Jian dui is the name for sesame seed ball pastry. The hollow of the pastry is filled with a filling usually consisting of lotus paste, or alternatively sweet black bean paste, or less commonly red bean paste. The origins of jian dui can be traced back to the Tang dynasty as a palace food in Chang'an, known as lüdui (碌堆). This food item was also recalled in a poem by the Tang poet Wang Fanzhi. With the southward migration of many peoples from central China, the jian dui was brought along and hence became part of southern Chinese cuisine.
In Hong Kong, it is one of the most standard pastries. It can also be found in most Chinatown bakery shops overseas.
India and Sri Lanka
In Tamil Nadu and North-East of Sri Lanka, it is known as Ellu Urundai or Ellurundai (எள்ளுருண்டை). The local word meaning: sesame ball. It comes with different sizes and colors. It is usually filled with sesame seeds, jaggery or sugar and glucose syrup.
In Indonesian cuisine, it is called onde-onde, filled with sweetened mung bean paste. People usually eat it as snack. This pastry is also popular and widely available in Indo (Eurasian), Indonesian and Vietnamese outlets in the Netherlands.
In Japan, it is known as goma dango (ごま団子?, sesame dumpling). It is often sold at street fairs, in Chinese districts, and at various restaurants.
In Korea, it is called chamkkaegyeongdan(참깨경단, "sesame rice ball cake"), or Jungguksik chamkkaegyeongdan(중국식 참깨경단, "Chinese-style sesame rice ball cake") to avoid confusion with Korean-style sesame rice ball cake(gyeongdan) with sesame coating. As the Chinese jian dui is first coated with sesame seeds then deep-fried while the Korean gyeongdan is first steamed then coated with toasted sesame seeds, jian dui is also called twigin chamkkaegyeongdan(튀긴 참깨경단, "deep-fried sesame rice ball cake").
It is known as kuih bom, which is usually filled with shredded sweetened coconut, or nuts. Occasionally, it may be filled with red bean paste. Among the mainly Hakka-speaking ethnic Chinese in the state of Sabah, jian dui is more commonly known as 'you chi'.
In the Philippines, jian dui is called butsi (Castilian: buchi). Due to hundreds of years of Chinese settlement in the Philippines, the integration of Chinese cuisine (particularly Cantonese and Fujian) to local dishes has made buchi quite popular. To an extent, it has already been considered an icon of Chinese Filipino culinary tradition, sometimes associated with auspiciousness. As it is well-known among ethnic Chinese and other Filipinos alike, local restaurants which are sometimes not even Chinese and fastfood chains such as Chowking have added the delicacy to the menu. Aside from the usual lotus and red bean paste, non-Chinese and indigenous ingredients have also been used for variety such as ute-flavored butsi.
In Vietnam, two very similar dishes are called bánh cam (from southern Vietnam) and bánh rán (from northern Vietnam), both of which have a somewhat drier filling that is made from sweetened mung bean paste. Banh run is scented with jasmine flower essence (called mali in Thai). Bánh rán can be sweet or savory. The sweet one is filled with mung bean. The savory one is filled with chopped meat, cassava vermicelli, mushroom, and a variety of other typically Vietnamese ingredients. It's usually served with vegetable and dipping sauce.