Travels in Suzhou: Twice-Cooked Egg Crepe (<i>jidan guanbing</i> 鸡蛋灌饼)

As a variation on our beloved theme of the Tianjin-style egg crepe jianbing, I'll post an ode to jianbing's cousin, the jidan guanbing (鸡蛋灌饼), also roughly translated as egg crepe. Both are fantastic for late-night munchies or more traditionally, a quick on-the-go breakfast. As we've lovingly recorded in past posts, the jianbing is a hefty sandwich-sized crepe filled with egg, a deep-fried crisp and assorted green bits. The guanbing is a less glamourous creature, a dough pocket with an egg poured into the center (the term guan 灌 means “to pour”). It's smaller, about the size of a pancake, and the oily crisp is replaced by some healthy lettuce (though it can be argued there is nothing healthy about a greasy guanbing).

As the humble, runty cousin of the glorious jianbing, it doesn't get much notice. However, in Suzhou off the west gate of the university, I met a guanbing genius.

There are various things that made his guanbing a superior snack worthy of saliva

ting over. The incorporation of extra spices (including dried shrimp eggs) into the dough, the size (twice as big as a Beijing guanbing, and folded into a paperback-sized rectangle), the inclusion of a smattering of cilantro, pickled cabbage and onions. But the real difference is the double cooking. Twice-cooked is a big theme in Chinese cooking – for example,

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twice-cooked pork is a beloved Sichuan dish. Extra steps can make things extra tasty, but the extra time it takes isn't usually associated with quickie street stall snacks.

Guanbing are usually simply panfried. This young man however, thrilled me by uncovering small drawer-like ovens built into his stove. After filling the guanbing with egg, he moved the crepe from the grill into one of the two ovens, for crisping. As the drawers are off to the side of the main heat, a little sit in there allows the crepe to slowly brown and crisp without overcooking the egg or burning the crepe. Marvelous! The best guanbing I've had. There are even three sauces (chili, sweet, salty) you can lather on. Not only is he a guanbing god, this 17-year-old is a proud new father – here's a toast to him and his creations.

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2 Responses to Travels in Suzhou: Twice-Cooked Egg Crepe (<i>jidan guanbing</i> 鸡蛋灌饼)

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Beijing Haochi · Travels in Suzhou: Twice-Cooked Egg Crepe (jidan guanbing 鸡蛋灌饼) -- Topsy.com

  2. Mmm looks delicious. I wonder if I can find these on the streets of Shanghai?

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