There are two things that my mum has been attempting to make during her free time since we moved here, a few years ago. One of them is fa gao, which is a steamed rice cake. It has failed miserably.
The second is man tou, which has gone from rock-hard lumps of gluteny-water to actual scallion filled steamed buns of yeasty awesomeness. I am proud of my mum, and the fact that she somehow figured out how to make awesome steamed buns without a recipe.
She used to mix flour and water and baking soda, in an attempt to make something that resembled man tou. It was icky.
Now, she somehow manages to gauge enough flour and water and yeast... without measuring them or anything [!] and somehow yields a perfect-ish batch of the ubiquitous bun on the street anywhere in metropolis China.
This sure beats the airy sweet bleached stuff [okay, even though the flour my mum uses IS bleached flour, it doesn't taste like Wonder-Bread-bleach-crap] that look exactly like oblong sponges "man tou" that one can obtain from Kamman. Gotta respect her.