Young and Hungry

Why Can’t D.C. Have Street Food Like This?

I don't even know what this is exactly, but it makes my mouth water.

  • SG

    This is a matter that will require lobbying. There's currently a de facto monopoly on the tightly regulated DC streetfood scene. It dates back, as all bad things do, to the Marion Barry era of corruption.

  • dhess

    It's a crepe.

  • huh?

    if that's a crepe then the stuff I saw on the streets of Paris musta been pancakes!

    that look delicious and is most certainly not a crepe.

  • Orr Shtuhl

    This bit of street food is called "jian bing guo zi," which roughly means "pancake wrap." It's kind of a cross between a crepe and a breakfast burrito that originated in Tianjin, a city just outside Beijing. Here's a clearer video:

    It's made by smearing batter into crepe formation, then smashing an egg into it, spreading evenly. Then they paint it with lots of thick, hot, red pepper sauce, mixed spices (usually including cayenne and cumin), and some fresh lettuce and cilantro -- and a fat, crunchy pork rind (or possibly crispy-fried dough). The guy in this video uses hot dogs, which is new to me, though I've also heard of variations with sausage and/or pickled veggies.

    The result is tasty, but usually kind of soggy bc you're holding a rolled up omelet in your hands. BUT: in just one place in all of Beijing I found -- and I asked everyone I could if anyone else did this -- they constructed the exact same recipe on a motorized crepe wheel that was about 4 feet wide. Thus, the egg-batter mixture would get super thin and crisp on one side (they wouldn't flip it), making a nice crispy-soft shell for said fillings.

    If anyone knows anything about this motorized version of jian bing -- or any jian bing in the DC area -- I'd love to hear about it. Stateside, it seems mostly confined to the West Coast. Cheers,

    Orr Shtuhl

  • Tim Carman

    I'm jonesing for one even more now. Thanks, Orr.