Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Jian Bing (Egg-Drop Pancake)

On my morning cycle to college (there's nothing like dodging various vehicles in wild traffic to make you feel alive!), I see about 3 or 4 of these food carts on a small 2.5km stretch. They are purveyors of breakfast street food favourite jian bing, which literally translates into "egg-drop pancake".

I see everyone from smart businessmen to sleepy students hand over a few kuai for their first bite of the day. Pancake batter is slopped onto a hotplate, spread thinly to crepe-like consistency. The clue to the name is in the next step, where an egg is dropped in the middle and lightly scrambled before the pancake is flipped over to cook completely.


Fermented bean curd paste, a dark paste that looks, smells, tastes like hoisin sauce and optional chilli is spread over the pancake before receiving a sprinkling of chopped spring onion, coriander leaves and sesame seeds. And then my favourite part: the pancake maestros reach to their top-shelf for a sheet of deep-fried crunchy taufu skin which gets placed in the middle of the pancake and folded in.


What you end up with is a floppy and crispy bundle. For me the crux of this addiction is the synergy of sparky spring onion and sweet hoisin, enveloped in egg. Those that allow themselves this treat en route to work or school have a look of smug satisfaction. Beijing mornings don't get better than this.


9 comments:

Raelene L. said...

That looks amazeballs, Shu.

Sean said...

looks mouthwatering indeed, but it also seems like a really heavy breakfast! maybe even the equivalent of a big mac :D

Hungry Female said...

Rae: which is why you need to come and try for yourself!
Sean: It's actually not that heavy! And come on, us Malaysians do heavy breakfasts all the time!

Su-Lin said...

I only managed to try one while I was in Beijing but it was glorious! Did your crispy sheet in the middle stay crispy? Mine didn't. :(

Hungry Female said...

Hi Su-Lin! Yeah you gotta be quick, unwrapping it a little from its bag to let the steam out helps. If you get in there too quickly you also risk burning your tongue. A good food dilemma though:)

cheeming said...

Ah reminds me of my Beijing mornings while walking to work. Have you tried the "tofu brain" (doufu nao) yet for breakfast? Add a bit of chillli for a nice kick.

Hungry Female said...

Chee Ming: Ooh no I haven't, what does it look like?

Jules said...

(salivating) I miss this stuff....

Vivi said...

That just made me hungry at 1:30am....I want some too!