Thursday, August 2, 2012

You Xuan

Sometimes the simplest foods are the best foods. Simple foods don't pretend to be anything they are not. They offer great tastes for limited effort or cost. One super example of a simple food is the You Xuan (油旋) in Jinan.

This unassuming pancake is much tastier than you might guess based on its appearance. The dough is made of flour and lard, with a couple of spring onions thrown in for flavor. The vendor rolls it out into a tube, then coils it up into a spiral and flattens it out on a griddle over an open flame. It gets fried on both sides and then toasted a bit next to a fire inside like this:

The final product is a slightly salty coiled pancake, crispy and golden on the outside, warm and doughy on the inside. Because the dough was coiled rather than balled, the crisp edges are not limited to the shell, but follow the outline of the spiral right to the center—a perfect ratio. It's such a simple product, but it really hits the spot, especially if you're the type of person who gets cravings for oily, salty snacks such as potato chips. You shouldn't pay more than about 2 or 3 RMB for one pancake. Definitely worth it for this tasty snack.


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