Jian Bing – Bejing Chinese Street Food


Jian Bing is China’s version of the French crepe (not sure which came first though) . The Jian Bing, unlike the crepe only has a savory version as far as I know. It’s got the same type of thin flour wrap and on the inside it’s usually served with fried eggs, green onions, cilantro, and a savory spicy chilli sauce. Many varieties exist and some them also include a flat piece of crispy fried dough. It’s a great snack to have late at night or during the day.

jianbing beijing street food chinese

As in Paris, you can also find vendors selling these delicious snacks all over the streets and in small shops.

Is it hard to make? It takes a little practice but I was able to manage to make one of my own. The street vendor was nice to allow me to make my own. Although I accidently dropped an egg and he charged me a little more.


27 Comments Add yours

  1. Martin Wright says:

    I spent some time in beijing early this year, I discovered many of the different street foods in and around the city but my favourite remains jian bing.

    actually, it is traditionally a breakfast snack,,,i also tried to make it myself, but it didnt turn out too good at all!!

    haha, i just found this website, and i love it now, so ill definetly be back to check out what else you guys have tried.

    thanks , martin.

  2. Marc says:

    Finally! I have been searching all over trying to find out what this dish is called. Every time I visit China I get up early to seek out this dish. Any idea how to make the chili sauce or pickled vegetable accompaniments that often are part of this?


  3. Yannick says:

    This is definitely the dish that makes it worth to travel Beijing! I LOVE IT!!!

    Right now I am staying in Beijing, so it is no problem to get them.

    But how to make them on your own? The pancake itself shouldn’t be the problem. A local friend told me that you can buy the sauces in every chinese supermarket (chilli sauce and preserved beancurd). But this dough stick they finally ad, what is this?

    Anyways, funny to see that there are more addicted guys like me 😉

  4. Marc says:

    The fried dough is pretty easy to find in Chinatown here in seattle…it’s basically a fried cruller. Some stands in shanghai also make it with crispy pork skin. Any chance you could get a chinese name for the preserved beancurd? I’m assuming any type of chili sauce (sambal) would work, but there are a million different types of preserved beancurd in the chinese markets. Some of the stands I visited also added some type of pickled vegetables, but I have no idea what they are.

    If you have any more information and wouldnt mind sharing, my email is marcsch@microsoft.com

    Thanks very much.


  5. veer says:

    lissen can u send me as much info on china as possible. i love it. pleez

  6. jerry fox says:

    My wife and I became Bing addicts over the months that we lived in Shanghai near Fudan University. Our local made his bings with corn flour and we liked it better than normal white flour it seemed elsewhere used. These were just so good on a cold morning. Like everyone else we would love to duplicate them… on the otherhand can we duplicate the smile of the chef, his intense concentration and joy at seeing how much we liked is product or joy he got knowing that the local Americans frequented his stand exclusively?

  7. Steven says:

    Yes I too love jian bing, but can someone is there a website or something where someone can show me how to make it?

  8. Paul says:

    While teaching English at Taizhou No 1 Middle School (Jiangsu Province)I discovered the delights of jian bing at a street stall near the school gate. Heaven ! I found that Beijing ones were also great. Now back home in Australia I really want a good recipe.

  9. Sam says:

    I have a brother who lives in Taiwan and I really (really) enjoyed this, best breakfast food ever, but wasnt too sure what it was called until recently. Funny to see it left as big an impression on so many people.

    Keen to try and make some myself

  10. Adam says:

    I used to eat this EVERY morning in Nanjing, and I couldn’t for the life of me remember what they called it (not that it would matter, since it was in the local language which I never learned to speak). The Chinese cruller is called a you2 tiao2 in Mandarin, and any Chinese market will carry them. The local vendor in Nanjing used to make his with black glutenous rice on top of the egg.

  11. Mary Granger says:

    I also enjoy jian bing – but have had a hard time finding it since they demolished the area below Tiananmen…anyone have suggestions to find jian bing now in Beijing?

  12. I’m happy to see that there are plenty of other people as addicted to these things as I.

    My favourite is the store in Tuan Jie Hu market in Beijing. The guy there has a large cast iron plate that spins while the Jian Bing is cooking. It makes the outside a bit more crispy than most. I also love the black sesame seeds some vendors sprinkle inside them.

    You’ve got to love Chinese street food.

  13. meg says:

    For any of you who are in beijing at the moment and are near Wudoukou try the jian bing makers on either side of the subway station. I think the guy on the ‘right’ side of the road is better (right if you’re looking at the subway coming from Qinghua or Beida) very spicy and very quick.

  14. Simon says:

    Nice. I know exactly where you are referring. Those are good jian bing. When I was at Tsinghua, I found a cart near the nan menr where the guy let me make my own. Flipping the jian bing is not the hard part, as much as spreading the mixture on the hot plate evenly. You have to add just the right amount to get a good thick piece. If only someone would bring that out to NY, i´d be set.

  15. Bing Man says:

    I love Jian Bing. I have been living in Beijing for a year and a half, and I only discovered this master piece of a crepe after being here for about two weeks. After my first one I was hooked. For the next three months I ate a Jian Bing almost every morning (before work, or after drinking). BUt this back fired on me greatly. NOw I have lost my craving the delicate pancakes kissed with bbq type of sauce, sprinkled with green onion and scallion, and topped with a DEEP FRIED piece of, what some one above refered to as a, you-tiao, and placed in a thinner than air plastic bag that burns your hands, yet you can’t stop eating.

    I am leaving CHina this July. I will be sure to jump back on the JIan Bing wagon.

    good night and god bless….the Jian Bing

    I am leaving

  16. Scott says:

    My wife and I got hooked on these things during a visit to Yangshuo this summer.

    The vendor there put a sliced hot dog in the middle.

  17. Adam says:

    This is not traditional Beijing dish, it is a dish that first originated in Tianjin, about 2 hours south of Beijing. While Beijing does have them, Tianjin by far has the best. In Tianjin check the sellers near Hai Guang Si or near Nanjing Road.

  18. admin says:

    Sorry dude, I meant traditional as in everyone commonly has these for breakfast or for a snack. But yeah, you are right they are originally from TianJin. I’ve tried them out in TianJian and are pretty awesome alone with their famous 小笼包

  19. Josh says:

    I just finished a jian bing for breakfast. I’ve been in Beijing for 3 weeks and have eaten about 6 of them so far. Really tasty and only 3 kuai.

  20. jared says:

    I spent nine months at No. 2 highschool attached to Beijing Normal University and ate jian bing almost every day at a tiny shop next to the school. I miss it with a passion and I have tried to immitate it but I can never get the batter or sauce quite right. Can someone email me on how to do that please? Thanks

  21. Justin says:

    I first saw these outside the Suzhou St gate of the Summer Palace and was very pleased to discover a vendor who sold them through the night just outside the western gate of Renmin U, where I was studying this past summer. The vendor called it jian bing guo zi and made it with batter, one egg, a big cracker-like thing, and lots of cilantro. Only Â¥2.50! I LOLed at Bing Man’s comment of 17 Mar 2008 in which he described how efficiently the heat penetrates the thin plastic bags — vivid and very accurate! Good memories!

  22. Jenny says:

    Thankyou,thankyou,thankyou!!!Justin and yes Bing Man’s comment did the same for me, such wonderful memories. Have been craving these since 08. Went to China in May of 06 & again in 08 for Tai Chi competition, and once tasted, never forgotton, obviously by these responses. I have been half heartedly seeking out these delectable creations ever since returning home (to Oz). I’m having a multi-cultural dress-up night at my place this weekend, and with the info I have just aquired concerning the ingredii,(thanx to all of you) am going to attempt to whip up a batch of those “pancakes” and I have all the ingredients for the filling so ‘IF’ I’m successful, and just let me tell you here I am rarely unsuccessful in the kitchen!!! I will share my results with you all. I am drooling with anticipation right now at the impending taste test. Don’t expect my crepes to be as expansive for one, but hope I can get them as light…

  23. Bump says:

    Mmmmmm! I have just left China and miss them already- they were my staple breakfast on a weekend for over a year. Not so nice when the guo zi is stale, but when it’s fresh and crispy and covered with coriander and spring onion…. I’m coming back to China for breakfast!

  24. Jared says:

    Spent a month in Beijing last year and have been craving these ever since. Just recently I tracked down a recipe and have been making my own.. still working on perfecting it. Basically mix 3T flour 1T tapioca/corn starch and 1/3 c water and let sit for 10 min. Heat up a large pan or griddle and brush with a little oil to medium heat. Pour in batter and try to spread it evenly (I just swish the pan around until its evenly coated). Let it cook until it loses the wet look and drop in the cilantro, scallions and lightly beaten egg. Let that solidify a little before flipping the crepe and brushing on sauces, I use vegitarian oyster sauce, a little soy sauce and chili paste and it tastes pretty close.
    I have heard that mung bean and millet flour is used, not wheat.. but i have yet to try it.

  25. Jared says:

    upon further research, some sites are claiming that the sauce used is Tian Mian Jiang sauce. aka sweet bean sauce, aka sweet duck sauce.

  26. Tony Goode says:

    Jian Bing

    Crepe batter:

    1 cup all-purpose flour
    1 tablespoon of melted butter/ margarine/ oil
    ½ cup milk
    ½ cup water


    2 green onions, roots cut off of bottom half of stalks and stalks diced 1/4 inch thick, and top half of stalks discarded
    1 egg
    1 tablespoon TianMianJiang/ Sweet Noodle Sauce (there’s a variety of brands at any Asian/Chinese grocery store)
    1 tablespoon Black Bean Chili Sauce
    1 You Tiao/Chinese Cruller (you should be able to buy these at any major Asian
    grocery store that has a bakery section), if not, use any kind of savory cracker, four
    pieces of crisp fried wonton wrappers, or a piece of fried pork rind.

    Mix the flour, butter/ margarine/ oil, milk, and water together until smooth.

    In a small pan, heat some oil.

    Once oil is heated, throw in half a handful of chopped green onions. Fry for about 30 seconds, then put in several spoonfuls of the Sweet Noodle Sauce. Fry for another 30 seconds – 1 minute.

    Add some water, and stir well into the sauce to thin it out.

    Pour the sauce out into a small bowl or container.

    In the same pan (you don’t even need to wash it), throw in a few spoonfuls of the chili sauce and cook for 1 – 2 minutes adding some water to it like with the previous sauce. Pour into a small bowl once you feel it is ready (this is just to weaken the tastes of the two sauces, as well as to thin them out a bit).

    In another pan, line the bottom with just a tiny bit of oil to prevent sticking (the best way to do this is to pour some oil into the pan and then using a paper towel spread it around while soaking up the extra, you only need a thin, thin layer).

    Turn fire to medium heat, wait until the pan is heated then pour the flour mix into the pan. How much you use each time depends on the size of your pan and how big you want your Jian Bing to end up.

    Tilt the pan in a circle slowly to allow the flour mixture to coat the bottom.

    NOTE: When the mixture is being spread around the pan, look at the edges to determine if the mixture is too thick or thin. The edges should be a solid line, it should not be so thin that you can see the bottom of the pan through it. This will cause the mixture to stick to the pan, even if you used oil, so that when you try to flip it later there’s a good chance it’ll break on you.

    If the mixture is too thick it’ll take a loooong time for the mixture to spread around the pan and if your pan’s big like mine it gets cooked before it has a chance to make a nice, thin layer.

    The perfect mixture will spread easily around the pan yet leaving behind a crisp and solid edge which will curl upwards slightly as it gets cooked, making it easier to slide a spatula under it to flip later on.

    Don’t try and fix it immediately if you find your mixture is either too thick or thin as the next step needs to be done before the food starts burning, but after everything is done adjust the amount of flour and water for the next one. It takes a bit of practice to see if the mixture is just right, usually I use the first one as just a test drive just to try out the mixture, so don’t despair, you’ll get the hang of it after doing this once or twice.

    Wait 20-40 seconds then crack an egg on top.

    Spread the egg around using a spatula or the back of a spoon. If parts of the egg falls off the flour mixture and makes direct contact with the pan that’s ok, just pay attention to that part and be careful it doesn’t burn.

    Wait 1-2 minutes until the egg has more or less solidified and then using a large spatula flip the crepe over.

    Wait 1 minute, then flip the crepe over so that the egg side is up. Using the back of a spoon spread the 2 sauces evenly on the egg layer. Sprinkle with green onions.

    Place a You Tiao/ Chinese Cruller horizontally across the crepe (or two stacks of two fried wonton wrappers, side by side horizontally).

    Fold the top 1/3 of the crepe down over the You Tiao/ Chinese Cruller. Fold the bottom 1/3 of the crepe up over the crepe and cruller.

    Use a spatula and chop the crepe across the middle to break the cruller, then fold in half (if using fried wonton wrappers, just fold in half.)

    Once you get the hang of it it’s pretty easy, and you can add other toppings also, such as sesame seeds, bean sprouts, tomatoes, mushrooms, fried hash brown potatoes, cheese, bacon, sausage, shrimp, etc.

    Another popular recipe uses Black Bean Sauce instead of the TianMianJiang/ Sweet Noodle Sauce and an Asian sweet chili sauce instead of the Black Bean Chili Sauce.
    Other sauces can be used, one should be sweet and the other spicy.

  27. Tony Goode says:

    Egg McMao (Mini Jian Bing (Makes two)

    Crepe Batter:

    2 eggs, beaten
    1/2 cup all purpose white flour or 100% whole wheat flour
    1 cup water
    Pinch of salt

    Combine ingredients into a smooth batter.


    Crepe batter
    1 egg
    2 chopped scallions
    1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
    2 teaspoons black bean chili sauce, or your favorite chili sauce
    2 teaspoons Asian sweet sauce
    4 deep-fried wonton wrappers

    Heat a large, well-oiled skillet. When pan is hot, pour in 1/2-1/3 cup crepe batter and swirl so it covers the bottom of the pan. After a few seconds, crack an egg over the crepe, and spread evenly. When egg is just about set, top with half the scallions and cilantro, chili sauce and sweet sauce to taste, and two wonton wrappers (place these in the middle). Carefully fold the crepe around the wonton wrappers on all four sides and serve.

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