Paomo 泡馍


Chinese Name: 泡馍

English Name: Paomo; Steamed bun

Category: Staple主食

Main Ingredients: Flour

Paomo 泡馍

Paomo泡馍 is a kind of food made from beef and mutton. It was first created in the Western Zhou Dynasty西周 and has a long history. Su Shi苏轼, a famous poet in the Northern Song Dynasty南宋, left a poem saying, “There are bears and wax in Gansu cuisine, but only mutton soup in Qin cuisine陇馔有熊腊,秦烹唯羊羹”. Because it is warm and hunger-resistant, it has always been loved by the Shaanxi people. Foreign guests also try to taste it to satisfy their taste. Mutton Paomo has become the “general representative” of Shaanxi’s famous food.

In 1936, General Yang Hucheng杨虎城, the general of the Northwest Army of the Kuomintang, hosted Chiang Kai Shek蒋介石 in Xi’an with steamed buns soaked in beef and mutton. In 1947, when the Kuomintang was running for the National Congress, it used beef and mutton to win votes. At that time, the newspaper headline was: “If you want to run for the National Congress, treat yourself to mutton-soaked buns”, and exchange a bowl of mutton-soaked buns for a vote.

Paomo 泡馍
Delicious mutton steamed bun

According to historical records, the steamed bun with beef and mutton evolved from the ancient beef and mutton soup. Many ancient documents, such as the Book of Rites礼记 and the philosophers of the Pre-Qin Dynasty, mentioned beef and mutton soup. At first, it was mainly used for sacrifices and royal feasts. In the Western Zhou Dynasty, beef and mutton soup were listed as ritual dishes for kings and princes.

According to the literature, the imperial meals and market stores in the Tang Dynasty唐朝 were good at making soup. “Three days into the kitchen, wash your hands for soup三日入厨下,洗手作羹汤”. The soup made of mutton is the embryonic form of today’s steamed bun soaked in beef and mutton. After the Tang唐, Five Dynasties五代, Song宋, Yuan元, and other dynasties, people of all ethnic groups moved into the mainland.

In addition, Xi’an is located in the northwest fortress and close to the pastoral area, which is a good market for cattle and sheep trading. Xi’an’s Xiyang City西羊市, Dongyang City东羊市, and other ancient historical streets and alleys are the sheep market at that time. All these have provided conditions for the formation and development of beef and mutton steamed buns.

Paomo 泡馍
Mutton steamed bun with rich side dishes

There is also an interesting legend about the famous steamed bun with beef and mutton in Xi’an. It is said that Zhao Kuangyin赵匡胤, the Emperor Taizu of the Song Dynasty宋太祖, lived in poverty and fell on the streets of Chang’an (today’s Xi’an City) when he was not successful. One day, there were only two steamed buns left on my body, which were too dry and hard to swallow.

Just as it happened, there was a mutton shop cooking mutton on the roadside, so he went to beg for a bowl of mutton soup to make the steamed bun soft before eating. Seeing his pity, the shopkeeper asked him to break the steamed bun and pour it into a spoonful of hot mutton soup. Zhao Kuangyin took the steamed bun and ate it with a big mouth, which made his whole body warm, his head sweating, and his hunger and cold disappeared.

Paomo 泡馍
A mutton-soaked bun that can stimulate the appetite

Ten years later, in 960 AD, Zhao Kuangyin became the founding emperor of the Northern Song Dynasty and was called Taizu. On a tour of Chang’an, I passed by the mutton shop in that year. The smell was so strong that I couldn’t help thinking of the scene of eating mutton soup and steamed buns before, so I ordered the shopkeeper to stop and make a bowl of mutton soup and steamed buns.

The shopkeeper panicked. He didn’t sell steamed buns in the shop. What would he use to soak them? I asked my wife to bake some cakes at once. When the cake was baked, the shopkeeper saw that it was made of unfermented flour and was not very ripe.

The shopkeeper was afraid that the emperor would get sick, so he had to break the cake into pieces, pour mutton soup and boil it, put a few large pieces of mutton on it, carefully prepare the sauce, and then serve it to the emperor. After eating, Zhao Kuangyin praised him greatly and ordered his followers to give him 100 Liang silver. The news spread all over Chang’an. As a result, more and more people come to the shop to eat mutton soup and steamed buns, forming a unique flavor of food in Chang’an.

Paomo 泡馍
A mini version of a mutton steamed bun

In the 17th year of Chongzhen崇祯 in the Ming Dynasty明代 (1644), the “Tianci Building天赐楼”, which specializes in making steamed buns with beef and mutton, was opened in Qiaozikou. Ma Jianxing, a famous chef of the Hui nationality, is famous in the ancient city for his prosperous business. During the Boxer War in the late Qing Dynasty, Empress Dowager Cixi fled to Xi’an with Emperor Guangxu. She once came here to taste and praised it. At that time, British expatriates who worked in the postal service of the Chinese Association also often came to dinner.

Over the past 300 years, following the “Tianci Building”, more than 10 Paomo restaurants have emerged successively, including “Laosun Family”, “Tongshengxiang”, “Yixiang Building”, “Yijian Building”, “Laotong Family”, “Dingxingchun” and “Laoliu Family”. They have studied each other and each has its own characteristics, making the Paomo technology perfect.

How to make Paomo?


  • 300g glutinous rice flour
  • 90g clear face
  • 12g fine wormwood powder
  • 30g lard
  • 500g bean paste
  • 20g fine granulated sugar
  • 300g boiled water
  • 80g warm water
Paomo 泡馍
Attractive mutton steamed bun


  • Step 1, The wormwood before Qingming Festival is used. The wormwood at this time is the most tender and very green.
  • Step 2, Prepare the ingredients. Blanch the wormwood leaves and mashes them. Add the powder to mix and knead evenly.
  • Step 3, Then put the green dough in a pot with cold water and steam for 15 minutes. However, it takes five more minutes to steam the green dough wrapped with meat. You can also wrap some of your favorite fillings in the green dough, such as red beans, sesame seeds, peanut meat floss, etc.
Paomo 泡馍
Beautiful mutton steamed bun


  • After the green dough is steamed, take it out. You can also wrap the endless green dough with plastic wrap to prevent it from becoming dry.

Video Guide

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