You Tiao is a deep-fried Chinese bread.
It is made from two long strips of dough, about a foot long (30 cm), which are deep fried. It ends up crisp on the outside; puffy and soft on inside.
It can be eaten as is, or served for breakfast and snacks, or cut up and put into soups, or stuffed with a filling such as shrimp or meat.
In Northern China, when served for breakfast, You Tiao is served inside a shao bing (a bun flavoured with sesame), accompanied by warmed soy milk. You split open the Shao Bing, put the You Tiao into it, and dip into the soy milk.
In southern China, it is dipped in hot congee.
The legend is that the two fried strips were originally meant to represent a corrupt Prime Minister of southern China, and his wife.
“You Tiao” is the Mandarin Chinese word. It is pronounced “Yo Tee Yau.” It means “grease stick” – more appealingly translated in English as “cruller.”
Called “you zha gui” in Cantonese, it translates to “deep-fried devils.”