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World Jianbing Day 2020 is happening on Thursday

Untour Food Tour has cranked up the volume on its annual celebration of this OG street snack

Photograph: courtesy UnTour Food Tours
The world of Chinese food is vast and deep, but if there's one street snack to rule them all, it's *quite possibly* the jianbing. Controversial, maybe, but people's love for them runs DEEP. Usually described as a savoury breakfast crepe that originated in northeast China, the basic template for a jianbing is a thin pancake made of batter that can vary between millet, mung bean, purple rice and more, spread with an egg and topped with tianmianjiang (fermented soybean paste), chilli sauce, green onion, coriander and either baocui (a crispy wonton-like cracker) or youtiao (a chewy fried cruller). Depending on your vibe, you can level them up from there with additions like pickled vegetables, extra eggs and various meat products. While it originated in northeast China, jianbing fever spread across the country and in recent years, you can find deluxe versions with unorthodox filings in cities like London and New York.

Shanghai-based Untour Food Tours has declared April 30 each year World Jianbing Day. Last year was the inaugural celebration, with a social media campaign to share pictures with the hashtags #worldjianbingday and tag @untourfoodtours, an international jianbing locator and a competition to win a year's worth of jianbing. Homeslice even launched a one-day special, the Jianbing Pizza.

Spread the Bagel Jianbing
Photograph: courtesy Untour Food Tours (NYC Deconstructed Jianbing Bagel)

This year, Untour is amping things up quite a bit, with the theme of Quaranbing: 'a jianbing that has been procured via alternate methods and under difficult circumstances during this "special time"'. There's still an online photo competition – win a jianbing making kit and jianbing blanket (both also available for purchase) as well as a digital Chinese cookbook, a compilation of greatest hits from their tours with recipes developed by staff and street vendors along Untour's routes – but you can also sign up for a jianbing cooking class (390RMB per person) on Thursday 30 and Saturday 3 May or eat jianbing-themed dishes from nine restaurants around the city.

Here's what they've got on, inexactly listed from the weird and wildest to more normcore interpretations...

Jianbing as a cookie?! Yes, that's right. This jianbing cookie (22RMB) has an egg and wheat flour base with a spread of savoury jianbing sauce, topped with crumbled crunchy wonton crackers and coriander, then finished with an egg yolk and chili glaze.
Thu 30. Available in-store and via delivery.

It's back. Last year's special jianbing pizza (15RMB slice, 55RMB 12-in, 80RMB 16-in, 120RMB 20-in) returns with sourdough crust, topped with tianmianjiang, cheese and egg, then sprinkled with pickled mustard greens, coriander and green onions. Choose to add different crunchy toppings and, for an extra charge, optional add-ons like ham, mortadella and pork floss.
Thu 30. Available at all locations (Found 158, Zhongshan Park, Xujiahui) and via delivery all day long.

Spread the Bagel
A bagel x jianbing mash-up for your pleasure – Spread the Bagel's NYC Deconstructed Jianbing Bagel (60RMB) is an open-faced everything bagel topped with candied spicy bacon, sriracha cream cheese and a sunny side up egg, garnished with green onions, coriander and garlic chilli pepper sauce. The other half of the bagel is served as bagel chips with a green onion and sour cream cheese dip.
Thu 30-Sun 3 May. Available in-store and via delivery.

Get jianbing French toast (60RMB with ham, 45RMB vegetarian) at the sunny breakfast joint and café. It's triple-stacked white toast dipped in an eggy cream batter, topped with French-style ham, roasted peanuts, zhacai pickles, a crispy wafer, tianmianjiang, coriander, scallions, fried egg and house-made chilli oil.
Thu 30. Available all day.

Ever wanted an OT, ultra-luxe jianbing rendition? Austin Hu is serving up the Shanghai Fu Er Dai Luxe Jianbing for 888RMB – multigrain chive crepe wrapped around a salad of crabmeat, creme fraiche and fine herbs, topped with sourdough bread tuile, and finished with 'an obscene dollop' of sturgeon caviar.
Thu 30-Thu 7 May. Available all day.

The wine bar and kitchen will be serving roasted pork neck (88RMB) with a Northern-style laobing and roast chilli mojo as well as a pork belly vindaloo (128RMB) with kaffir leaf and bahn xeo (Vietnamese wraps).
Thu 30. Dinner only.

The nouveau taco eatery is turning out Mexican-inspired jianbing (55RMB) with chicharonnes, Mexican chilli paste, steak asado, mozzarella cheese, a fried egg, barbecue sauce, coriander and green onions.
Thu 30. Available all day (Xuhui, Jingan).

Papito Pancakes
The Serbian street-style eatery will be slinging a Palačinka Jianbing (48RMB), an East-meets-West interpretation with egg, cheese, ham, green salad, roasted paprika and jianbing crisp. Soft drink included.
Thu 30. Available all day.

Jingan neighbourhood bar Perch will have a 48RMB jianbing interpretation with prosciutto, coriander, tianmianjiang, green onions, tomato, a dash of mustard and 'puffy bread' wrapped inside a corn flour bing.
Thu 30. Available all day.

Get more details, book the jianbing making class or nab some jianbing swag over on the Untour Food Tours World Jianbing Day website.

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