developed, including water chestnut, tangerine, apple, pear and crab-apple, etc.