Zang Chaiyuan, a 25-year-old from Yantai, East China’s Shandong province, has become an overnight sensation with her unique twist on a traditional food item. Zang’s specialty is the “Jiaodong huabobo,” a flower-shaped steamed bun that has been a staple at local festivals and celebrations for over 300 years. Using her creative instincts, Zang has managed to breathe new life into the traditional bun, making it a highly sought-after treat among locals and tourists alike.
Zang’s buns have become so popular that people line up for hours to get their hands on them. Her success has been the result of her ingenuity and creativity, which she has used to incorporate modern elements into the traditional food. Her buns come in a range of shapes, from cute rabbits dressed in lion dance costumes to treasure bowls and lucky bags, among others. Zang’s adept hands are responsible for shaping these buns, making them visually appealing and highly desirable.
The popularity of Zang’s buns has not gone unnoticed. Her creations have been listed as a provincial intangible cultural heritage in Shandong since 2009, and her online presence has earned her approximately 100 million views across multiple platforms, including Douyin and Sina Weibo. Zang’s attention to detail is what sets her buns apart from others. She believes that it is the small details that matter, which is why she takes pains to ensure that every bun she creates is a masterpiece in its own right.
Zang’s creative process involves meticulous planning and execution. As demonstrated in one of her videos, she took great care to create a red-flour layer to dress up her rabbit and meticulously sculpt its facial features and fur. She also made a point of highlighting the cuffs, adding an extra touch of flair to her creations. It is this level of attention to detail that has made Zang’s buns so popular, earning her a loyal following of customers who are willing to wait in line for hours just to get a taste.
Zang Chaiyuan’s success is a testament to the power of creativity and innovation. By breathing new life into a traditional food item, she has managed to turn flour into a gold mine, earning her the admiration and respect of her customers and peers. Zang’s ability to incorporate modern elements into a time-honored tradition has made her buns highly sought-after, and her attention to detail has elevated her creations to the level of art. It is no wonder that people are willing to wait in line for hours to try one of Zang’s buns.
As Zang Chaiyuan’s buns steam, her adorable rabbit-shaped buns come to life. The flour expands, the corners of the bun’s mouth turn upward, and its skin bounces back perfectly when Zang presses it with her fingers. These details have captivated Zang’s followers, many of whom have inquired about purchasing her buns and commented on how they are too cute to eat.
With the New Year holiday approaching, Zang is snowed under with orders. Her unique approach to making Jiaodong huabobo has earned her a loyal following and transformed her into an online sensation. Zang’s ingenuity in breathing new life into traditional food has made her buns highly sought-after, and people are willing to wait in long lines just to taste them.
Zang’s success is a result of her keen observation of the market. She noticed that most huabobo shops were running the old-fashioned way, catering only to their local customers. Zang recognized the potential for long-distance sales and set out to create a product that would appeal to a broader audience. She ensured that her buns could be preserved for more than two months in a freezer, making them perfect for long-distance shipping.
Zang’s efforts have paid off, as her buns have become highly sought-after. Customers from all over the country place orders for her buns, and her social media presence has earned her millions of views across multiple platforms. Her success is a testament to the power of innovation, and she has managed to turn a traditional food item into a highly profitable business.
Zang Chaiyuan’s success is a result of her ingenuity and creativity. She recognized the potential for long-distance sales and set out to create a product that would appeal to a broader audience. Her attention to detail has made her buns highly sought-after, and her social media presence has transformed her into an online sensation. Zang’s success is a testament to the power of innovation, and she has managed to turn a traditional food item into a highly profitable business.
Zang Chaiyuan’s innovative approach to huabobo has breathed new life into this traditional food and made it popular among a younger generation. Zang recognized the potential for expanding sales and popularity by moving the intangible cultural heritage online. However, her journey was not without obstacles.
Initially, Zang faced resistance from her parents, who believed that young people should pursue stable careers as civil servants or teachers. Moreover, they thought that bun making was best left to elderly women. Despite these objections, Zang remained steadfast in her belief in the potential of huabobo.
Zang’s determination paid off as her buns became an instant hit, and she gained a massive following online. Her unique approach to bun making and attention to detail have made her buns highly sought-after, and people from all over the country place orders for them.
Zang’s success is a testament to the power of pursuing one’s passions, even in the face of opposition. She has managed to create a profitable business and preserve a traditional food item by innovating and appealing to a younger audience. Zang’s journey serves as an inspiration to young entrepreneurs who may face opposition but must stay true to their beliefs and pursue their passions.
Zang Chaiyuan’s journey to success has been marked by perseverance and innovation. She faced opposition from her parents but remained steadfast in her belief in the potential of huabobo. Her unique approach to bun making and attention to detail have made her buns highly sought-after, and her social media presence has transformed her into an online sensation. Zang’s journey serves as an inspiration to young entrepreneurs who must pursue their passions and stay true to their beliefs, even in the face of opposition.
Upon completing her international trade studies at Yantai University in 2018, Zang Chaiyuan realized that she wanted to start her own business rather than pursue a regular job. Although she had worked at a hospital and a shopping mall before, these experiences only confirmed her belief that she needed to pursue something she truly enjoyed to succeed. It wasn’t until the beginning of 2020 that Zang turned her attention to huabobo, a popular traditional food in her hometown of Yantai, East China’s Shandong province.
As Zang researched the huabobo market, she discovered that it was a staple of local birthdays and other celebrations, making it a potentially lucrative business venture. Her love for the food, which her grandmother used to make for her in various shapes, only added to her excitement about the idea. Zang recalls that her grandmother would also give her dough and teach her how to make animals as toys, always emphasizing that the buns should not only look good and taste delicious but also be healthy.
Huabobo is a type of flour bun that has become an essential part of major occasions, including weddings, birthdays, and holidays. Local women use knives, scissors, nippers, and combs to shape the dough into auspicious figures such as ducks, gourds, dragons, phoenixes, and peaches, which are then steamed. The buns’ bright and beautiful colors are believed to convey blessings, peace, longevity, and prosperity.
Zang initially faced opposition from her parents, who believed that young people should pursue more stable careers, such as civil service or teaching. They also thought that making buns was better suited to older women. Nevertheless, Zang stood her ground and pursued her passion for huabobo. She saw an opportunity to modernize the industry by moving it online and expanding its sales channels.
While huabobo had been listed as a provincial intangible cultural heritage in Shandong since 2009, Zang noticed that most of the local shops were still operating in an old-fashioned manner, catering mainly to neighborhood customers. She recognized that by preserving the buns for over two months in a freezer, she could make long-distance sales possible, opening up new markets for huabobo. Her innovative approach, which includes crafting intricate shapes and designs, has turned Zang into an online sensation, with approximately 100 million views on various platforms, including Douyin and Sina Weibo.
Zang Chaiyuan’s entrepreneurial spirit and passion for traditional cuisine have enabled her to turn flour into a gold mine. Her adept hands and eye for detail have breathed new life into huabobo, a popular Shandong province delicacy that has been enjoyed for over 300 years. Her success serves as a reminder that with determination, hard work, and a little creativity, anyone can turn their passion into a successful business venture.
According to Jia Yuping, a provincial inheritor of the intangible cultural heritage, the process of making huabobo involves several steps, including concocting, fermenting, and kneading the dough, as well as pinching, carving, steaming, and coloring it. Tools such as knives, scissors, and pens are usually used in the creation of huabobo. Zang Chaiyuan, the 25-year-old from Yantai who has turned huabobo into a modern delicacy, first learned the basic skills from an experienced huabobo master and then practiced on her own.
Zang found the process frustrating at the beginning, as the buns would often crack after being steamed. She learned that concocting the dough and taking care of its fermentation is the key to making the perfect huabobo, which required trial and error. Zang also uses natural fruit and vegetable juice, such as that of spinach, pumpkin, and butterfly peas, to color the flour, along with milk, eggs, and a bit of sugar.
With a little more than 10,000 yuan ($1,437) of her own savings, Zang opened her first small huabobo shop in Yantai. Initially, her family was not supportive of her decision to open a huabobo shop, as they believed young people should find a stable job like being a civil servant or a teacher. However, Zang stood her ground, and her family eventually came around to help her.
After seeing the commitment and success Zang achieved, her family no longer stood in her way. The cute flour figures she created soon appealed to an increasing number of customers, especially those from her generation. Zang’s huabobo shop has become an online sensation, with approximately 100 million views on multiple platforms, including Douyin and Sina Weibo.
Zang’s success with huabobo is largely due to her ability to blend traditional elements with modern creativity. The buns she creates range from cute rabbits dressed in lion dance costumes to treasure bowls and lucky bags, among others. Her attention to detail and insistence on using natural ingredients make her huabobo unique and delicious.
Huabobo has been a popular traditional food in China’s Jiaodong peninsula for more than 300 years. Its flower-shaped steamed buns have been a treat at local folk activities such as celebrations and festivals and were listed as a provincial intangible cultural heritage in Shandong in 2009. With her modern twist, Zang has managed to turn flour into a gold mine and expand the sales and popularity of this beloved traditional delicacy.
Zang’s passion for huabobo has driven her to not only learn the traditional craft but also to create new designs. Her skills have improved over time, leading to increased sales both in her brick-and-mortar shops and through online orders. With her social media following of over 50,000 fans, Zang opened a second shop in downtown Yantai and hired eight employees.
Zang receives 30 to 40 orders per day, with each order consisting of two to three kilograms of buns worth around 300 yuan. Her popularity has led to customers from major cities, including Beijing, Shanghai, and Hangzhou, placing orders for her products. Despite accusations that making buns is a waste of her college education, Zang believes that there is no hierarchy in careers and that young people should try traditional crafts.
As her popularity grows, Zang feels more pressure to make huabobo more exquisite. She has held training sessions and created a video for those who are interested in learning the craft. Many young women, especially new mothers, have shown interest in picking up huabobo skills, and some have already opened their own shops.
Zang plans to apply her financial background to her business venture by standardizing production and forming a complete supply chain for huabobo. She wants to make her passion for huabobo her career and promote the craft, which she believes is worth preserving. Zang is glad that more young people have engaged in the traditional craft, and she encourages others to think outside the box and try new things, including traditional crafts that need young people to carry forward.