Famous Chinese meat-product buns called "Dog would ignore it"

A famed Chinese meat-bun seller calls his product "Goubuli" -- "Dog would ignore it." As Con points out, this guy's a real-world version of Cut Me Own Throat Dibbler, the notorious sausage-inna-bun seller from Terry Pratchett's wonderful Discworld novels.
The steamed "Goubuli" buns filled with a mince of meat and vegetables are the pride of Tianjin, a gritty port city near Beijing. Their Chinese name literally means "Dog would ignore it" and is said to come from the nickname of the man who began selling them some 150 years ago.

Now the buns are sold nationwide and have attracted makers of fake "Dog-would-ignore-it" buns.

But hungry for more success and apparently worried that foreign tourists may fear their name reflects the buns' quality or contents, the Tianjin Goubuli Group Corporation has opted for a tamer English name that may bring its own confusion -- "Go Believe".

Link (Thanks, Con!)

See also:
Pratchett's Discworld: a reading-order guide
Discworld interrelations map
Wedding cake inspired by Discworld's Great A'Tuin
Terry Pratchett's "Making Money" -- economic comedy
Terry Pratchett has rare, early-onset Alzheimer's



  1. Your preface may be a little misleading. The name “goubuli” is a famed meat bun associated with Tianjin. according to various online sources this all started about 150 years ago. The guy who invented them and sold them at his extremely popular shop had a childhood nickname of gouzi, or “doggie,” something along that line. It wasn’t uncommon for parents to give their children a “bad” nickname. It was believed that it helped your kid’s chance of survival because the gods wouldn’t notice them, wouldn’t think they’re something precious.

    Anyway, he’s making these incredibly delicious and popular buns and is so busy that he no longer has time to chat with his customers. So people started jokingly saying “gouzi mai baozi, bu li ren,” which means “doggie sells meat buns, ignores people.” Over time it got shortened to the beginning of both phrase, just “gou bu li”, “dog ignores [it]”.

    So, it has nothing to do with a dog ignoring a bun, but with a person ignoring other people. But as you can see, if you don’t know the history, the name is meaningless, or worse, derogatory-sounding.

  2. I’ll confirm what Kongjie said — giving children a silly, low-sounding nickname was pretty common practice as a way to avoid attention from the evil spirits. This is illustrated in a cute scene early on in the old Hollywood movie “The Good Earth,” an adaptation of Pearl Buck’s novel.

    My wife is a native Beijinger and has a big complaint about this restaurant. It used to be really good and not too expensive — it was good hearty food for working people. Recently, though, it got bought out by a big company, and they raised the prices 5x or more: e.g., a bowl of simple congee that used to cost 1 RMB is now 5. (Imagine a bowl of oatmeal for 5-8 USD and you’ll get the idea.) It made her folks so mad that they refuse to eat there anymore, even though the steamed buns are so yummy that my wife wants to go back every time she visits home. The greedy, stupid parent company is driving the restaurant into the ground — despite being on an incredibly busy, touristy street, it was mainly empty when we visited this winter. (The fullness of a restaurant in China is a reliable indicator of its yumminess/cost ratio.)

    So, people of China, unite and revolt against your steamed-bun-monopolizing overlords! ;-)

  3. IMHO,steamed buns are such a marvelous food that you could call them whatever the hell you wanted and people would still eat more of them than is really sensible…just sayin’.

  4. Anyone remember the takeaway shop in Ankh-Morpork offering Meat meals at various prices with a slightly higher premium for “named meat”?

  5. Hmm, it seems to me that it is more likely that CMOT Dibbler is running a franchise in China with Disembowel-Meself-Honourably Dibhala.

  6. I’m imagining Anthony Bourdain doing an episode of “No Reservations” in Ankh-Morpork. You know he’d be all over CMOT’s sausages. But you also know he’d kill off any living pathogens in the sausage by washing it down with a bottle of scumble.

    Mostly apples + sort of meat = fine Discworld dining!

  7. The bun’s name, go-bu-li, can be interpreted as either “even dog would ignore it” or “only dog would ignore it”. It caused quite a debate when I was young. :-)

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