As a kind of flower shaped steamed bun, flowery flour buns is also called Huamo or Mianhua, popular in North China provinces. It is made with flour. Fermented flour is kneaded into various shapes such as animals, fruits and flowers, and then steamed and finally colored. The shape of flowery flour buns is really vivid and interesting, while the beautiful colors make them look particularly delightful and appetizing.
Making flowery flour buns is a festival tradition. During the festivals, holidays, birthday parties, or weddings, women use knives, scissors, nippers, and combs to make animals, such as tigers, mice, fish, and birds, and apparatus, such as eyes, noses, and hands, meaning luck, prosperity, and harvest. Flowery flour buns are normally sweet in taste and served at dinners between the dishes.
Flowery flour buns are not only a food, but also an art. The buns are vivid and magnified in shape, rich in color and local flavor, and delicate and exquisite in taste. The way to make them was handed down from generation to generation in Shanxi, Shandong and Shaanxi provinces as a basic skill for women.
In the home of a person who just got married, flowery flour buns are sent by his relatives as a congratulatory gift. The flowery flour bun with a picture of dragons and phoenixes conveys the meaning of blessings and prosperity. The flowery flour bun in the shape of a chain of locks expresses the hope that the newly married couple will lead a life that is happily ever after.
Flowery flour buns shaped like a rabbit and tiger are given to children to show the wish that a boy should be as strong as tiger and a girl as lovely and clever as a white rabbit. Flowery flour buns in the shape of birds are used to show that children will be good at singing and dancing like birds.