JiaoZi Family vs. BaoZi Family

Jiao Zi – generic term for all things “dumpling”, which includes shui jiao (boiled dumpling), jian jiao (pan-fried dumpling), guo tie (pot sticker), and zheng jiao (steamed dumpling)

Bao Zi – generic term for all things “Bao Zi”, which includes XLB, XLTB, SJB, etc.

As a person from Shandong, there are generic terms for both dumplings and XLBs. Dumpling is called Jiao Zi. XLBs are part of what’s called Bao Zi family. Jiao Zi are usually boiled or steamed. Bao Zi are usually steamed, but never boiled.

Both Jiao Zi and Bao Zi can be pan-fried. (The Chinese for pan-fry is “Jian”) If Jiao Zi is pan-fried – it is called either Jian Jiao or Guo Tie. Jian Jiao (short for Jian Jiao Zi – meaning pan-fry Jiao Zi) is a common Shandong home-style food for pan-frying previously boiled (already cooked) Jiao Zi.

Guo Tie on the other hand are made differently from Jiao Zi and also cooked raw by pan-frying directly (instead of boiled first). When Bao Zi is pan-friend, you get something called Sheng Jian Bao (SJB or Shui Jian Bao). When we mention pot stickers, it is usually referring to Guo Tie and not Jian Jiao, as it is not really a restaurant dish here.

In terms of Bao Zi, Shanghai-style XLB as what people are most familiar with here are what we call Xiao Long Tang Bao as someone mentioned. There are XLB in the north as well, but those do not necessary contain soup. The Shanghai style XLB technically a sort of XLTB.

Yes, it can all be very confusing, but the bottom line is XLB nowadays are most often referred to the Shanghai style steamed version, where as dumplings are most often referred to the Shandong/Northern style dumplings. Guo Tie is basically a sort of pan-fried dumpling.

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2 Responses

  1. jodi says:

    thank you for the explanation. I read it twice to make sure I understood. 🙂

  2. Cat says:

    I typically associate dumplings with northern Chinese food. I have never thought of XLB as part of the baozi family cuz XLB is southern Chinese whereas baozi is kinda northern Chinese. Oh yeah, which category do wantons fall in? Maybe a southern style offshoot of dumplings? Anyhoo. All are yummy.

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