This is 烧麦 (shāomài):

Shaomai; Image source: Wikimedia commons https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Pork_and_glutinous_rice_shaomai_by_jslander_at_Din_Tai_Fung,_Arcadia.jpg

Which has the same character 麦 as in:

  • 大麦 (dàmài = barley),
  • 小麦 (xiǎomài = wheat), and
  • 燕麦 (yànmài = oats).

These are types of grains, and seem unrelated to 烧麦.

Question: How does 麦 connect 烧麦 (shāomài), a kind of dumpling, with 大麦 (dàmài), 小麦 (xiǎomài), and 燕麦 (yànmài), types of grains?

1 Answer 1


It's nothing to do with 麦 (grains).

From wikipedia,



It's explained a little in the English version.

The name was given "捎卖", meaning the product was "sold as a sideline", with tea.

The name was later transformed into modern forms like "烧麦", "稍美" and "烧卖", changing the characters while keeping the original pronunciation.

  • Ah, thank you. That would explain why it's the odd one out.
    – Becky 李蓓
    Feb 6, 2017 at 12:05

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge that you have read and understand our privacy policy and code of conduct.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.