As a person who loves to eat, I love that there’s always an excuse to do so here in China. This time, it’s the changing of seasons. And the arrival of spring means it’s the perfect time to eat 春饼, or Spring Pancakes!
I got the idea while reading this article from the Beijinger on where to eat Spring Pancakes. And so along with my younger daughter and a friend, we tried one of the places mentioned in the article. We decided to pay 姥姥家春饼店’s (Grandma’s Spring Pancakes’) Sanyuanqiao branch a visit.
Laolao Jia Chunbing Dian is a local chain specializing in, you guessed it, spring pancakes. We got there at around 11AM. At the time there were only three tables occupied on my floor and zero on the second floor. My friend arrived half an hour later to discover that there was already a long queue!
She immediately sprang into action, ordering dishes from the only-Chinese menu that I could not understand. For those with spectacular Chinese (or enough Chinese to understand this menu anyway), here it is:
The process is easy enough. First, you choose a wrapper. There are two choices: the 春饼 (Spring Pancake) and the 筋饼 (Gluten Pancake). Then choose one dish from each of these categories: Egg (蛋）, Meat（肉）, Vegetables（菜）, Onion （葱） and then Sauce（酱）(this is a recommended procedure, not required.). When the food arrives, give each of the (older) kids their own wrapper, let them choose what dishes they want to put in, and then start rolling! Think of it as a DIY Chinese burrito!
But of course, there’s bound to be some waiting. It took between five to fifteen minutes for our orders to arrive, so pass the time by suggesting that the children pay the unsuspecting goldfishes at the aquarium by the cashier counter a visit. Follow the fishies, kids. Follow ’em left and right.
My daughter was extremely excited when the food finally came out, and so I picked her up and plopped her in her high chair. She still being a wee little toddler, I figured half a spring pancake wrapper would suffice. I was reaching with my own chopsticks to put some veges on her wrapper when she suddenly attacked at the meat with her own chopsticks. She knew what her mother was about to do again.
“Veges first,” I told her. “We need to put veges.”
“Together!” she said. “Together!”
Together here means eighty percent meat, twenty percent vegetables.
Oh well. At least she’s being independent!
Laolaojia Chunbing Dian’s (姥姥家春饼店) Sanyuanqiao branch is located at Sān yuán xi qiáo qī shèng nánlù xī bà hé nánlù jiāochā kǒu (三元西桥七圣南路西坝河南路交叉口) and can be reached at 13366626996. If you’re thinking of commuting there, I recommend taking a cab.
P.S. If you’re like me with so-so Chinese, here are some pictures of the food via Dianping that you can tell the fuwuyuan what you want for your meal.
Photos: Jackie Park