According to my Chinese language professor, the province of Shandong has a special type of jian bing (煎饼), which I decided to call the Chinese crepe from a previous post. Back at the university I studied abroad at, Beijing Normal University, there’s a stand that sold these Chinese crepes. It literally did look like crepes but inside there were different ingredients. You had the vegetables, something crunchy, and some sauces. It was wrapped in a rectangular shape and eaten on the go.
I saw some similar to the one outside my university:
1. This was found at a Chinese crepe stand when I was climbing down Mountain Tai. It was made with a circular Chinese crepe and toppings include scallion, sausage, and a sauce. Because an entire stalk of scallion is used, it adds a sharp tang to it. My professor also mentioned that scallion is often used in the Shandong jianbing.
2. While walking around Qufu, we found this Chinese crepe stand. It also uses a circular Chinese crepe. Inside there were entire stalks of scallion (again), sauce, and something crunchy. So far, the difference I see between these jian bing and the ones sold near my university is the use of entire scallion stalks. The stands outside my university use cut up pieces of scallions. Along with the coriander, you don’t taste that same pungent flavor of the scallion. But it’s completely different in these Chinese crepes, where the scallion reign supreme in the flavor domain.
These jian bing in Shandong were similar to the ones sold in Beijing, but during our restaurant meals, we did find some pretty different jian bing. Take a look:
I don’t even know where to start to describe its texture. It’s not soft like a crepe. But it’s not brittle or hard either. Some type of middle texture? There’s a certain graininess to its texture but I don’t want you to think there are huge grains in there. Aside from the textural difference, the shape is obviously different; it’s a long rectangle that is folded into squares and served. In the restaurant, the toppings are sold on the side. I didn’t see any stands selling these so I don’t know how these are prepared to-go.
You would place the toppings in the middle of the folds of one sheet of the jian bing. I’m not sure if this is the proper way but that’s what the professor did. We followed along. I don’t imagine this to be convenient for eating on the go. The toppings that we were served were granules–they would easily fall out. Additionally, the jian bing itself can’t be wrapped; it can only be folded, which makes it easier for the topping to fall out. The other style of jian bing, which is similar to the French crepe, is wrapped around ingredients that are larger in size and thus are less likely to fall out.
I personally like the jian bing that is similar to the French crepe, which are the ones I described above and in a previous post. More ingredients can be added, which add more depth in flavor. Because they are made fresh when you order, they’re still piping hot, which is always a plus for me. I miss the jian bing sold outside the university…
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