Food Truck: The Flying Pig
Sighting: 47th and Park
One thing I’ve always found unique about New York and authentic, long-time New Yorkers is that we all come from different cultures and backgrounds, but rather than letting it tear us apart (despite the best efforts of politicians on both sides of the political spectrum), we can come together in one shared identity as New Yorkers while at the same time sharing of the best of our respective cultures with each other. Sometimes it seems to be that more can be accomplished for international diplomacy and understanding at 48th and Park than can be accomplished 5 avenues to the east.
The Flying Pig Jianbing introduces New Yorkers to a popular street food in China called Jian Bing Guo Zi (煎饼果子/煎餅果子) which is eaten for breakfast in the morning as well as as a snack throughout the day. It originated from the city of Tianjing in northeastern China, but can be found in just about every city in northern China.
I never quite like it when people use words like “crepe” or “tortilla” or “burrito” to describe Asian dishes, because all of those words have connotations that have little to do with the Chinese word for “pancake”, or 饼/餅. But of course like all those things, the Jian Bing Guo Zi consists of goodies enclosed in a an outer wrapping for convenient eating.
The Flying Pig’s Jianbing starts with a flour and egg batter that makes up the outer pancake. They then line it with crispy wontons to give it a delightful flavor and crunch.
You can choose from a number of fillings for an additional $2.50 each; I asked the nice young lady at the window which the most popular was and she said it was the sausage; I was expecting a bit more of an Asian flair, but it ended up tasting a lot like chorizo. There’s also scallions and hoisin sauce, and the whole thing is folded over a few times.
The result was just a delightful mix of flavors and textures. The portion size is huge, like an overstuffed sandwich. If there’s one thing that might be off-putting to some, it’s that the Jianbing is very, very thick and doughy; this is actually quote normal in Northern China cuisine, mainly because it’s so darned cold up there most of the year.
There are reports of people waiting long blocks of time, but maybe because I went later in the afternoon (around 2), I got my food almost right away.
Friendly service, a unique kind of street food, and did I mention the most adorable food truck in Manhattan?
Definitely worth a try.
4 of 5 stars
Price I paid: $9.50
Tricks for fast ordering: This is not rocket science. Order the Beijing Original Vegetarian for $7.00 and add a topping or two for an additional $2.50.
What to order if you’re a newbie: Jianbing with Chorizo
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