National Bao Day

National Bao Day is a holiday that falls on August 22nd every year and is a day when everyone can celebrate the steamed buns known as bao. Bao, also known as baozi, is a steamed bun traditionally filled with a pork filling but can be filled with a variety of different sweet or savory fillings. The holiday on which this dumpling is celebrated is a great excuse for people to enjoy these dumplings. It’s also a good reason for people who aren’t familiar with bao to try them for the first time.

The History Of National Bao Day

This holiday was created by Wow Bao—a company that offers Asian street food such as steamed dumplings, pan-seared potstickers, noodle bowls, rice bowls, and bao. They created this holiday to raise the profile of bao restaurants in the U.S. and to encourage people to try them. They chose the 22nd of August for this holiday because it was when their first bao-centric restaurant was established in Chicago.

The Legendary History Of Bao

Bao is food that developed in Chinese culture around the 3rd century and comes from Mantou. According to legend, bao was created by the military strategist Zhuge Liang while he was returning from his Southern Campaign near the province now known as Sichuan. In this story, he was attempting to cross a river guarded by a deity but couldn’t do so because the deity wanted the heads of 50 of his soldiers as payment for passage. Not wanting to sacrifice his troops, he decided to instead order 50 buns that looked like human heads to appease the deity. The deity accepted the buns as payment, and safe passage was granted to him and his army. The buns were then labeled Mantou or “barbarian’s heads.” Of course, no one really knows who invented bao; every province in China seems to have its own origin story.

The Different Types Of Bao

Although it would be nearly impossible for us to list every variation of bao that might exist in the world, we can list some of our favorite varieties. Below are some of the bao types that we enjoy and think everyone should try at least once in their lifetime.

  • Char Siu Bao
  • Xiao Long Bao
  • Guantang Bao
  • Red Bean Paste Bao
  • Lotus Seed Bao
  • Wow Bao Pizza Bao
  • Wow Bao Chicken Teriyaki

Observing National Bao Day

Anyone wanting to observe National Bao Day can do so by going to their favorite restaurant that serves bao and picking up one, two, or several dozen of these dumplings. You can also try your hand at making your own at home if you feel adventurous. While you’re celebrating this holiday, use the hashtag #NationalBaoDay on your social media accounts to raise awareness about these little buns and about this holiday.

When is it?
This year (2024)
August 22 Thursday
Next year (2025)
August 22 Friday
Last year (2023)
August 22 Tuesday
Food & Drinks