2016/01/12

Wonton

Wonton


As a sort of traditional food in China, wonton originated in North China. It was viewed by ancient Chinese as a sealed stuffed bun without holes and therefore was named "Huidun" (meaning chaos). It was later called "wonton" in line with the formation rule of Chinese characters.

Wonton is a flour product made by stuffing and then steaming, boiling or frying. It looked almost the same as dumplings at early stage, and then in the Tang Dynasty these two were distinguished with different names. Wonton wrapper is of square shape with approx. 6cm-long side, or of isosceles trapezoid shape with approx. 5cm-long upper side and 7cm-long lower side; dumpling wrapper is of roundness with a diameter of 7cm. As a delicate flour product, wonton is thinner than dumpling in the wrapper which is transparent after being cooked. The stuffing of wonton is usually made of pork, shrimp meat, vegetables, shallot and ginger. There are many improved types of wonton with different ingredients and cooking styles, such as Sichuan hot and spicy wonton, Wuxi Sanxian wonton (stuffed with pork, dried and shelled shrimps, and preserved szechuna pickle), Guangdong wonton noodle, Hong Kong fried wonton and Shanghai small pork wonton.

Wonton has a long history. There existed numerous wonton restaurants in cities in the Tang and Song Dynasties. Wonton was featured by clear soup and delicate stuffing at that time. Its fineness was ever appraised by poets and was hard to achieve by common people. In ancient times, it was a custom in some regions to eat wonton on the midwinter day, which is said to has bearing on a famous doctor — Zhang Zhongjing. He ever stuffed wonton with medicinal materials on the midwinter day to cure villagers who suffered frostbite. Wonton’s function as a medicinal dish was also recorded in the Compendium of Materia Medica.

Seemingly simple, making wonton is in fact a difficult handiwork. At present, "Wrapping wonton" has become an activity favored by many foreigners in China.