To - Other Produce
Bread - Sandwich
|You may think this is a pretty stupid
addition to our website - that is until you come
to try and buy bread in China.
By default Chinese bakers manage to empty a large
tripper truck full of sugar into every small loaf
- it really is that sweet! This is fine on the
odd occasions you may want to buy currant bread
or malt loaf - both of which are easy to find
in stores and supermarkets.
The problems begin when you want to buy a savoury
bread suitable for making sandwiches, as this
is extremely difficult to find in China!
The good news is that it is actually quite easy
to obtain a reasonable savoury sandwich bread
if you know where to go and what to buy. You will
need to read Chinese to do this.
|Ham min bao
'min bao' is a general Cantonese word for bread,
which can also mean dim sun muffins made with
rice flour. Rice flour always makes products noticeably
white, whilst wheat flour always gives a faint
yellow appearance - that's your first clue.
'Ham' pronounced 'haam' means salty (yim means
salt) and when added before 'min bao' means western
style sandwich bread. Do not use this word in
other circumstances, as it is usually used to
refer to sexual things concerning men!
This does not mean you're home free, as even this
can have extra sugar in it, or very frequently
applied to the crust = and all of the crust! This
is very common in the street bakeries which are
best avoided (exceptions).
Sandwich Bread usually means going to
a large supermarket and taking time to select
the right product. The store will normally sell
something edible and there will be two racks of
it ready sliced in a clear plastic bag. The larger
shelf is normally sugar laden, and the smaller
shelf what you are looking for - but not always.
|To choose the right bread examine our pictured
label above. The last character in brackets at
the top means 'ham'. The label will appear exactly
the same on other bread nearby, but this single
character will be different.
I buy my bread pictured above from Vanguard supermarket
and it is excellent. You can see this loaf was
priced at Y3.90 RMB and contains 10 slices. The
loaf on the right is full of sugar yet looks identical.
Garden Brand 'Happy Chef' bread is
sold all over China and is very reliable. They offer
a full range of sandwich breads including: white, brown,
dark brown, dark brown with bits in, and a high fibre
version also. You may not always find all of these in
one supermarket, but they are kosher.The see-through
packet is marked by white lettering on a red background
at the top, and has a happy chef motif. They contain
8 slices of bread.
Vitabread or similar name also
sell packaged bread in supermarkets, and it is presented
exactly as you would expect in the west. These tend
to be long loves about half as high as a normal one,
and come ready sliced. One of them is just about ok
if you are desperate - it may be the blue one? All the
others contain vast amounts of sugar + eggs, currants,
nuts = all sorts of horrible things!
for burgers and sandwiches can also be bought - mainly
from large supermarkets. They may hint at too much sugar,
or may not. Usually ones with sesame seeds on top are
OK for burgers, if slightly dry. You really take a chance
with other rolls and won't know if they are sugar or
salt until you eat them.
French Bread = Baguettes and Batons
are freely available in most large supermarkets, but
may not be quite what they appear to be. Most of you
will be aware that good french bread is made from only
the best French flour, baked, and eaten within 6 hours.
Chinese bakers do not use French flour, and can leave
sticks out in fancy wrappers on the shelves for days.
I think they actually make them with concrete, as the
only useful purpose I can image for these things is
to beat a stubborn donkey with.
We do not intend to even try to cover every type of
bread sold in China in this section, but will bring
your attention to one other that we like.
Xi'an Bread is notable for being a
flat British style muffin that is white in colour. They
are up to 4 inches across and about 1 inch high. They
are used to make Chinese hamburgers, which we often
enjoy late at night in the backstreet's of Foshan. They
are a semi-levened bread which is usually filled with
seasoned lamb, coriander leaves, and wicked chilli.
My friend tells me they are identical to the ones sold
in Xi'an when she was at University there. On the streets
they are sold by the Moslems of Qinghai and Xinjiang
who wear small white hats.
You will find these in the freezer section of any good
supermarket and probably on the fresh bread counter
also. They are ideal for making instant meals. Simply
pop in a toaster and wait until they brown slightly,
cut in half and fill with whatever.
Your only problem is that they will make a range of
these, and only one will be suitable - the rest being
full of sugar and other unimaginable's such as diced
nuts in red date sauce. Yuck! However, once you work
out which is the plain salty one they are excellent,
and resemble in many ways soda bread.
|If you want to make your own bread then we tell you
how here, and making
pitta bread (Unknown in China) is detailed here.
information is as supplied by ourselves, and ably supported
by our friends and various internet portals.