Snacks

Jianbing: Beijing-style savoury street crêpes

Jianbing (煎饼), typically eaten on the streets of Beijing, are sweet or savoury crêpes made from wheat flour that are sold straight from the hot pan by street vendors.

I’m a big fan of French crêpes, and have been keen to try the Chinese version for a while now. Today, while strolling through London’s Chinatown, I got my chance!

chinese jianbing crepes

Spying a jianbing stall set up outside one of the Chinese supermarkets, I jostled for my place in the queue and watched, spellbound, as the crêpes were skillfully poured, smoothed and spun into perfect circles, ready for their fillings.

chinese jianbing crepes

I ordered my jianbing topped with two eggs, spring onion, coriander, wrapped around two youtiao (油條), which are long, crispy, deep-fried dough sticks, kinda like Mexican churros, but savoury), and a hot chilli sauce.

chinese jianbing crepes

I was handed the steaming jianbing straight off the hotplate, wrapped in a brown paper bag, and I ran back to the office to devour it.

chinese jianbing crepes

I can’t even describe how fantastically good my first Chinese crêpe was. Not unlike a good French crêpe, my jianbing was silky, crispy, spicy, and delicious. The youtiao in the centre was the perfect fluffy and spongy texture – almost like fried tofu. The spring onion added a little crunch, and the spicy chilli sauce added the perfect amount of flavour.

The stall I visited also offers a jianbing version with sausage and ‘crisp’, a Chinese cracker that is crunched and placed inside the crêpe before folding. Everything on the menu was under £3.00, excellent value for a quick, light lunch if you’re in London’s Chinatown. I can’t wait for my next visit!

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11 thoughts on “Jianbing: Beijing-style savoury street crêpes

  1. Yeah, those crepes are awesome!

    I’m just on the bus on the way back from the new year celebrations.

    Also opposite the stand there is the tiny bozo street food shop. Their pork buns are equally good!

    🙂

  2. There’s a new street food stall called Mei Mei’s Street cart doing Jian Bings around London. They stuff them with Char Shu Pork and Duck too – really delicious! Very authentic taste to the Beijing Jian Bing (They get all their sauces from China)
    It changes location quite often so it’s a good idea to follow them twitter to see where it is next.

    Heres the website: http://www.meimeistreetcart.co.uk/

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