The fried pancake, and why Guangzhou is home.

I remem­ber the moment I felt New York and I were friends– it was a cool spring day, one of those where April still felt like Feb­ru­ary, when a stranger stopped me on the street to ask for the near­est sub­way stop. With­out a moment of hes­i­ta­tion, I was able to not only point them in the right direc­tion but also indi­cate the exact num­ber of blocks away the sta­tion was (I’d also like to add, I was nowhere near where I lived). It had taken me a good six months, but I felt like the city had let me in, and I was finally able to kick my feet back with­out wor­ry­ing I would fully tip over.

Going to a new city is always fraught with excit­ing emo­tions– of con­stantly feel­ing lost, of always being on an adven­ture, of never know­ing who or what you’ll run into. It’s nice to get to know a city– its restau­rants, its sub­way sys­tem, its locals, and where not to got. It’s also nice to know in a city where to get the best cheap street­side eats.

This week­end, I tried this incred­i­ble Chi­nese ver­sion of a crêpe for the first time, known around here as a fried pan­cake (煎饼). All you peo­ple back at home who think that scal­lion pan­cakes are the sh*t, well this gives it a street food-run for its money. Wrapped in a crêpe-like outer pan­cake, veg­eta­bles and pick­les are stuffed along with a mys­te­ri­ous crispy crunchy waffle-like cracker, then folded up like a taco to pick up and eat. So, it’s savory, soft and crunchy (ohmah­gawd, I just real­ized this is a vegetarian-Chinese CHALUPA!), pickly and portable– so many of my favorite ele­ments in one 5–kuai snack. Ahhh, it’s nice to be home.

(if you look closely, you’ll notice the fried pan­cake lady is using what looks like a piece of sanded-down fire­wood to make the crêpe.)

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2 thoughts on “The fried pancake, and why Guangzhou is home.

  1. I assume you are back in China. I really enjoy your posts. It’s almost like being there. Give my love to Bar­rett. See you when you two are back in the States.

    • Thank you so much, you just made my day! Barrett’s only got two months of work left here, so we’re head­ing home very soon. We’ll be in the Bay Area for a few weeks before head­ing back to DC in the Fall, and I hope to see you again too!

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