A chef shows a giant bun at Renmin University of China.（Photo/Beijing Youth Daily）
Giant mantou, the traditional steamed bun that is a staple for millions of northern Chinese, are proving a hit among students and employees at Renmin University of China.
The buns, which contain jujube berries, are 15 centimeters in diameter and weigh 1.8 kilograms. Only 20 are made every day — and at a price of just 6 yuan (), stocks sell out fast.
"I saw images of the 'super mantou' online and really wanted to get the taste," philosophy student Sun Chunming, 24, said on Monday morning at the Beijing university's western canteen. "It's much larger than I expected."
Zhang Gong, 27, who majors in music performance, bought two steamed buns. He was raised in northern China, and said he misses his grandparents' homemade mantou.
"Our family seldom make the bun by hand nowadays. It's really nice to be able to get handmade steamed buns in my university canteen," he added.
The giant mantou have been available for almost a year, but only recently did they become an online sensation.
"In the beginning, we just promoted the buns for fun. We didn't think huge numbers of students would come," said Su Shiyu, who runs the western canteen.
He said his cooks start making the bread at 6 am, with the finished product ready in about an hour.
"The buns are much softer, and the taste is different from what I've had at home," said Wang Yuhuan, 20, a sophomore student of journalism. "It reminds me of the buns my grandmother made. It may taste better if they add more jam or fermented bean curd."