[SHANGHAI] “Jian Bing”: Crepe a la China Style

Jian Bing (shanghainese breakfast) 1

Dear Food Diary:
First morning in Shanghai, breakfast is more like a break”feast”. First stop, a visit to my favorite “Jian Bing” Lady a block from my parent’s place. Street food at its best. It’s sort of like a Chinese Crepe, but this only comes savory. It’s a classic breakfast option that can be found throughout the city (unless your in some fancy schmancy hotel. In which case, you’ll have to leave the comforts of your westernized room and get your butt to some side street or neighborhood market early in the am). My parents live at the end of LINE 8 at Shi Guang Road, but I doubt you’ll want to go this far in the morning.

Serious skills right? She mainly uses all purpose flour mixed with millet flour and bean flour. You can sort of have it your way when it comes to the toppings. I choose to go with everything, egg, asian cilantro, green scallions, and preserved vegetable. The first sauce is a sweet dark soy based similar to hoisin. The second, which I ask for in moderation is her chili sauce. I usually get this every morning when I’m there, so basically, I see her once a year for 14 days and disappear. 
In case you’re wondering, as my dad is paying her ¥2.30 (roughly $0.35), crazy cheap I know! he is also telling her that if I lived there, I would visit her every morning. While I’m letting her know, this is just the start of my many breakfasts.
Jian Bing (shanghainese breakfast) 3
And here it is, hot and ready to satisfy. The outside wrap is crunchy and chewy with a little pull at the same time. The egg coats the inside layers with softness. Fresh cilantro and scallions are oniony and bright, the pickled veggies are salty and crunchy but the real crunch comes form the sheets of puffy fried dough. It’s texturally fun, savory, sweet and spicy.
Jian Bing (shanghainese breakfast) 2
Conveniently wrapped in tiny plastic bags, this is perfect on the go. But you gotta eat it quick or it turns soggy. I usually eat 1/2, share with my dad. We usually eat this as we are walking to breakfast stop #2 or #3.
This is why I go through a “vacation’s breakfast withdrawal” every time I’m back from Asia. Nope, haven’t been able to find this or anything similar to this in Chinatown or Flushing.
P.S. Chubby’s RATING: