Flowery flour buns, also called “huamo” in North China, are a kind of flower-shaped steamed bun.

Huamo is made with fermented flour that is kneaded into a variety of ornamental shapes — typically animals, gourds, fruits and flowers. The buns are then steamed and finally painted with food dye.

The final product is intricately-decorated, delightful edible creations that are truly a unique Chinese tradition.

Huamo making is a festival tradition in North China, and no party, festival or holiday is considered complete without the delicacy. Animals such as tigers, mice, fish, and birds often represent zodiac signs, while other symbols, such as eyes, noses, and hands, represent lucky, prosperous, and harvest, respectively, according to ChinaCulture.org.

Huamo buns are usually sweet and served at dinnertime between courses.

Photo shows a rat-shaped huamo. (people.cn) Huamo, steamed bun in different shapes, is a kind of staple food made out of flour. Huamo has a history of more than one thousand years in China. Photo shows an ox-shaped huamo. (people.cn) Photo shows a tiger-shaped huamo. (people.cn) Photo shows a rabbit-shaped huamo. (people.cn) Photo shows a dragon-shaped…