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Gou Bu Li (Dog Doesn’t Care Dumplings 狗不理)

What is it?
Gou bu li, which translates as ‘the dog doesn’t care’, is a type of traditional baozi, or steamed bun, filled with pork stuffing and soup. Shaped like a chrysanthemum, the dumpling originates from Tianjin and apparently even Empress Dowager Cixi was a fan, sending a courtier to the northern city to bring back baozi for her.

In 2008, in anticipation of the Beijing Olympics, officials decided to give gou bu li a less canine English name – “Go Believe” – to appeal to foreign visitors. This prompted ridicule among netizens.

Why is it famous?
Folklore suggests that the baozi were originally created in the 1850s by Gao Guiyou, a young man with the nickname Gouzi, which means ‘little dog’ in Chinese. At the age of 14, Gao left his hometown and travelled to Tianjin to be an apprentice at a steamed bun shop. There, he learned his dumpling skills before opening his own stall selling steamed pork buns. His baozi were so soft and fragrant that he quickly became very popular and attracted many patrons.

Such was Gao’s popularity that he was always busy at his restaurant and he had no time to talk to his customers. People started to complain: “Gouzi doesn’t talk when he’s selling his baozi”. Over time, people started calling him Gou Bu Li, which means, ‘the dog doesn’t care’.

Where to eat it?
Gao’s former baozi stand has since spawned a chain of restaurants in Tianjin. The flagship outlet is located on 77 Shandong Road, Heping District, Tianjin (Tel: 86-22-2730-2540). In Beijing, the restaurant Goubuli Baozi also makes another type of pork bun called San Xian Bao (三鲜包). The name, which means three delicacies, uses pork, fresh shrimp and dried scallop in the filling to add a different texture and flavour. Address: 29-31 Dashilanr (pedestrian walk), Qianmen, Beijing; Tel: 86-10-6353-3338.


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