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Nov 20, 2012 10:54 AM

Anyone ever spot a jianbing in SGV?

Former Beijing resident in the throes of a pregnancy craving...

I'm dying for a jianbing, the Beijing breakfast staple that over there is sold exclusively by street vendors with griddle-equipped carts. A freshly-grilled pancake topped with an egg or two, chili paste, bean sauce, cilantro, and these crispy crackers never seen in any other context, then all rolled up together and tucked in a paper towel. Has anyone ever spotted these in LA (read: SGV)?

Indescribable gratitude will follow an affirmative answer.

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  1. Tianjin version of jianbing, pretty decent:

    818 Shaokao, at 818 E. Valley Bl., San Gabriel 91776

    Good luck! Hope it scratches that itch...

    1 Reply
    1. re: J.L.

      This I will definitely try. Thanks.

    2. Y'know, not many places in SGV have this on the menu, but I don't know for the life of me why it can't be made a la minute.

      Take a place like Mama's Lu. They have beef rolls on the menu (niu rou juan bing), and what restaurant doesn't have eggs lying around, and there's always more than enough bean and chili paste in any Chinese restaurant.

      So, if you got the pancake that they use to make the beef roll (check), have them scramble or fry up some eggs (check), slather on a bit of chili and/or bean paste (check), then garnish with whatever greens you want (check), and you're itch is scratched (checkmate!)

      Mama's Lu
      501 West Garvey Ave
      (626) 282-2256

      9 Replies
      1. re: ipsedixit

        It's probably an issue of semantics, but from what I've seen of 煎餅果子, it's remarkably similar to Taiwanese breakfast daan bing 蛋餅, but with all those wicked savory and spicy elements and sauces (plus the cruller).

        Having only seen and eaten the beef roll at Liang's, they use a much thicker scallion pancake skin. I personally prefer the thinner made to order crepe skins of daan bing and jian bing.

        Part of the itch could be scratched at a good TW breakfast joint that sells daan bing and cruller...request a daan bing with a cruller inside, and ask if they have the other condiments and see if they can customize it to make that, and tell em to put it on the menu. Although I would be curious what the reactions would be at the likes of Four Seas and Huge Tree to that.

        Or see if Jian Bing Johnny from Berkeley area in NorCal will take apprentices (or copycats) for SGV

        1. re: K K

          Traditionally, I think jian bing does not have egg in the batter itself (the egg is usually poured on top of it as the "bing" is being cooked on the skillet or hot stone).

          But heck, at the end of the day, if it tastes good who the hell cares how it's made ...

          1. re: ipsedixit

            Actually daan bing is exactly the same way....the crepe/skin is just flour, water, and with this receipe, potato/yam starch


            No egg is added until the skin is done, whether on top or inside and rolled.

            Other receipes and youtube videos describe its making in a virtual identical manner to jian bing, seasonings and condiments aside, and how the egg is combined/cooked and placed.

            Which makes me wonder if Chinese immigrants from the north also brought jian bing making to Taiwan in the 50s, around the same time as retired military personel from Shandong, bringing the art of soymilk and cruller and bing making with them, but changing it to make daan bing.

            The thin skin crepes are definitely tastier than the thicker scallion pancake rolls when it comes to jian or daan bings. Time to add JB to the list of Chinese food abbreviations?

            1. re: K K

              The thin skin crepes definitely taste different from the scallion pancakes. Not sure different is tastier, but it's just different.

              the Teedub dan bing tastes nothing like the Beijing jian bing, and the prep is absolutely different. it makes sense all the br joints do not carry jb. (That's just for you, linus, no vowels, no caps).

              1. re: TonyC

                The problem I foresee with the DIY or modified danbing approach is that the "crackers" (one source online indicates they're called "baocui," though other sources call them "youtiao") put inside jianbing in Beijing have very little in common with the "youtiao" that are eaten straight for breakfast. The former are more like fried crackers than crullers and had some sort of seasoning kick to them...though it does seem as if something more akin to cruller-youtiao might go inside jianbing in Shanghai.

                Not to mention this is the kind of craving that isn't going to be happy with a cousin of the original. I also remember the bean paste put on top of jianbings as something a bit peculiar that may not find a ready substitute at a Taiwan restaurant.

                Oh well. At least I have more hope of getting this craving out of my system than I did with my main craving last pregnancy (Dunkin Donuts Vanilla Kreme donuts, RIP).

                1. re: Marcinko

                  Agree. Getting the awkward cousin is just awkward.

                  Here you go, Garage Restaurant in MPK has some rendition of this:

                  They do the crackers filling + tian mian. This is NOT a Taiwanese place. It's a bona fide Northern joint. NB: the baos and soy milk here are absolutely atrocious (as is the parking, as is the cleanliness).

                  1. re: TonyC

                    Oooh...that image looks about perfect. I know what I'm doing after the in-laws go home this weekend. Thanks!!

                2. re: TonyC

                  Ahh yes you're right. Further research shows that JB crepe mixture contains a lot more ingredients than just flour, water, and salt...lots of milled grains, such as Chinese millet (corn flour used in Shandongnese JBs), wheat and rice. More calories needed for the workers.

                  Maybe someone will do a Jian Bing food truck someday.

                3. re: K K

                  KK, I think you are right about the northern migration. In Qingdao there are several varieties.