THE EGG-PANCAKE WRAP THINGY
You know the drill: it’s breakfast time again and your greasy cupboards are, as always, depressingly empty.You don’t really feel like a baozi because you had one of those yesterday. So…what then? Determined to avoid getting a yet another lukewarm McDonald sausage McMuffin delivered into your gaping cake-hole you decide to hit the streets in search of sustenance, spice, sausage and any other ’S’ words that can be clumsily shoe-horned into this sentence.Then, in a moment of divine inspiration, you remember that portly guy dressed in a putrid yellow smock who makes that eggy slop on the corner of you block. Normally you pass by the guy in a show of deplorable laowai snootiness, but today you figured you may as well give his wares a sample. I mean, what’s the worse that could happen…? It’s a familiar tale I’m sure, and one that - for me at least - always ends in, if not exactly ecstasy, then at least a sense of vague contentment and a reasonably full belly.Yes, as it turns out, that the Man in Yellow can actually knock up a pretty decent egg-pancake wrap thingy in spite of his limited resources and fairly grim looking street-side ‘workspace’. First he spreads a hearty dollop of doughy gloop onto his circular hot-plate and commences to expertly spread said gloop into a pleasingly gloopy moon-like circle. Next comes the egg, the dish’s centrepiece, which he cracks in the middle of the quickly hardening gloop (like a boss) and does his magic-circle-making trick again.With the basics out of the way the man then concentrates on the garnish, which comes in the form of some salty pickled vegetables and some of that legendary powder that no self-respecting street vendor can possibly live without. “La bu la?!” Egg Man shouts in my general direction. “Lade!” I respond triumphantly - ‘cause I like my breakfast to have some kick, you feel me? Accordingly the Egg Man proceeds with the spicy sauce adding ceremony, which I witness with the respect and reverence this spectacle demands. The icing on the cake, or the sausage on the egg as the case may be, is either an inexplicably donuty stick (no thanks) or one of those 1RMB sausages that you strangely develop a taste for the longer you live in China, regardless of the fact that you acknowledge their inherent filthiness. Opting for the sausage , my egg-pancake wrap thingy was dumped brutally into a tiny plastic bag and, after handing over my 4.5RMB, it was mine to cherish forever - or for at least the 3 minutes or so that it took me to feverishly devour it en-route to the office. It may not be pretty, it may not be chic, and it may be one of the most unglamorous snacks that the mainland has to offer, but if you’re in a rush, hungover or depressed, the egg-pancake wrap thingy may just be the breakfast you were looking for. Or not.