Fan Tuan

Fan Tuan: A Popular Taiwanese Breakfast Dish Made with Sticky Rice and Tasty Fillings

If you’re looking for a delicious and filling breakfast option, look no further than Fan Tuan. This popular street food from Taiwan is a rice roll that is stuffed with a variety of ingredients, including crispy doughnut sticks, meat floss, and preserved vegetables. The soft and sticky rice provides a comforting base for the crunchy and savory fillings, making it the perfect breakfast on-the-go.

Fan Tuan is a classic Taiwanese breakfast item that has become popular around the world. The glutinous rice roll originated in Eastern China around Shanghai and has since spread to Taiwan and other parts of Asia. It is often served with a warm bowl of soy milk, which pairs perfectly with the salty and savory flavors of the rice roll. Whether you’re in Taiwan or trying it for the first time in your own kitchen, Fan Tuan is sure to become a breakfast favorite.

History and Origin

Fan Tuan, also known as rice ball, is a popular street food in Taiwan, Shanghai, and mainland China. Its origin can be traced back to the Jiangnan region of eastern China, which encompasses Shanghai and surrounding areas. The dish is made by tightly wrapping a piece of youtiao (fried dough) with glutinous rice.

The exact origin of Fan Tuan is unclear, but it is believed to have been created in the early 20th century by street vendors in Shanghai. The dish quickly gained popularity among locals and soon spread to other parts of China. Today, it is a common breakfast food in many parts of China.

In Taiwan, Fan Tuan is often oblong in shape and stuffed with various fillings such as pickled vegetables, pork floss, and egg. It is made with hot sticky rice and is a popular grab-and-go breakfast option for busy commuters. Taiwanese Fan Tuan vendors can be found on almost every street corner and are a staple of the local food scene.

Despite its humble origins as a street food, Fan Tuan has become a beloved dish in many parts of China and Taiwan. Its popularity has even spread to other countries, where it is often served in Chinese restaurants and specialty food stores.

What is Fan Tuan?

If you’ve never heard of fan tuan before, you’re in for a treat! Fan tuan is a popular breakfast food in Taiwan and Shanghai that consists of a sticky rice ball stuffed with various fillings. The name “fan tuan” translates to “rice ball” in Chinese, which is a pretty accurate description of what it is.

The outer layer of fan tuan is made from warm sticky rice that’s been seasoned with salt and other ingredients. Inside the rice ball, you’ll find a variety of fillings, such as pickled vegetables, pork floss, dried shrimp, and more. Some versions of fan tuan also include a crispy fried cruller, which adds an extra layer of texture and flavor to the dish.

Fan tuan is a popular breakfast food in Taiwan and Shanghai, where it’s often eaten on-the-go. It’s typically served with a warm bowl of soymilk or other hot beverage. The dish is also easy to customize, as you can add your favorite fillings to the rice ball to make it your own.

Overall, fan tuan is a delicious and satisfying breakfast food that’s worth trying if you’re ever in Taiwan or Shanghai. With its sticky rice exterior and flavorful fillings, it’s a unique and tasty dish that’s sure to become a new favorite.

Ingredients Used

Fan Tuan is a popular Taiwanese breakfast food made with sticky rice and various fillings. The main ingredient in Fan Tuan is sticky rice, which is cooked and then rolled into a cylindrical shape with a filling inside. Here are some of the common ingredients used in Fan Tuan:

  • Sticky Rice: This is the main ingredient in Fan Tuan. Sticky rice is a type of short-grain rice that becomes sticky when cooked. It is also known as glutinous rice or sweet rice.

  • Youtiao: Youtiao is a type of Chinese cruller that is often used as a filling in Fan Tuan. It is a deep-fried dough that is crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.

  • Pork Floss: Pork floss is a type of dried meat that has been shredded into thin fibers. It is often used as a filling in Fan Tuan.

  • Preserved Vegetables: Pickled radish and pickled mustard greens are commonly used as a filling in Fan Tuan. They add a tangy and slightly sweet flavor to the dish.

  • Eggs: Eggs are often used as a filling in Fan Tuan. They can be scrambled, fried, or made into an omelet.

  • Meat: Minced pork, chicken, tuna, and bacon are all popular protein options for Fan Tuan.

  • Vegetables: Scallions, kimchi, corn, and cabbage are all commonly used vegetables in Fan Tuan.

  • Soy Sauce: Soy sauce is a common seasoning used in Fan Tuan. It adds a salty and savory flavor to the dish.

  • Sugar: Sugar is sometimes added to the sticky rice to give it a slightly sweet flavor.

  • Soy Milk: Soy milk is a common drink that is consumed with Fan Tuan. It can be served hot or cold and is a great way to balance out the savory flavors of the dish.

  • Sesame Seeds: Sesame seeds are often sprinkled on top of Fan Tuan for added texture and flavor.

Overall, Fan Tuan is a versatile dish that can be customized to suit your taste preferences. Whether you prefer a savory or sweet filling, there are countless ingredient options to choose from.

Preparation and Cooking Method

To make Fan Tuan, you will need a few essential tools such as a rice cooker, a sushi mat, a spatula, a steamer, a work surface, and a nonstick skillet. Additionally, you can use a silicone spatula, lotus leaves, or any other tool that you find helpful in the preparation process.

First, you will need to cook the sticky rice. Rinse the rice in cold water until the water runs clear, then add it to the rice cooker with the appropriate amount of water. Cook the rice according to the rice cooker’s instructions until it is tender and sticky.

Once the rice is cooked, transfer it to a large bowl and let it cool for a few minutes. Wet your hands with water to prevent the rice from sticking to your fingers, then grab a handful of rice and shape it into a ball.

Next, lay a piece of lotus leaf or plastic wrap on your work surface, then place the rice ball on top. Use a spatula to press the rice down into a flat disc shape.

Now it’s time to add the filling. Place a strip of crispy doughnut stick, some pork floss, and a few slices of pickled vegetables on top of the rice. Use the sushi mat to roll the rice into a cylinder shape, making sure to tuck in the filling as you go.

To assemble the Fan Tuan, use a silicone spatula to spread a thin layer of sesame oil onto the surface of the rolled rice cylinder. Then, wrap the cylinder with a piece of lotus leaf or plastic wrap and steam it for 10-15 minutes until it is heated through.

Finally, heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat and add a tablespoon of oil. Unwrap the steamed Fan Tuan and place it in the skillet, cooking for 2-3 minutes on each side until it is crispy and golden brown.

Now that you know the basic steps for making Fan Tuan, you can experiment with different fillings and seasonings to create your own unique version of this delicious Chinese breakfast dish.

Variations of Fan Tuan

Fan Tuan is a versatile dish that can be customized with a variety of ingredients to suit your taste preferences. Here are some variations of Fan Tuan that you can try:

Vegan and Vegetarian Options

For those who follow a vegan or vegetarian diet, there are plenty of options to choose from. Instead of meat, you can add tofu, mushrooms, or vegetables such as carrots, cucumber, and lettuce to your Fan Tuan. You can also use vegetarian-friendly sauces such as soy sauce, hoisin sauce, or peanut sauce to add flavor.

Egg Roll Fan Tuan

If you prefer a heartier filling, you can add an egg roll to your Fan Tuan. The egg roll is made from eggs, vegetables, and sometimes meat, and is a popular addition to Fan Tuan in Taiwan. The crispy texture of the egg roll pairs well with the soft and sticky rice.

Ci Fan Tuan

Ci Fan Tuan is another name for Fan Tuan that is commonly used in Shanghai. The main difference between Ci Fan Tuan and regular Fan Tuan is that Ci Fan Tuan is made with sweet glutinous rice instead of regular rice. The sweet rice is paired with savory fillings such as pork floss, pickled vegetables, and fried dough.

Fried Dough Fan Tuan

For those who love a crunchy texture, adding fried dough to your Fan Tuan is a great option. The fried dough, also known as youtiao, is a long strip of dough that is deep-fried until crispy. It is often paired with savory fillings such as pork floss, pickled vegetables, and egg.

Overall, Fan Tuan is a delicious and versatile dish that can be customized to suit your taste preferences. Whether you prefer a vegan or vegetarian option, a heartier filling, or a crunchy texture, there is a Fan Tuan variation that is perfect for you.

Nutritional Information

Fan Tuan is a popular Chinese breakfast food that is made of sticky rice, cruller, meat floss, and preserved vegetables. It is a delicious and filling meal that is enjoyed by many. If you are curious about the nutritional information of Fan Tuan, here is what you need to know:


One roll of Fan Tuan contains around 367 calories. This makes it a relatively high-calorie breakfast option. However, it is important to note that the number of calories may vary depending on the specific ingredients used to make the Fan Tuan.


Fan Tuan is also relatively high in sodium, with one roll containing around 1673 milligrams of sodium. This is a significant amount, considering that the recommended daily intake of sodium is around 2300 milligrams.


Fan Tuan contains around 10.2 grams of protein per roll. While this is not a significant amount, it is still a decent source of protein for a breakfast meal.


One roll of Fan Tuan contains around 57.9 grams of carbohydrates. This makes it a high-carbohydrate meal, which may not be suitable for everyone, especially those on low-carbohydrate diets.

Overall, Fan Tuan is a delicious and filling breakfast option. However, it is important to be mindful of its nutritional information, especially if you are watching your calorie, sodium, or carbohydrate intake.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you make vegetarian fan tuan?

To make vegetarian fan tuan, you can replace the meat filling with ingredients like scrambled eggs, fried tofu, or stir-fried vegetables. You can also add sweet or savory condiments like pickled vegetables, preserved radish, or soy sauce to enhance the flavor.

What are some popular places to try fan tuan in San Francisco?

If you’re in San Francisco, some popular places to try fan tuan include Dragon Beaux, a dim sum restaurant in the Richmond District, and Golden Island Cafe, a Taiwanese cafe in the Inner Sunset. Both places offer a variety of fan tuan flavors and fillings.

What is the traditional filling for fan tuan?

The traditional filling for fan tuan is a mixture of pork floss, dried shrimp, and pickled vegetables wrapped in sticky rice. However, there are many variations of fan tuan with different fillings like fried dough, egg, and vegetables.

Can you reheat fan tuan?

Yes, you can reheat fan tuan in the microwave or oven. To reheat in the microwave, wrap the fan tuan in a damp paper towel and microwave for 30 seconds to 1 minute. To reheat in the oven, wrap the fan tuan in foil and bake at 350°F for 10-15 minutes.

What is the history of fan tuan?

Fan tuan originated in Taiwan and is a popular breakfast food. It is believed to have been influenced by Chinese zongzi, a glutinous rice dumpling, and Japanese onigiri, a rice ball. Fan tuan is now popular in many Asian countries and has become a popular street food.

What are the ingredients in a typical fan tuan?

A typical fan tuan consists of sticky rice wrapped around a filling of pork floss, dried shrimp, and pickled vegetables. Other ingredients that can be added to a fan tuan include fried dough, egg, and vegetables. The fan tuan is often served with soy sauce or other condiments.

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