Friday, November 11, 2011

Chinese International Singles Day Celebration Food

Singles Day, One's Day or Guang Gun Jie ("bare sticks holiday") is a Chinese pop culture holiday on November 11 for people who are still living the single life. It's a day for singles to celebrate and socialize. The traditional food to eat on Singles Day is Youtiao and Baozi.

Chinese fried bread - Photo courtesy of Stu Spivack
Celebration Food:
For breakfast on Singles' Day, singles often eat four Youtiao (deep-fried dough sticks) representing the four "ones" in "11.11" and one Baozi (steamed stuffed bun) representing the middle dot.

Youtiao literally "oil strip" - also known as you char kway in Hokkien, yau ja gwai in Cantonese, and Chinese oil stick, Chinese donut, Chinese cruller, fried bread stick- is a long, golden-brown, deep fried strip of dough in Chinese cuisine and other East and Southeast Asian cuisines and is usually eaten for breakfast. Conventionally, youtiao are lightly salted and made so they can be torn lengthwise in two. Youtiao are normally eaten as an accompaniment for rice congee or soy milk.

Chinese Dumplings - Photo courtesy of J. Samuel Burner
A bāozi or simply known as bao, bau, humbow, nunu, bausak, pow or pau is a type of steamed, filled bun or bread-like (i.e. made with yeast) item in various Chinese cuisines, as there is much variation as to the fillings and the preparations. In its bun-like aspect it is very similar to the traditional Chinese mantou. It can be filled with meat and/or vegetarian fillings.
Two types are found in most parts of China: Dabao, measuring about 10 cm across, served individually, and usually purchased for take-away. The other type, xiaobao, measure approximately 3 cm wide, and are most commonly eaten in restaurants. Each order consists of a steamer containing about 10 pieces. A small ceramic dish is provided for vinegar or soy sauce, both of which are available in bottles at the table, along with chilli paste. According to legend, they were invented by the scholar and military strategist Zhuge Liang (3rd century AD).

Some singles also choose to say goodbye to their single lives on this day: 
many attend 'blind date' parties and many people choose to marry on this day. In addition to meaning 'single,' the four 'ones' of the date can also mean 'only one' as in 'the only one for me.' Some people will use this date and this meaning to tell their special someone that they are the only 'one' in their heart.
  • This holiday is not to be confused with International Singles Awareness Day or QiXi.
  • Cruller is a similar food like youtiao which is also a celebration food. See recipe
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resources: originated from Nanjing University in 1993 / wikipedia / /
links: Guang Gun Jie Cartoon / ABC News 11/11/11 / the Star: A special day for singles

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