Chinese make wheaten food by steaming, boiling and baking. Varieties are in the thousands. Originally, the term bing referred to all of them, but now exclusively to crepes and pancakes. Lots of Chinese pancakes have their cultural references. Zhima shaobing (sesame cake), first introduced from Central Asia during the Tang dynasty, frequents breakfast tables in Beijing, Tianjin and Xi’an. Tuotuomu, a namesake of the Arabic turml’ (food), constitutes the famed yangrou paomu (bing crumps in mutton soup), another Xi’an specialty. The well-known laopobing (wife’s cake) was said to originate from a baker’s wife.
The Shangdong jianbing, a crisp crepe served with scallion, was allegedly the creation of a pretty girl trying to save her poor love despised by her snobbish stepmother. Confining the lad to a study, the stepmother provided him with nothing but stationery, as he had modestly requested, hoping that starvation would make him quit. But instead she found him well sustained by the girl’s crepes and scallions passing for paper and pen. Behind yuebing (moon cake), a food for the Mid-Autumn Festival, was a lass ascending to the moon. Yuebing is a big business in China and in other Asian countries, including Taiwan and Hong Kong, with the Guangdong style the most popular. Laobing, a cake baked on a thick iron pan called cheng, served with fried egg, is a favourite jiachangcai (see home cooking) in north China. Congyoubing (cake baked with scallion and lard) proves even more appealing. A few more bing samples are Jiangsu’s huangqiao shaobing, Shanghai’s xiekehuang and Tianjin’s jianbing guozi.
See also: noodles

Encyclopedia of contemporary Chinese culture. . 2011.

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