Translation:What is the difference between steamed buns and buns?
For those unfamiliar, both are steamed buns made from wheat flour, but mantous are plain while baozis have a filling, normally either savory such as pork and gravy or egg and jiucai, or sweet such as the classic red bean paste.
From Wikipedia about origin of the name "mantou": A popular Chinese legend relates that the name mantou actually originated from the homophonous word mántóu, which literally means "barbarian's head". The legend was set in the Three Kingdoms period (220–280 CE) when Zhuge Liang (诸葛亮), the Chancellor of the state of Shu Han, led the Shu army on a campaign against Nanman forces in the southern lands of Shu, which correspond to roughly present-day Yunnan, China, and northern Myanmar. After subduing the Nanman king Meng Huo, Zhuge Liang led the army back to Shu, but met a swift-flowing river which defied all attempts to cross it. A barbarian lord informed him that in olden days, the barbarians would sacrifice 49 men and throw their heads into the river to appease the river deity and allow them to cross. As Zhuge Liang did not want to cause any more of his men to lose their lives, he ordered his men to slaughter the livestock the army brought along, and fill their meat into buns shaped roughly like human heads (round with a flat base). The buns were then thrown into the river. After a successful crossing, he named the bun "barbarian's head" (mántóu, 蛮头/蠻頭, which evolved into the modern 馒头/饅頭). Another version of the story relates back to Zhuge Liang's southern campaign when he instructed that his soldiers who had fallen sick from diarrhea and other illnesses in the swampy region be fed with steamed buns with meat or sweet fillings.
If you considered that mantou also seems to be the origin word for manti of eastern europe (resembles XLB), mandu of Korea (steamed dumblngs) and manju of Japan (sweet steamed bun), it is possible that mantou started out as something made out of wheat, with fillings, for offering purpose. Gradually, as the dish spread, how the dough is made changed; how much filling is also changed, maybe more in some place, or eliminated altogether eventually.
Food can change drastically in short period for various reason, with Russian cuisine being a good modern example. Salad Olivier started out as a very luxurious salad, but evolved to use common ingredients. Borscht is another example: when White Russians escape to Shanghai of China, since beets is not popular in Shanghai, they replaced it with tomato; then some Hong Kong Chef learn it in Shanghai, and eventually become a common menu item in Cha'chan'teng (HK Tea Restaurants). All these take place in less than 60 years.
The mantou's in your photo look more like a roll than a bun. If they were all made in that shape, it would be easier to call mantous "steamed rolls" and baozis "steamed buns."
Unfortunately, when I googled “馒头”, half the photos show round balls while the other half show a roll or swirl pattern.
It seems many of the English descriptions call 馒头 "Chinese steamed buns" or "steamed milk buns" while 包子 are typically called "steamed bao buns" or just "bao buns."
In addition to mantou and baozi, it might be useful to keep the words "steamed" or "bun" in the English translation. For instance, the official translation could use "(steamed) mantou bun" and "(steamed) bao bun" to differentiate the two.
Writing to note that this sentence can also be interpreted in the singular, eg "What is the difference between mantou and baozi?" This is generally how this question would be produced imo.
Also in general to the team, I would suggest always having food names transcribed in pinyin like this. "Sticky rice dumpling" for "zongzi" is painfully awkward and even here in China when natives speak English we just call these things by their Chinese names.
Once upon a time we didn't know what sushi was, what pizza was. English is at its very foundation a borrowed language. New words are getting borrowed all the time. Lucky now, vs the times of unknown pizza and sushi, we have the internet to Google the word mantou and baozi.
If a Chinese friend helped me to translate a menu that had both items on it I would suggest "filled steamed buns" for "baozi" and "plain filled buns" for mantou. There simply aren't traditional English terms for these which are clear and unambiguous. When I'm in China talking English I use the Chinese words for both of these.
I know the difference between these two culinary items, but the sentence: "What is the difference between steamed buns and buns" is ridiculous in English. Use the original transliterated Chinese. If one didn't know this was a translation from Chinese it would make no sense at all.
I would just like to point out that when I typed "What are the differences between steamed buns and baozi" it told me to write "What is the difference between steamed buns and baozi" when in the sentence construction portion of this question it had me write the former.
I understand both translations, and believe both translations should be accepted. It is merely an error with consistency between the accepted translations in the two questions.
For those of us who stand no chance of getting back to China in the foreseeable future and don't have Mandarin-speaking friends, to have an English approximation of the foodstuffs is very helpful. I wouldn't necessarily expect a translation to stand up on its own when it relates to food and other cultural matters. I'm grateful for a free language app that includes both characters and sounds: textbooks omit at least the audio and often have no characters either.
No. Most pronouns and some nouns referring to people can take an 们 as a kind of suffix that makes it plural. There's also a plural alternative to a counter, 些, that can change the meaning of "zhe" from "this" to "these". But that's about it for anything like plurals in Chinese.
(It's pretty much like this for all East Asian and Southeast Asian languages by the way.)
You should be able to swap the words since it has the same meaning. In English it makes a lot more sense to put the unmodified term first by saying "What is the difference between buns and steamed buns?" Although that's still a bit strange because the names imply that one is a category for the other.
if any one wants to know the difference between 馒头 and 包子. is that 馒头 has no filling and is smaller and usually for breakfast. They're a little boring in my opinion. 包子 is bigger and filled usually with chicken or beef or vegetables, sometimes sweet stuff and used for anytime of the day, breafast, lunch, as a snack on the go sandwich, before bed etc. Nice with a lot of chilli. you can buy them stemed in Chinatown or the frozen ones in the chinese supermarkets which you can steam or microwave them easly. I lived on them when living in Taiwan because they're nice and convenient.. there is also 挂包 which is similar with more stuff in the middle. if your vegan check the ingredients as some arw made with milk others are completely vegan.
Steamed buns are an Asian thing and western buns are never steamed that I know of. Then again my mum used to make a kind of dumplings that was a big ball of steamed dough. But we never called them "buns". They were always "dumplings", of which of course there are many other very different kinds.
I wrote 'what are the differences between...', was corrected to 'what is the difference between...' and come here to see that the default translation is exactly what I wrote. ❤❤❤❤❤❤❤ seriously!?!?
Also, it would make learning far less frustrating if any sort of consistency would be added to the course. Please, decide whether to accept 'mantou' or 'steamed bun' and stick with it, ❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤!
Many Chinese words have been added to English. The term bao is now currently being used in English for 包子. Here, more than anywhere, using the Chinese terms for Chinese cultural nouns makes most sense as the English terms for these two items shows no difference at all. Moreover using native words for cultural objects that have no English word is a better way to go, because its actually clearer and English is great at absorbing words from all languages.