Friday, February 2, 2018

Yù Lán Bĭng

As I mentioned in my last post, I expect to have some big updates on the publishing front in the near future. To celebrate, I thought I'd post a new street food review (that's really why everyone comes here, right? Let's be honest...). Today's spotlight is on Wuxi's yù lán bĭng (玉兰饼): one of my favorite Chinese street foods in the "small snacks" category. Wuxi is so close to Shanghai that it doesn't seem to get the credit it deserves as its own city, but I actually found that some of the food there gave Shanghai cuisine a major run for its money. Yù lán bĭng is a good example of such a dish. The basic description is simple: a fried, hollow ball of glutinous rice is stuffed with a sweet pork meatball. That’s all it is. And yet it is completely delicious.

Simple on the outside

Heaven on the inside 

The glutinous rice ball is fried to a crisp golden brown on the outside wall, while the interior wall is left white and sticky. The pork meatball inside is mildly sweet (some vendors' recipes include rosewater!) and succulent—very juicy. A lot of meat-in-dough foods in China end up with the stuffing clinging pretty closely to the casing, but in the case of yù lán bĭng the pork and the rice are distinct from one another. Like two nesting dolls, the meatball just sits inside of the glutinous rice ball. This unassuming little street food is oily, sweet, chewy, and meaty, just bursting with juice and flavor. Buy yourself one or two or ten—you won’t regret it.


Foley said...

I could snack on that all day.

Gianni said...

Got to at least try one.


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