Every few days our team will scour Shanghai’s dining scene for scrumptious dishes that’ll fill your belly without emptying your savings. Not to discriminate, we’ll search everywhere from bicycle carts to chic venues with twenty-course tasting menus, knowing that any spot could have the next Dish of the Day.
Jianbing (煎饼) is a street food staple and while almost every street corner has their own favorite “Chinese burrito” maker, the lady on Wulumuqi Lu has developed quite the reputation. While her treats are a bit pricier than most – 5 mao more than the 3RMB going rate – the extra splurge is well worth it. The dough has just the right mix of crunch and goo, making the crepe-like texture perfect to wrap up the inside ingredients of cilantro, egg, pickled mustard tubers, soybean paste, fried wonton wrappers, and chili flakes.
The lady behind the stand works her magic with speed and agility, cracking eggs while reaching for the cilantro. Her average time to make one jianbing? 44 seconds. And with the long line of people down Wulumuqi Lu all morning and afternoon waiting to get their hands on one of these delightful treats, it’s a good thing that she can produce the goods quickly. But beware. She ain’t got no time to grab you a bag to put your jianbing in it. So you better get it yourself or the people in line behind you will scold you for not knowing the etiquette. However, While she may not tolerate those who don’t know jianbing etiquette, she does make sure to cater to your special requests. Be sure to specify if you want it “bu la de” (not spicy), “yi dian la de” (just a little spice), or “la de” (a whole mother-load of spice) and she will be sure to add on the chili flakes accordingly. Want a fried dough stick shoved in there as well? Or two eggs? What about two wonton wrappers? The extra price tag will come along with these additions, but she is more than happy to meet your jianbing needs.
To eat, simply dig in. This is a street stand which means hole in the wall stand with no tables or chairs on a packed sidewalk. Stroll north on Wulumuqi Lu away from Fuxing Lu and pass by the Avocado Lady stand, fried dumpling stalls, and fruit vendors, as you indulge in the jianbing. Take your time as you enjoy this breakfast delight as it will vanish too quickly. The advantage of wandering while eating? You can head back for a second one to take with you on the subway home to set you on your way for a great rest of the day.
Jianbing stand, 328 Wulumuqi Lu, near Fuxing Middle Road, Xuhui District. (乌鲁木齐路, 在复兴路和五原路中间) Closest metro stop: Changshu Road, Line 1 and Line 7.
Last time on Dish of the Day: ‘Delightfully’ fried pork chop @ Yolota
See a complete list of our Dish of the Day series here.
By Charlotte Evans
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