Both in Beijing and Qingdao we found a local street stall selling Jian Bing, the most amazing breakfast food in China. Since living in Shanghai, we have not had a jian bing at all…until now!
So what is a Jiang Bing?
Jiang bing consists of a large thin, crepe like pancake. This is cooked on a hot plate type, purpose built gas stove. Once the dough is set and mostly cooked through, an egg is cracked onto the pancake and mixed and spread out using a special tool. The egg is left for a few seconds to set before the whole pancake is flipped over. The egg cooks fully on the outside of the pancake and the fillings are added to the middle. Now, we have had many jian bings since living in China and no two are the same. The general consensus seems to be a brown sauce, similar to hoisin, and chilli sauce. The option of a pink sausage type meat product (we affectionately call mystery meat) can be added at this point. Then the best part the crunchy, crispy fried cracker. This adds a great crunch and some well needed texture. Some of the best jianbing’s we have tasted add crunchy fresh lettuce, spring onions and fragrant coriander before being folded up. It is a popular breakfast street food and the stalls are commonplace in most parts of China. It originated in Shandong Province and can be traced back 2000 years (according to the page on Wikipedia – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jianbing). This may be why we had the best jianbings in Qingdao.
Last Saturday morning, I was heading to the dry cleaners next to our compound and couldn’t believe my eyes when I spotted, almost outside the shop was a man with a small jianbing stall. I was so excited, I messaged John immediately and his reaction was similar to mine – Breakfast sorted! Luckily we hadn’t already eaten! I queued up and ordered two of the basic versions, without the pink sausage inside. This particular man adds coriander and spring onion but not the lettuce, John is not bothered by that but I like the fresh addition of the lettuce. I rushed home with the hot, fresh pancakes and we sat down to eat them straight away. They were pretty good and after so long we were not complaining. The chilli was quite powerful too! Overall a success, I am sure I will be sent out to collect them again. Hopefully he is a regular there and not just visiting for the day!
The Process in Photos