With US food trucks slinging everything from Spanish anchovies to Canadian bacon doughnuts, it’s a wonder you don’t see more Chinese street foods. Fortunately, Caucasian-American Ana Stasia might’ve changed all that by opening a jianbing guozi stand in the US. Women of China reports:
Ana, 29, originally from Florida, moved to Seattle with her husband a few years ago. She once worked as an English teacher for a year and half at a senior high school in southeast China’s Zhejiang Province, during which she traveled to many places in China and tasted all kinds of regional food including different versions of Jianbing Guozi.
After returning home, she had the idea of opening a stall and introducing this ubiquitous Chinese dish to American customers.
“No one sells Jianbing Guozi in Seattle. But many of my Chinese and American friends really missed it, which gave me the idea. Last September, I started my full-time job selling it,” Ana said.
Based on her previous experiences of subsisting on Jianbing Guozi while living in China and on her self-teaching from the Youtube videos, Ana founded the first Jianbing Guozi stand in the Pacific northwest area in the United States.
Her food stand [named “Bing of Fire”] is very international with an authentic frying pan, scraper, and oil brush. Customers can choose fillings like fried bread sticks, eggs, hot dogs, crisp fritters, Chinese onion, cilantro, preserved Sichuan pickle, chili sauce, sweet sauce and so on.
One major change is that she uses maize meal rather than green bean flour for the dough.
Nonetheless, Ana’s stand has caused quite a commotion on Weibo and among Chinese in the US, some of whom traveled 300km to try her pancakes.
Of course, setting up a street food stand in the US isn’t like setting up a street food stall in China. Whereas apparently anybody with a dead rat and a hot plate can open a street stall in Shanghai, Ana’s stand has to adhere to both US and Seattle regulations.
Ana’s not allowed to prepare raw materials in the kitchen at her house, and she has to run her business in a public space. The cost of running the business has forced her to sell the pancakes for around 45RMB, more than ten times as much as the average price in Shanghai. Fortunately, you can pay by credit card!
And it looks like her hard work has paid off as jianbing’s catching on among fellow Caucasian-Americans, who are now regulars at her stand! We figure it won’t be long before food trucks selling Chinese crullers, stinky tofu, and more start rolling into cities across the US.