Baobing is the Chinese version of granita, or an ancient dessert made from crushed ice and seasoned with ingredients of the Asian tradition
In China and other Southeast Asian countries, and especially in Taiwan, it is not difficult to come across a dessert called baobing. This dessert can actually be considered the Chinese version of the granita, and consists of crushed ice covered with various types of topping, typically oriental, such as beans or exotic fruit. Let's go then to discover the characteristics, but also the evolution, of this dessert so ancient and which in modern times has gained fans all over the world.
Baobing, the dessert that the Chinese have loved for 1000 years
Although today there are many different versions, the traditional one of baobing consists of a bowl of crushed ice on which they are poured over typical condiments of Chinese gastronomy and pastry, such as i azuki red beans, green beans, cubes or taro balls steamed (a tuber also used for bubble tea, tofu pudding and other sweets and drinks) or herb jelly (black jelly cubes, based on an herb from the same mint family). In more recent times, other typically local ingredients have also been added to China, Taiwan and other Asian countries, such as black sesame soup, mochi (glutinous rice paste balls) or exotic fruit such as mango, lychee, strawberries and coconut, which can be selected fresh or in syrup. It is a dessert often thought for several diners: in this case a high ice tower is served in a bowl, with several toppings on top. The first evidence of baobing in China dates back to the seventh century AD., which shows how deeply this dessert is rooted in the country's history and culinary traditions. Traditionally, once the ice was crushed by hand, using a blade or a large hammer, while currently this process is carried out with special machinery, which also allows for a thinner and softer result.
The Asian granita that conquered the West
To decree the beginning of the international fame of baobing was an important historical event, or the trip that the President of the United States Richard Nixon made to Beijing in 1972, for meet Mao Zedong. During a state dinner, in fact, the president had the opportunity to taste and appreciate Chinese granita a lot. This episode, reported in the American newspapers, would have been the first step of theAmericanization of the dessert, as the "New York Time" s would have declared in 1989. Arrived first in the United States and then more recently in other western countries, the exotic baobing has established itself as food trend, followed by bubble tea and many other desserts and drinks of Asian origin, and, just like these, it has been adapted to local tastes. The western version of the Chinese granita is characterized by an apparently infinite variety of toppings, which include sweetened condensed milk, various syrups, matcha tea or chocolate chips.