Jian bing guo zi – the jian bing with a doughnut filling
Last Sunday, I went in search of some of the only jian bing to be found in the bay area. I headed down to Everyday Beijing in San Mateo with Lao Bu, the second of our bay area Chinese food pilgrimages; the other was to Old Mandarin in Outer Sunset. Both restaurants have the characteristics of a really authentic Chinese restaurant vibes: brisk service, flimsy curtain over the kitchen entrance, crowded tables, etc. The laoban at Everyday Beijing asked if I had a Chinese name; I promptly pointed to my 牛B button, and that is what he proceeded to call me for the rest of the meal. As we left, he exclaimed, “谢谢你牛B!” The true reason for this southern journey was to try Everyday Beijing’s jian bing. Their jian bing is actually “jian bing guo zi” (煎饼馃子) which is a jian bing that has a doughnut filling (油条, you tiao) instead of a crispy “fritter” or fried wonton wrapper filling (薄脆, bao cui). The doughnut results in a very different jian bing experience, and one I rarely had in Beijing. Readers: is jian bing guo zi common in Beijing because I did not see it much? The jian bing guo zi is, as you can imagine, very doughy and, while delicious, just not the same texture as having that delightful crisp of the fritter. Long live the crispy fritter!