Jianbing guozi at home

Jianbing guozi is one of China’s best street foods. Only sold for breakfast, it is a crisp, savory crepe (jianbing, referring to the dough product) filled and folded into a tall, chewy packet to be bitten into like a burrito (guozi, meaning wrapped). In Beijing, one runs for around 30 cents. Each made-to-order jianbing guozi, still burning hot, is then unceremoniously dumped into a plastic bag.

I was shocked the first time my jianbing guozi was handed to me in a plastic bag. So was my American friend Christian when he first got his. I guess it’s just what’s done, although I think paper napkins would be a better choice, seeing as napkins are actually useful while eating, and plastic bags are extremely un-environmentally friendly. Last weekend, I was in Vancouver visiting friends, and one of them made jianbing guozi at home. No plastic bags here – it came on a plate.

First, a scoop of batter. Spread thin, it cooks very quickly. The particles are from mung bean flour.

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An egg on top.

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The egg is spread by the wooden implement to coat the crepe, after which Chinese green onions are added.

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Now the bing is turned over for a fresh surface, which is covered in a savory, pungent bean paste.

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The light brown, fluffy, powdery bits are rousong. Think tough cotton candy made from pork. This slightly sweet and coarse preserved meat product is very common in breakfasts, especially stirred into congee.

The long yellow thing is a youtiao. It’s basically a nonsweet cruller – deep fried, with lots of air bubbles and chew. These are most commonly eaten by themselves with warm soy milk, and also frequently accompany congee. The youtiao is providing the crunch component in this jianbing. A jianbing bought on the street would generally have a deep fried, golden-brown cracker-like dough inside.

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Now everything is wrapped together.

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Finished!

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Here’s a recipe for jianbing from CNN Travel.

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