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Shanghai Street Food #36 Big CrispyPancakes: Dabing 大饼

For many people, dabing 大饼 is their first introduction to Chinese street food. And what a great place to start!
 
A huge round of flaky bread, leavened or unleavened, dabing is cooked in a contraption that looks like a giant waffle maker, leaving it oil-crisp on the outside and flaky, chewy and soft within. Dabing are always savoury – topped with white sesame seeds and green scallions; or brushed with a red, spicy, garlicky sauce made from pixian soy bean paste.

Bing 饼 is an all-encompassing word describing any food that is flat and round. The fine wheat pancakes used to eat Peking Duck are bing, the small flaky scallion filled pastries of Shanghai are bing, and moon cakes, whether savoury or sweet, are also bing. The word isn’t exclusive to Chinese foods either – French crepes, pizzas, and tortillas are all types of bing. Da bing 大饼 (big bing) simply refers to a large flat round.
Da bing are eaten at any time of day as a snack, but in Shanghai they are one of the ‘Four Kings of Breakfast’, the other being deep fried dough sticks (youtiao); sticky rice balls filled with salted egg, pork, and pickles (cifan); and fresh soy milk (doujiang).
To buy dabing, simply nominate a monetary amount – one yuan, two yuan, and so on, and the vendor will cut up a triangular slice for you of the correct weight.
Dabing vendor with folded dabing ready for sale – plain on the left, spiced on the right
Leavened dabing with sesame and scallions

Dabing cooking in the bing-maker
Flaky unleavened dabing with spiced soybean and garlic sauce
Shanghai Street Foods – The Complete Guide:
Number 1   Roast Sweet Potatoes
Number 2   Snack-on-a-stick 
Number 3   Liangpi – a spicy cold noodle dish
Number 4   Langzhou Lamian – hand-pulled noodles
Number 5   Cong You Bing – fried shallot pancakes
Number 6   Baozi – steamed buns, Shanghai style
Number 7   Jian Bing – the famous egg pancake
Number 8   Dan Gao – street cakes
Number 9   Shao mai – sticky rice treats
Number 10  Summer on a Stick – fresh fruits
 
Number 11  You Tiao – deep-fried breadsticks
Number 12  Dan Juan – egg rolls
Number 13  Shao Kao – street barbecue
Number 14  Bao Mi Hua – exploding rice flowers
Number 15  Chou Doufu – stinky tofu
Number 16  Bing Tang Shan Zha – crystal sugar hawthorns
Number 17  Mutton Polo
Number 18  Yumi Bang – puffed corn sticks
Number 19  Mian Hua Tang – cotton candy
Number 20  You Dunzi – fried radish cakes
 
Number 21  Suzhou Shi Yue Bing – homestyle mooncakes 
Number 22  Gui Hua Lian’ou – honeyed lotus root stuffed with sticky rice
Number 23  Cong You Ban Mian – scallion oil noodles
Number 24  Guotie – potsticker dumplings
Number 25  Nuomi Cai Tou – fried clover pancakes
Number 26  Da Bing, Shao Bing – sesame breakfast pastries
Number 27  Ci Fan – sticky rice breakfast balls
Number 28  Gui Hua Gao – steamed osmanthus cake
Number 29  Zongzi – bamboo leaf wrapped sticky rice
Number 30  Shengjianbao – pan-fried dumplings
 
Number 31  Mala Tang – DIY spicy soup
Number 32  Salt and Pepper Fried Chicken
Number 33  San Xian Doupi – Three Delicacies Wrapped in Tofu Skin

Number 34  Jidan Bing – savoury egg puffs
Number 35  Shiliu Zhi – Fresh pomegranate juice
Number 36  Dabing – big crispy pancakes