Friday, April 11, 2008

Another one bites the dust

As if it's not bad enough that favourite shops and restaurants keep disappearing overnight (victims of Beijing's relentless modernization: either smashed by the bulldozer, or forced out by spiralling rent increases), the same is happening to my favourite snack stalls.

There was a great little hole-in-the-wall on my street when I first moved in here that did a couple of fried pancakey snacks I've never encountered anywhere else: a spinach-filled pattie, and a long strudel-like thing with spiced minced meat and onions inside. It was for a while my favourite lunch venue, but, alas, it soon disappeared (I mean, really, disappeared: it vanished so suddenly and so completely that I struggled to remember exactly where it had been; it was as though the place had never existed!).

My next favourite snack food in this neighbourhood is a large, round, flat pancake filled with minced lamb and chives. You buy it in quarters or eighths, like slices of pizza (although, since I am very bad with fractions in Chinese, they often con me into taking a full half of one, which is way too much). They're greasy as hell, but a tasty and filling mini-meal for just a few kuai. They're popular with Chinese punters too: there's always a gaggle of people queueing impatiently at the stall around 6pm, and the cook struggles to turn them out fast enough. Again, this is a unique treat: I've never seen anything quite the same anywhere else. And I have, alas, never gathered if there's any special name for it - all snacks of this type just seem to go under the generic label of bing.

Anyway, I hadn't had a slice of this for quite some time, and was starting to develop a real craving for it. I thought it would be an ideal quick fix for me last night, since the stall was on the way to the 6pm class I had to teach nearby. But guess what - the stall had disappeared. Well, the tiny shop it used to operate out of is still there, but that particular snack is no longer on offer. I have no idea if the meat pancake girls were just one of a number of snack concessions sharing this small space, or if it's a single business..... and they just decided to take the top-selling item off the menu. That's the kind of thing they do here from time to time, just to piss me off.

Teaching on an empty stomach - not good.


Tulsa said...

stuffed, buttery, flaky, flatbread... sounds like it has potential...

I specifically did not by X product when I was in the states last month because my Beijing Walmart carries loads of it.

I went to Walmart last week and learned that they have discontinued that X product.


Froog said...

How do they always know what it is you most want, and then scratch that one item? It's uncanny!