Chukaman: Types of Japanese Winter Steamed Buns
Annually from around September through the winter, Chinese-style steamed buns called “Chukaman (中華まん)” are sold at each convenience store chain in Japan.
Those buns are heated and kept hot in a food warmer showcase set next to the checkout counter.
The dough of Chukaman is made from wheat flour, sugar, yeast, and baking powder, and leavened with a savory or sweet filling.
Since each Japanese convenience store chain develops and sells its own Chukaman with various unique fillings, it’s fun to try such new flavors.
4 Most Common Chukaman Varieties
Chukaman was transmitted from China about 100 years ago and now has been widely enjoyed in Japan.
As I mentioned above, in recent years, Chukaman is available in various varieties, but there are 4 common types that can be seen so often, about which I will talk this time.
By the way, the word “man (まん)” included in the name of each type of Chukaman is the abbreviation of “Manju (饅頭)“.
Nikuman (肉まん) or Butaman (豚まん)
First off, Nikuman is a type of Chukaman referred to as “steamed pork bun” in English-speaking countries. In its name, “Niku (肉)” means “meat” in Japanese, by the way.
The filling of Nikuman generally consists of ground pork and finely chopped vegetables, such as onion, bamboo shoot, and shiitake mushroom.
In western Japan, Nikuman is called Butaman because the Japanese word meaning meat, “Niku (肉)” usually refers to beef in that area. In its name, “Buta (豚)” is the specific Japanese word for “pig” or “hog”, by the way.
As the word “An (あん, 餡)” here refers to “Anko (餡子)” or sweet red bean paste, An-man is a type of Chukaman filled with Anko paste.
While Anman sold at convenience stores in east Japan is typically filled with a smooth Anko paste mixed with black sesame seed jam, the stores in west Japan usually carry Anman with a filling of chunky Anko paste.
As you can easily guess from the name and color, Curryman is a type of Chukaman filled with curry-flavored ground pork.
Actually, the wheat flour dough of Curryman is colored with turmeric or food coloring, which makes this Chukaman more like curry and appetizing.
Pizzaman is a type of Chukaman with a filling of bacon bits and melting cheese, which is prepared using a tangy, fruity tomato sauce.
(Reference Page: Wikipedia 中華まん )