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'Jiaodong hua bobo': flouring of tradition and artistry

(chinadaily.com.cn) | 2018-04-11

Jiaodong hua bobo, literally flour flower, refers to flower-shaped steamed buns. The time-honored treat is related to folklore activities such as sacrificial ritual, celebration and traditional festivals, and is common in the Shandong Peninsula. It was listed as the Shandong provincial intangible cultural heritage in 2009.

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The Jiaodong hua bobo with a match of dragon and phoenix is called long feng cheng xiang (the auspicious dragon and phoenix show prosperity, good luck and eternal love). It is used as a congratulatory gift for newly-married friends and relatives. [Photo/ql1d.com]    

Fermented flour is kneaded into various shapes such as animals, gourds, flowers and figures in Chinese fairy tales, and then steamed and finally painted. Their beautiful and bright colors make them particularly festive, delightful and appetizing.

Making Jiaodong hua bobo is a festival tradition in Shandong province. Every festival, holiday, wedding ceremony and birthday celebration, women use knives, scissors, nippers, and combs to make auspicious figures such as mandarin duck, carp, dragon, phoenix and peach with fermented flour. The meaning common to them all is good luck, blessings, peace, longevity and prosperity.

Jiaodong hua bobo is normally sweet in taste and served at dinners between the dishes.

The way to make Jiaodong hua bobo is passed down from generation to generation in Shandong province, and is a basic skill for housewives to have in the region.

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The Jiaodong hua bobo decorated with a pair of dragon and phoenix and flowers is called sui sui ping an (wishing peace and good luck throughout the years). It is used as a sacrifice to bring about a prosperous year in the tradition of Shandong province. [Photo/ql1d.com]    

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The Jiaodong hua bobo is not only a food, but also an art. It is vivid in shape, dazzling in color, rich in local flavor, and delicate and exquisite in artistry. [Photo/ql1d.com]