Monday, November 28, 2011

Street Food: Jianbing (Chinese Savory Crepes)

For weeks, I passed many of these cooking stations equipped with a hot flat griddle and attached to a  bicycle (everything in Beijing seems to be attached to a bicycle), with their delicious smells tempting me. I love crepes, but it took several colleagues recommendations before I overcame my timidity for street food and let my curiosity and stomach brave this Beijing breakfast staple. At first, I mimed my request for just a little spice. But now, I'm a regular Beijinger. I have my favorite vendor and I take the full hit of spicy goodness. Now that the weather is colder (by colder, I mean freezing!), an added bonus is the warmth this pocket of goodness provides as I walk from the subway to my bus stop.

Directions: (I've yet to try it at home, but I'd love to perfect it)

  1. A ladle full of batter is spread over the hot griddle.
  2. Then an egg is cracked on top and gently scrambled until it is set into the crepe.
  3. The best chefs sprinkle cilantro and chives on to the egg before flipping the crepe.
  4. Once flipped, hoisin, plum, chili or fermented tofu sauce is lightly painted on with a brush. I have no idea which my vendor uses. 
  5. Next, the bing -- a deep fried cracker -- is placed in the middle.
  6. Quickly, the crepe is folded around the bing, cracked with a metal spatula and scooped into a plastic bag.

Delicious, filling, and only 3.5 yuan (55 cents!).

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