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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.


Heping District
77 Shandong Lu

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14 COMMENTS... read them below or add one

  1. amy

    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

    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. 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 :-|

  4. 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

  5. NYMY

    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?

  6. 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?

  7. tony sieh

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


    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.


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