Mr. Bing's Jianbing pop-up in NYC

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Added On April 2, 2016

Jianbing, which is roughly equivalent to a French crepe, is a popular street food in China. 

 
Half way across the globe, when New York is still in its chilly early spring, an American is sprinkling the seeds for this, as he puts it, "comfort food" ?
 
Lifestyle has the story. 
 
Pour a thin lsyer of batter, spread evenly; crack an egg, crush and spread; sprinkle some sesame, and scallion; flip, put on the sauce you like, then cilantro leaves and fried wonton skin. And Bing! Your jianbing is ready.
 
This is Mr. Bing’s Jianbing pop up.
 
SOUNDBITE: BRIAN GOLDBERG, Founder of Mr. Bing
"I was a student studying Chinese, majored Chinese in college. And I studied abroad in China, in Harbin and Beijing, I ate the Jianbing every day, for breakfast, sometimes lunch and dinner. I just really love it."
 
Back when Goldberg was a student in Columbia University, he used to write a paper talking about a plan to open a jianbing shop in New York. 
 
That was 15 years ago. 
 
And in the years after, he had been living in different places in Asia.
Goldberg opened a jianbing shop in Hong Kong, before he put his final plan into practice.
 
SOUNDBITE: BRIAN GOLDBERG, Founder of Mr. Bing
"It’s more unique here, nobody is really doing it here, and I think Americans, the New Yorkers are always looking for something new, especially they are more familiar with original Chinese food, and Jianbing is northern Chinese favorite. You have Xi’an Famous Foods now, specialized in westernized Chinese food. There are some things in China they don’t know about yet, like Jianbing."
 
SOUNDBITE: BRIAN GOLDBERG, Founder of Mr. Bing
"Jianbing is a comfort food, New York has cold weather, four seasons, changing weather, Jianbing’s good for this kind of climate. And I think there is a bigger foodie culture here, like Instagram, foodie culture, YouTube culture, people are always telling stories about food and people starting businesses."
 
The authentic Beijing-style jianbing is something Mr. Goldberg makes sure to be on his menu. Apart from that, there are more, including pork flavor, duck flavor and chicken flavor. 
 
He even comes up with a Nutella jianbing, something more like western crepe. 
 
But foodies can expect more.
 
SOUNDBITE: BRIAN GOLDBERG, Founder of Mr. Bing
"So you can do a Kobe beef, you can do ginger scallion chicken, even the General Tso’s chicken, you can chop it up in small pieces and put it inside, it’s very nice, you know, you can be very creative with it."
 
SOUNDBITE: VIVIAN, Customer
"It’s crunchy inside, really flavourful."
 
SOUNDBITE: DAVE, Customer
"It’s really good, it’s kind of a Chinese take on a traditional French crepe, it also kinds of reminds me of the crunch ice cream, because it has crunchy pieces inside of a soft shell. I think it’s delicious, we had the duck one and the plain one."
 
The pop up, open for the latter part of March, is closing on March 31. And Goldberg is planning to continue his jianbing career by selling at a permanent location. For him, making Jianbing is not just about the food itself.
 
SOUNDBITE: BRIAN GOLDBERG, Founder of Mr. Bing
"And it’s fun making a Jianbing, it’s like a dance. When you are making it, it’s like a dance; you play the music, talking to the customer. I love telling my customers stories about the Jianbing history, where it comes from, how it was invented and why it became so popular, why we as student in China, why we eat it all the time.  It’s a very good feeling for me, it makes so many people happy to give them this food that they miss so much. But yes, teaching new people about it, it’s very cool, it’s really cool."