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Dec 1, 2011 12:26 PM

Jian Bing in SF?

One of my friends from Beijin has told me for so long about his love of jian bing - which Yelp in the past has not indicated is available anywhere in SF. My desire to try it again was re-kindled when I read about Jean-Georges' love for it too:

is there anywhere in SF where i can try this?

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  1. I was really hoping you'd get some responses. I even went through 50 pages of SF foodspotting in hopes of finding a mention. I've only had it at a food court stall in Richmond, BC where it is delicious. Hope you find it and post!

    3 Replies
    1. re: grayelf

      Yelp'ers mention it being available at Everyday Beijing in San Mateo on weekends as recently as last month. Don't know about SF though.

      1. re: grayelf

        Plenty in LA if you ever visit us.

        1. re: Chandavkl

          just booked my trip to beijing so i think i can wait :)

      2. If you're still on the hunt for jianbing, here's the word from hyperbowler on Beijing Restaurant's.

        8 Replies
        1. re: Melanie Wong

          Has anyone tracked this guy down?

          From twitter it looks like he was out and about as recently as Feb. 8 at the East Bay Bike Party.

          1. re: oniontears

            Jian Bing Johnny's out tonight at art murmur. Bummed I can't be there to try it, hope others can.

            1. re: Melanie Wong

              Thanks for this tip! Might be able to check it out, and will post if I do!

            2. re: oniontears

              I spotted that cart, and wish I knew at the time what he was serving exactly. It still caught my attention. Hard not to stop and watch this guy working, slow and methodically. The crispy pieces were pretty large (like shrimp chip sized) and he was flipping the crepes with a piece of wood.

              1. re: sugartoof

                I stopped by around 7 and got a jian bing. I haven't had one before, so I can't do many comparisons, but this was quite good. The crepe was of very even thinness (he told me it was soybean flour and wheat flour) and the egg was perfectly done. The interior crispies were still very crisp when I ate them, and the 2-3 condiments brushed on really brought the package together. I think they were a fermented soybean sauce, and a chili sauce--I think nuts were involved in it. It's definitely worth the $5 dollars minimum donation.

                1. re:

                  Glad you got a chance to try it. I heard he had to close up early and left some potential customers in the dust.

                  1. re:

                    any more Jian Bing Johnny's sightings recently?

              2. re: Melanie Wong

                Yes, we just went to SF for the long weekend and our first stop was Beijing Restaurant on Alemany Blvd ( The servers were incredibly nice and accommodating. The jian bing was almost perfect, pictured below. Although the crispy cracker (bao cui) and the accouterments (pickled mustard greens, black bean sauce) were not exactly like the stuff I got in China, the dough they used to make the bing was spot-on perfect! Delicious.

                The other menu items were also very good. I asked the servers for some more authentic Beijing dishes and they were happy to oblige. They gave us some off-menu items to celebrate the lunar new year: suan mei tang (sour plum juice), kou shui ji (cold chicken with ma la dipping sauce), and tian bing (sweet red bean paste pancakes). We also got the pai huang gua (smashed cucumber) and yang rou chuanr (cumin lamb skewers), which were both just like I remember them from China. The yu xiang qiezi (fish-fragrant eggplant) was deep fried and a little too savory for my taste, but still pretty good.

                Can't wait to go back the next time I'm in SF and get some more authentic Beijing dishes! It's hard to find Chinese food like this in the States.

              3. Tian Jin Dumplings on Franklin St. in Oakland Chinatown (a food stall) across the street from Bank of America has Jian Bing. $3.95 and it was pretty good eats. The only thing is they use fried crullers and not fried egg roll skin or dough, so it's not as crispy in the middle. Nevertheless, it's cheap and filling.

                They also have variety of dumplings and steam buns. I had the Tian Jin steamed buns and it was yummy!

                The owners were very friendly.

                9 Replies
                1. re: theSauce

                  Thanks for the report. Looking forward to trying it out.

                  1. re: Dave MP

                    Finally made it to Tian Jin dumplings today before an appointment in Oakland. The serving was huge for the price. They make a large crepe, with egg sort of scrambled into the batter, then put two fried donuts inside, along with pickled veggies, black sesame seeds, hot sauce, and bean paste. Overall, I really liked the combination of flavors, though I agree with theSauce that it could have been better with a bit less donut and instead more of a crunch. But still, it's great to have this snack option available in downtown Oakland.

                    1. re: Dave MP

                      Do tian Jin and Beijing have different styles of filling in their jian bing?

                      When I type in just 煎餅 (jian bing) into google image search, the eggs filled with crunchy stuff come up. Google pulls up lots of doughnut filled ones when I type in the name Tianjin dumpling uses : 煎餅果子(jian bing guozi).

                      1. re: hyperbowler

                        In Shanghai, where they are usually called 蛋饼 (dan bing), not 煎饼, the filling is nearly always a rectangle of deep fried 豆腐皮 (tofu "skin," a. k. a. yuba) not youtiao (doughnut), giving you more crunch and less carbs. You can see the crunchy wafers in the upper left side of this woman's setup.

                        1. re: soupçon

                          Thanks, I didn't realize jian bing and dan bing were the same thing--- there's probably more diversity between cooks than between nomenclature.

                          For reference, here are pictures of a Dan bing from Shanghai, a sad looking Dan bing from Shanghai restaurant in Oakland, and a jian bing guozi from tian Jin dumpling.

                          1. re: soupçon

                            If you check out the NYC Outer Boroughs board, board /19, we've been hunting this down too. It seems that yes, the Shanghai version is done with crackers and northern areas do it with a crueller. The cracker version has been harder to find and most of us prefer that one of course! Getting it served in a cheap plastic bag seems to be the easiest way to eat it.

                          2. re: hyperbowler

                            I'm not sure there is a 'canon' of jian bing, but I'd say most jian bing both in Beijing and Tianjin have the cracker filling as standard (+ 'hot sauce' (辣醬) that is only vaguely spicy, green onions, cabbage and maybe cilantro and maybe pickles; also with options to add some meat, tofu, hot dog, pickles, whatever). Unfortunately I can't remember what they called the cracker thing, but I am pretty sure not 豆腐皮 in Beijing or Tianjin. I never had a jian bing in Shanghai.

                            That said, it isn't too hard to find jian bing wrapped around the cruller (油條) in Tianjin, but I never saw it in Beijing.

                            By the way, I once had a long monologue from someone who felt calling the things you buy at street carts 'jian bing' was not really proper, and that they should really be referred to as 'jian bing guo zi' (煎餅果子, as you identified) because there are places where 'jian bing' just gets you the pancake without any filling, which would be insufferably dull-eating in her opinion.

                            1. re: eethan

                              The cracker thing is called báocuì (薄脆), literally "thin crisp". I think it's a deep-fried cracker, not tofu skins. But maybe some people use the tofu skins....

                              What is the pickled mustard green called? I love that stuff.

                              1. re: tstone1227

                                Ah! I just came up with the name and came back to post it. But you beat me to it.

                                With the pickles, I think you're referring to zha cai (榨菜)---yes, a bit of that goes a long way. (May or may not have something to do with the MSG!)

                    2. The NYC Outer Boroughs thread including hot dogs!