New Flavour at Mr. Bing? Taste of Beijing has Arrived!
Yesterday we went to our friend, Brian’s, new Mr. Bing jianbing shop to taste test a new jianbing flavour. Ever since I first tried Mr. Bing, I’ve been bugging Brian about adding chive flower paste (韭菜花) to the menu of condiments, because it is a quintessential element in Beijing jianbing culture.
Chive flower paste can be described as a kind of Chinese ‘pesto’ made with crushed chive flower buds and salt. What results is a garlicky, and incredibly pungent enticement. I’ve never seen chive flower pastes being sold in Hong Kong, and my grandma usually makes the whole family precious jars of this every summer when chive flowers are in season. We treasure it like gold and scoop out tiny portions of it to go with our hotpot or dumpling condiments as reminders of our hometown when we are far away.
On this recent trip back to Beijing for Chinese New Year, I combed through local supermarkets for this decidedly northern delicacy and came back armed with 2 brands of the murky green concoction, one of which is from our very famous pickle house 六必居.
I brought over these babies to Brian’s Mr. Bing shop and we eagerly opened both bottles to compare the flavours.
Chive flower paste is notoriously salty (it helps with the preservation) and we decided to slightly dilute the sauce with water before brushing it on the sample jianbing.
(Below) Our sample jianbing, with me demanding for 2 eggs!
Brian brushed the sample with a plethora of sauces – chilli, sweet sauce, fermented tofu and (the new addition) chive flower paste.
Verdict: The chive flower paste definitely adds a powerful garlicky, savoury edge to the jianbing. However, because we added every sauce available, it was a bit too salty, so the conclusion is for the chive flower paste to be paired only with the sweet sauce, with the possibility of additional chilli sauce.
Brian still needs to find a mass supplier for this sauce as it is not available in Hong Kong, but we hope to see this on Mr. Bing’s menu in the near future. Perhaps with my last name in front – Hu Bing? hahaha *hint hint*