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Best Scallion Pancake?

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  • foodpimp Sep 9, 2001 12:28 AM
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I'd be interested in getting recommendations from everyone who truly enjoys scallion pancakes as much as I do. I find that it has replaced the eggroll that I grew up with, in that whenever I go to a Chinese restaurant, I can't help but order one if it's on the menu. Does anyone know what region in China this dish emerged from? Or is someone gonna burst my bubble and offer that it's an invention aimed at Westerners? I see it on Szechuan, Cantonese, and Shanghai menus, and I'd say that the various Shanghainese joints do it the best, rarely crisping it up so much that the insides fail to achieve the proper moisture, yet crisping it just enough to provide the necessary crunch. My two favorite scallion pancakes are at Evergreen Shanghai (Chinatown location) and New Green Bo, but I'd be happy to learn of a better one's existance. In case anyone wants to make one at home, I have provided a link to a beautiful photo essay on how to go about this.

Link: http://chinesepancake.terrashare.com/

Image: http://chinesepancake.terrashare.com/...

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  1. Nice to hear from another scallion pancake fan. I was first introduced to scallion pancakes at least a couple of years ago. My guess from the start was that this is some invention aimed mainly at westerners. But that's only a hunch. A couple of weeks ago I was in Chinatown and I walked up and down Canal street and failed to come across one single vendor selling scallion pancakes. So as a consolation prize I bought these little, very crispy eggrolls. The eggrolls looked very much like Thai eggrolls. They were good.

    I would be interested in hearing if anyone knows of a particular stand where I can rely on getting my pancakes when I feel the urge. I actually like the experience of buying the pancakes off a cart rather than getting them at a restaurant.

    6 Replies
    1. re: Maria

      I've never seen this being made at a Chinatown cart, but maybe I am not hitting the good ones. I have seen some pretty elaborate meals being prepared at some of them, though, especially some of the ones in the vicinity of Bowery and Pell.

      1. re: foodpimp

        I have never had scallion pancakes at a restaurant. I have only bought them at carts in Chinatown.

        1. re: Maria

          There's a little shop on elizabeth St between e. Bwy and Henry that only makes a couple of different dishes, one of which is scallion pancakes which taste great fresh out of the fryer.

          1. re: JH

            Not Elizabeth St, I meant catherine St.

      2. re: Maria

        I don't think they're a 'western' invention, Maria. My family has recipes for these that are a few generations old.

        1. re: cimui

          Yeah, to my knowledge, they're a traditional Shanghainese thing.

      3. I'm not an expert on scallion pancakes but I really like the non-greasy tasty ones at Noodles on 28th Street & Third Avenue. When I first ordered them, the waitress called it "Chinese pizza" so my guess is it's a dish aimed at Westerners but for me I don't care because it's good.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Ruby

          Thanks very much, Ruby. I'll make it a point to dine there shortly based on your report.

        2. I know what I'm making for supper tonight.

          2 Replies
          1. re: ironmom

            How did it turn out?

            1. re: foodpimp

              Best I ever had, by a long shot. I don't live in NYC, so I can't comment on what you have available, tho.

              It looks just like the picture, and tastes as good as it looks. This is really easy. Just a couple of hints for people who want to try it:

              1. Sprinkle with plenty of salt in the assembly phase.

              2. There's a warning on the bottom of the last page that says to be careful not to fry up more than you can eat. You freeze the extra bundles for later use and roll them out after thawing.

              This could be very convenient. The recipe appears to make 6 large ones. I made half a recipe, 4 medium ones, each perfect for a serving for 1. Also, I melted lard for the assembly, and fried in peanut oil.

              Anyone who is concerned that this recipe uses cold water rather than hot (I also have noticed this before) should try making it once before making any assumptions. Like I said, it's really easy and convenient. Then try the other way and let us know how it came out.

              I'll stick with this recipe.

          2. Rest easy, scallion pancakes are not invented just for the Westerners. Chinese people like them, too.

            I also like the New Green Bo scallion pancake the best so far. In general, if a place make their own dough, you'd have a pretty good chance for a good scallion pancake. Although....

            I read the recipe you provided a link to and was just pondering on how many different versions of this recipe there are out there. I believe John Thorne had an article on scallion pancakes in his Simply Cooking newsletter recently, but couldn't find it on line just now. His final recipe called for part cake flour and part all purpose flour. As I don't have the issue with me I can't supply much more details.

            The version I've read from a Chinese book mentioned part "medium gluten" and part "low gluten" flour. I wondered if that's the same as John Thorne's cake flour and all-purpose flour.(my book has a different ratio from his recipe) Also in my book warm water is used instead of cold water, something about getting a better texture of the dough. The cooking method is this book uses a cast-iron without oil. The special shortening that you put on when making the dough is sufficient source of oil.

            Finding and making the perfect scallion pancakes sound like a nice cold weather activity, doesn't it?

            5 Replies
            1. re: HLing

              "Finding and making the perfect scallion pancakes sound like a nice cold weather activity, doesn't it?"

              Oh definitely! Right up there with oversized brandy snifters and matching his-n-her turtlenecks in front of an open fire. Does brandy go with fried dough and green onions, though?

              1. re: foodpimp

                Brandy goes with everything.

                1. re: foodpimp

                  Maybe a nice English Ale would go well with the Scallion pancake. Save Brandy for dessert.

                2. re: HLing

                  Hi HLing,

                  Yes, "medium gluten" = "all purpose" and "low gluten" = "cake". "high gluten" = "bread".

                  1. re: Jeremy Osner

                    Hi Jeremy! Good to have you back in the USA.

                    Thanks for the clarification on the flours. Looks like I have a scallion pancake session in the making...

                3. v
                  veggiedelight

                  I was at Chin Chin the other night and had excellent scallion pancakes there. The place is very upscale and the Chinese food tends to have French influence. But the scallion pancakes were some of the best I've had.

                  1. Well, you did hit the nail on the head, it's generally best in a restaurant that serves Northern "dim sum." There are some varients you might be interested in (sorry if it's noted in the other posts - I did't read them all) - you can find them in muslim/islamic chinese restaurants (virtually all the same kind of dishes but much more lamb dishes intead of pork) - where it's very thick (up to an inch high) and coated with sesame seeds - they also have the "thin" version.

                    Theres' also a related version that has no scallions but still tasty, it's multi-strands formed like a scallion pancake, you grab it from the center and the strands lift up, you break off what you need.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: KC

                      I dind't realize that this place might be muslim/islamic chinese, but they do have the lamb soup and the thick savory sesame cake(Ze1 Ma2 Da4 bing3), laced with some cinnemon for $2. My favorite take out (not much room to sit down) is that and the lamb soup. It will be even better when the weather gets cooler!

                      Link: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

                    2. I have to say that the scallion pancakes at Joe's Shanghai on Pell St. in Chinatown are very tasty: light and crisp and not too greasy. (They've got other good stuff besides their famous soup dumplings!)

                      I haven't been in a while, but the scallion pancakes at the Excellent Dumpling House are great (even if, ironically, their dumplings aren't excellent). It's on Lafayette right below Canal.

                      1. I'm actually pretty content with Ollie's scallion pancake, right in the middle of Times Square, enjoy

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: jlean22

                          I've enjoyed the Shanghai pancakes at Yeah Shanghai. I can't imagine Ollie's would be better. Full disclosure: I haven't been to their branch at Times Square but really dislike their other branches, every time I've been dragged to them.

                        2. I don't usually think of it as a Cantonese restaurant thing, but Congee Village makes some of the best I've had in the city.

                          http://petercherches.blogspot.com

                          1. dumpling house on eldridge st has an awesome scallion pancake sandwich. not sure that these are the scallion pancakes that others are talking about. these things are enormous and doughier than other pancakes i've had. they take these pretty large ones out of the fryer and then they cut them up into triangles to serve. i got the scallion pancake with vegetables and kimchee, which was a great sandwich with carrot, cucumber, cilantro, a few other vegetables and kimchee. super tasty and only $1.50. the boiled vegetable dumplings are great too.

                            1. Like many on the replys have said, my exposure to scallion / green onion pancakes originates in Shanghi. Rhoda Yee, a SF cookbook author has a great receipe for making these with Bacon!! It's awesome, gives it a little bit more of a salty goodness.

                              I also like the flaky roti type of pancake in Singaporean Restaurants that are served with savory curry dipping sauce.

                              1. Fantastic Chinese Restaurant in Chinatown has the best doggone scallion pancakes i've had up north. In Hallandale Beach FL, go to Lychee Garden. and if you go to the Star Chinese Market in Hollywood FL, they make them homemade.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: Shirley U. Jest

                                  What city's Chinatown???

                                  1. re: Pan

                                    Grand Sichuan NYC