Light refreshments and pastry of great variety and meticulously made have a long history in China. The origin of Chinese pastry can be traced backe to the Neolithic Age when the stone grinder was invented to make the grinding of grain possible. During the Spring and Autumn periods, there were oil-fried pastry and steamed pastries such as honey cake, Yishi, Shenshi (made of grounded grains of cereal crops) , and junu (a ring-shaped oil-fried food). Later, with the development of cooking utensile and kitchen ranges, Chinese pastry gradually enriched its raw materials, techniques and varieties, and many popular local light refreshments appeared. In North China, there are dumplings, noodles, hand-pulled noodles, pancakes and steamed stuffed buns; in South China, there are shaomai, wanton, spring roll zhongzi( pyramid-shaped glutinous rice dumpling wrapped in bamboo leaves), yuanxiao (glutinous rice dumpling with special fillings)and youtiao (deep fried dough stick). In addition, many light refreshments with local characteristics have been created making use of particular local products and customs. Below is a list of places giving some of the most famous local pastries and light refreshments to be found there:
Beijing: jiaoquan(slightly browned dough ring), mimahua ( honeyed, twisted fried dough), wandouhuang (peaflour cake), aiwowo (steamed corn bread flavored with atomatic herbs), and quick- fried pig's liver and stomach.
Shanghai: xiekehuang(fried ovary and digestive glands of a crab) , Nanxiang steamed bread, and Shaoxing chicken porridge.
Tianjin: Gabacai(a kind of crisp cake with vegetables), Goubuli steamed stuffed buns, ear-shaped fried cake, bread stewed with minifish, Bangchui pancake, Guifaxiang twisted fried dough, and spiced donkey meat.
Taiyuan: kaolao, knife-shaved noodles, and jiupian.
Xi'an: dried bread soaked in mutton (or beef)soup, and Qianzhou cake.
Lanzhou: hand-stretched noodles, and oil-fried large pancake.
Xinjiang: roast pancake of wheat or corn flour, roast mutton ( or beef) slices, rice to be eaten with the fingers.
Shandong: oil-fried stuffed buns.
Jiangsu: baked wheaten cake with sesame and chopped scallion, steamed stuffed buns filled with three kinds of diced delicacies, shaomai with the ovary and digestive glands of a crab, and tangbao.
Zhejiang: buttered pancake, Double Ninth chestnut cake, zhongzi stuffed with fresh meat, noodles with shrimp and eel, Ninbo glutinous rice dumpling, eight treasures in black rice.
Anhui: Nuts and dried fruit laba porridge, Dajiujia, Huizhou cake, and rice with bean curd peel.
Fujian: oyster pancake, noodles to be eaten with the fingers, spiced pork trotters, and Dingbian thick paste.
Taiwan: Du Xiaoyue Danzai noodles, noodles with sliced eel, and jinzhao rice-flour noodles.
Hainan: jiandui, and rice cooked in bamboo.
Henan: bread with jujube, bread browned with white sugar, budai with egg, xue tea, and shredded chicken roll.
Hubei: bean curd peel with three delicacies, Yunmeng fried noodles with fish flavor, hot dried noodles, and Dongpo cake.
Hunan: new rice, brain roll, rice-flour noodles, eight treasure soup with tortoise and mutton, and Huo Palace strong smelling bean curd.
Guangdong: chicken cake, preserved egg shortbread, a-thousand-layer shortbread with frozen meat, Guangdong mooncake, lotus seed paste in crisp pastry, steamed hedgehog stuffed bun, fenguo. dumpling with fresh shrimp filling, examination success porridge, steamed shaomai with the ovary and digestive glands of a crad, and white rabbit shaped dumpling.
Guangxi: Guilin rice-flour noodles with horse meat, pyramid shaped meat dumpling wrapped in bamboo leaves, and fried earthworm-shaped noodles.
Sichuan: roast cake with egg, Long's chaoshou, Dandan noodles (a kind of noodles with peppery sauce), Lai's tangyuan (glutinous rice dumpling) , cold noodles with shredded chicken, transparent shaomai, Yibing ran-noodles, Fuqi(meaning "hushand and wife", the inventor of this dish being a couple) sliced pig's lung, steamed beef with corn powder, and Dengying(meaning "shade of a lamp")beef.
Guizhou: noodles with intestines, siwa wa, Yelang dough fish, and steamed ( or fried) glutinous rice paste wrapped in lotus leaves.
Yunnan: Guoqiao rice-flour noodles, pot stewed beef with pastry.
Apart from those enumerated above, many light refreshments with national minority characteristics have been introduced into the daily food of the ordinary Chinese to greatly enrich the contents of Chinese culinary science.