Same as with any other Chinese snack or cake, its just easy to simply eat it right way when its still hot, soft and smells awesome. Local Chinese people love to share their traditional foods with foreigners, they just like to feed and as much as possible.
I remember my first few days back in China or Hong Kong, I would often encounter unique local snacks like those tasty, creative mooncakes and various other foods with different shapes, sizes, texture and fillings.
It was all so tempting and while still hot, all you can possibly think of is oh I must try it and must try it now!
But then when later on I moved to Taiwan I found that I could no longer keep with the habit and felt I must learn more about each and every thing, I felt there's a deep meaning and a spirit behind every single traditional type of food and I knew the Taiwanese people are so proud of it.
Of course, this is not to say there is no meaning behind other foods in other places, after all Chinese traditional culture orients in Mainland China, the country with 5,000 long years of glorious, rich history. I am saying that this is so strongly present even in today's Taiwan and since I live here for so many years its just natural that ill share my experience of the local customs.
I decided to go deeper and find what is behind that yummy bun with the different fillings. I was taking part in a local event celebrating the birthday of an esteemed personality who reached His 70's and people from different countries, backgrounds and ages all gathered to share their blessings and celebrate together.
It was a small but cozy event whereby the local ladies shared with each one of us those small pinky steamed buns, oh it smelled so good and when I picked it in my hand it felt so soft
I wondered and asked an aunty standing nearby, what do they symbolize ? Why do you celebrate birthdays with those? or in Chinese "生日祝壽為什麼要送壽桃呢?", she then explained how they express their blessings with it, wishing the person health and longevity. It is a gesture of respect to the elders. There are different types of them some filled with red bean, some with green bean and then they color the top of the bun with pink color that when you look at it first time it kind of reminds a peach.
Peach, well in Chinese traditional culture considered to be a heavenly fruit, or the fruit of immortality that heavenly deities used to eat and preserve their youth or gain longevity.
Ever read the story of monkey king (or journey to the west)? You could find those peaches there too as the funny monkey took them from Xi Wang Mu (the character in the story described as the keeper of the peaches of immortality) and ate them, completely.
Other than being a heavenly fruit with abilities, the peach is known as a very healthy fruit that contains many nutrients, vitamins and fiber which can help one keep healthy and fit thus offering a peach to the elders is considered but a great respect, care and love as you wish them healthy and eternal lives! What a virtue is that.
Now that we all know about this traditional custom we can keep carry it to future generations all the same and offer those wonderful peach buns to our loved ones.
And if you're curious enough you could even try learn how to make them, follow the instructions in this vid, it is simple and easy. (Chinese version- 傳統壽桃包，顏色怎麼刷才漂亮？)
Enjoy the making and have a yummy one!