Once tasted, the delight of jianbing is one to be savoured, particularly on a cold night on a Beijing street. The thin wheat pancake stuffed with scallions, egg and a sheet of crispy fried dough is warm friend to the hungry, cold and budget-conscious.
The snack is sold by countless hawkers throughout the country’s north but one adherent has brought the taste sensation south to the subtropics of Hong Kong. American Brian Goldberg, aka Mr Bing, has chosen Wellington Street in Central to launch what he hopes will become a jianbing empire stretching from Singapore to the United States to Europe.
The menu offers the traditional jianbing as well as a few variations like a sausage and cheese bing, a Shanghai-inspired incarnation and a Nutella version. The first outlet opened in December 2012 and another store has started catering to demand in Wan Chai.
Goldberg got a taste for jianbing while studying in Beijing in the late 1990s and tried to recreate the flavor of that time when he returned to the US. That nostalgia for the snack transformed into a concrete reality in Soho after Goldberg put in stints at Societe Generale and Macquarie Group, according to his LinkedIn profile.
Traditionalists may take issue with Goldberg’s willingness to put a hazelnut spread on such a pedigreed pancake but greater sins have been committed against food. If the pizza can survive the indignity of a pineapple topping, jianbing can cope with Nutella. Spread the love, spread the word. Let them know of jianbing in all corners of the globe — it deserves to be the world’s heritage.
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