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
    Commented Feb 6, 2017 at 12:05

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