I love siopao. I love it that I often forgot to remove the thin piece of paper beneath. The paper is thin, tasteless and looks like a part of the bread. The color is semi transparent white. It really mimics the siopao color and texture.
This brings back kids memories. Immediately chewing the taffy after removing the first protection layer. Without realizing there was a another thin layer of paper wrap around. After learning about it, your classmates will insist that it is edible. You gonna chew and swallow it even if you already knew it was not intended for your tummy.
Actually, it is parchment paper or bakery paper. It is cellulose type – edible but not digestible. It is made by passing paper pulp in bath of sulfuric acid or zinc chloride. It is used to prevent sticking of siopao to steamer surface. It should be removed before eating.
The sounds of sulfuric acid, zinc chloride and edible are contradicting. The two substances are surely harmful. It may send you to intensive care unit after ingestion. Graveyard in worst case scenario. It is a weak solution of course. Not enough to cause what I just said. It is washed to avoid problems. If proven to cause harm, regulatory authorities won’t stay still. You won’t see it too in bakery scene.
The paper covering the taffy has the same purpose. Prevent it from sticking to plastic wrapper. It provides easy access once the sweet is unwrapped. Yema is a good threat but it often sticks to plastic wrapper. I find it annoying and it prevents me from buying recklessly. I only buy if the first sample is good and never sticky. If the taffy has no paper wrapper, many customers will be annoyed. Me too, of course.
Hope there is some kind of marking setting the bread apart from it. Like natural coloring or few legible words reminding to peel it off before eating. I know people already know about this thing but there are still many who don’t. It may not cause harm but it is not meant to be eaten.
Marvin is the lead chocolate maker of Ben and Lyn Chocolate Inc. Has strong background in food research and development. Occasionally conducts training and lectures. Lecturer of Cocoa Foundation of the Philippines. Do coaching and consultancy services on his free time.