Jianbing of Mr. Bing attracts New Yorkers
|4月20日，在美国纽约中城的范德比尔特美食集市，老金在店里制作煎饼。[新华社 王迎 摄]
Brian Goldberg makes Jianbing at the kiosk of Mr. Bing in UrbanSpace food court in New York, the United States, April 20, 2017. (Xinhua/Wang Ying)
UrbanSpace in midtown New York is a place white-collars come for lunch during their workdays. For the past a few months, customers have always lined up before a kiosk under a banner with Chinese characters. What this kiosk sells is a very authentic Chinese food in north China -- Jianbing, or the Chinese crepe.
The kiosk is branded "Mr. Bing", and is owned by Brian Goldberg, who is born and raised in New York. Goldberg is very involved with Chinese culture: he was a Chinese major back in college in Boston, and studied in China 20 years ago.
"When I went to China, I just love Jianbing so much, it tastes so good, the texture is so good, it is hot, it's fresh, it's customizable, they make it how you like it. When I come back to America, you can't find it. So if you like something and you can't get it, what you do? You make it!" said Goldberg.
Goldberg's Jianbing plan is not a whim. It was the theme of his business plan when he was a MBA in Columbia University, Goldberg's Chinese Crepe. As a student, though he didn't have enough funds to proceed. It was until five years ago that he made the first step in Hong Kong.
To open the Hong Kong shop, Goldberg spent many weekends flying back and forth from Beijing, Tianjin, and Shandong Province, the origins of Chinese Jianbing. After tasting tons, he fixated on one kiosk in Beijing, Xiaoyan Jianbing, whose chef offered to teach him and his Hong Kong employees the recipe. In Hong Kong, Mr. Bing was a blast, but Goldberg always thought of going back home. Two years ago, he moved back to New York and put himself into his Jianbing shop, opening pop-ups across New York to see how customers like it.
Selling Jianbing to New Yorkers is surely not the same with selling them to Chinese. To cater to the taste of Americans, Goldberg applied several changes to the recipe after trial and errors. The Jianbing as you see today at Mr. Bing's is a revised version: fried wonton skin is used to replace dough stick, and a signature Chinese spicy source instead of fermented bean curd, and there is meat, which Americans love. According to Goldberg, the best-selling flavors are Peking duck and the original.
Apart from the UrbanSpace kiosk, Goldberg is also planning on opening another two, in Chelsea and Flatiron separately. Even with one storefront, Goldberg is selling hundreds of Jianbing each day. He is confident this Chinese snack can be something, "Anyway, Americans didn't know much about sushi or burritos back twenty years," Goldberg said, "And they are having them all the time." The great goal of Goldberg is bringing Jianbing to the world and establishing his own signature brand with Mr. Bing.