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Tianjin Goubuli Baozi (天津狗不理包子) http://rasamalaysia.com/tianjin-goubuli-baozi-steamed-buns/
May 29th, 2009 14 Comments

Tianjin Goubuli Baozi (天津狗不理包子)

Tianjin Goubuli Baozi (天津狗不理包子)
Tianjin Goubuli Baozi (天津狗不理包子) pictures (8 of 8)

I went to Tianjin (天津) today, a city east of Beijing and a mere 30 minutes away by high-speed bullet train. It’s a city with lots of history but I came here mostly for these baozi and to check out the food scenes here.

Goubuli baozi (狗不理包子) is famous in China with branches all over mainland China. The original restaurant was opened in 1858.  There was a farmer in the countryside of Tianjin whose son was born when he was 40. He named the baby “Gouzi” (狗子) or “baby dog.” Gouzi went to Tianjin to apprentice in a steamed buns shop when he was 14. He learned the skills and later opened a stall selling steamed pork buns or boazi (包子 ). His baozi was so soft and fragrant that he soon became very successful and attracted many patrons. Gouzi was always busy with his business that he had no time to talk to his customers.  Then, people started saying “Gouzi doesn’t talk when he’s selling his baozi (狗子买包不理人)”  and so people started calling him “Gou Bu Li” (狗不理), meaning he never paid attention to people or just simply ignore them…

These steamed buns were so famous that they were brought back to Empress Dowager Cixi (慈禧太后) and she loved them very much. Goubuli Baozi (狗不理包子)  became very famous throughout China since.

So, what was my verdict?

While these baozi (steamed buns) are rather tasty, I was quite underwhelmed.  First of all, the meat fillings were not as flavorful as I had originally anticipated, plus the texture was actually mushy. The mini baozi  (similar to xiao long bao) tasted better but still lack in depth compared to the regular Shanghainese xiao long bao.

All in all though, I didn’t regret coming to Tianjin, and certainly didn’t regret eating at Goubuli.  If you are in Tianjin, you might well want to try them out. There are various branches in Tianjin, but I went to the original one.

狗不理
天津市和平区山东路77号

Goubuli
Heping District
77 Shandong Lu
Tianjin

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14 comments... read them below or add one

  1. amy says:

    Nice photos! I grew up in Shanghai, China. My father wanted to make sure his children could learn as much as possible, even during the culture revolution. Occasionally he would bike an hour to this Goubuli restaurant and brought us the Baozi. They were juicy, soft and still warm, just like those in the pictures. I think there was only one Goubuli in Shanghai at that time.

    • Amy – that’s a very touching story. I agree that ones shouldn’t lose sight of his culture and roots and food is a very important component that shapes up that culture. :)

  2. XS says:

    I am a Chinese. I was disappointed when I had them. They no longer good. Before, goubuli baozi was very good, but now they are like fast food, they have many shops, so the baozi is no longer delicious.

  3. Eating365 says:

    This is the kind of food I can eat 365 days! Sucks that the pork is not good, but I am sure they were still good.

  4. They were still good, but I was expecting a lot more. Not sure what happened with the pork, I wonder if it was just me, or is it always like that.

  5. pixen says:

    It’s really frustrated when a business turned franchised and expanded based on reputation. Most of times, the original taste and quality are neglected. This happened anywhere… but to those who are lucky to taste such baozi, forever remembered the taste, story and memories of their childhood when this Gaobuli baozi was a special treat!

    In Belgium, I can’t find decent baos unlike in London or US… sighhhhh… Maybe have to force myself learning how to make them :-|

  6. For someone having breathe and dream plus tasted everything Nyonya , can’t blame you for the lacklustre sensations of these Chinese fillings tho it does look tender , white and pretty

  7. NYMY says:

    Haha, thanks for sharing the story behind this Tianjin Goubuli Baozi (天津狗不理包子). I tried it once in a Chinese restaurant here in NY and I thought it was some gimmick by the owner, just to name it “who the hell cares buns?!?!” That’s quite New York, I first thought. By the way, the Goubuli Baozi 狗不理包子 tasted just like any other pork buns available in dim sum restaurant, no?

  8. Diana says:

    I was also very disappointed by the Goubuli baozi. The fillings were pretty tasteless and didn’t seem fresh, and 40 rmb for a box of 8 is a total rip-off. I’m sure it still gets business because people who went there decades ago keep passing on the word.

    • Yes, the word of mouth is still strong for this Goubuli Baozi (狗不理包子). Besides this original restaurant in Tianjin (天津) and its franchises, I’m sure there are restaurants that do a good job translating this delicate Chinese creation. Any readers care to share their favorite Goubuli Baozi (狗不理包子) experience?

  9. tony sieh says:

    Great buns + great food + great restaurant setting = excellent dinning experience?

    WRONG!!!

    This is one of the worst service that we have ever encountered! I was so frustrated that I almost tip the table over. I would never ever go back again and would not recommend anyone to go, simply unbelievable lousy service standard.

    I don’t care how good the food is, but service must be there. I can get better service at a McDonald’s.

    (20/06/2009)周六晚带了几位外宾到贵餐厅“上档次”的塘沽分店用餐。订了单间,抵达时说没有了(撒谎,因为已8:30,不想麻烦),告诉大堂经理如果打电话订了,来了说没有,那就不吃,走了。结果马上说有房间。
    第二道菜还没上,空调关了,说是中央空调定时关闭。结果吃的我们冒的汗必包子还多。
    想跟经理反应,连理都不理,光派个小主管来打发我们走。
    感慨!感慨!
    名副其实的”狗不理“,连“狗”都不理啊。吃饭要吃成这种程度,做人还有尊严吗?!
    以后不但不再去了,还要告诫所有亲朋好友千千万万不可去!根本是花钱找罪受。

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