China’s breakfast pancake Jianbing has seen huge success in the United States
Social media and video sharing have become part of our daily lives and have made experiences and information which was once regionally bound available to the global public.
Videos of Japan’s famous wobbly water cake, which could easily be mistaken as a giant water droplet, spread throughout the internet. And now, China’s Jianbing, a savoury crepe, has also made a name for itself in the U.S.
Jianbing is a traditional street crepe popular throughout northern China. It’s a quick and easy breakfast which is often devoured by the Chinese on their way to work or school. The Chinese breakfast pancake, as westerners have labeled it, is traditionally made from green mung bean, wheat flour, and eggs and is commonly topped with cilantro, a thick soy sauce, multiple spices and scallions.
Yolanda Lee and Dolkar Tsering met each other while studying in the U.S and wanted to introduce a bit of their Asian culture to their new home. They traveled for months throughout northern China testing and sampling as many different Jianbing as they could find, often getting advice and recommendations from the Chinese street chefs.
Upon returning home to the U.S., they started up a food truck business called The Flying Pig and have experienced remarkable success.
They Flying Pig’s Jinabing, while different, encompasses many of the traditional Chinese flavors, and the young entrepreneurs have managed to bring a once unknown section of the Chinese food culture to the U.S.
On the streets of China a Jianbing will typically cost around 5 to 8 renminbi, or $1, significantly cheaper than the $8 charged by The Flying Pig. Forking out $8 for a filling lunch is far from uncommon in the U.S. though, and the Flying Pig’s Jianbing’s are massive, served in a small box with a knife and fork.
The two friends say their business has been great, selling around 150 Jianbing on an average day, and they are now working with investors from Beijing to open a Flying Pig restaurant in the heart of Beijing. Its main marketing strategy will be a Jianbing which has passed the rigors of U.S. health and food safety testing.
Photo Credits: Marisa Estivill