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What Is a Chinese Pancake?

By Janis Adams
Updated Feb 19, 2024
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A Chinese pancake is an unleavened pancake served as part of traditional Chinese cuisine. These pancakes differ from their Western counterpart in that they are made from a very thin dough rather than a batter. Chinese pancakes are made from both wheat and rice flour. The choice of the flour used to make them is largely dependent on what they will be used for or what type of dish they will be served with. A common characteristic of all Chinese pancakes is that they are unleavened and quite thin, regardless of the type of flour that is used as their base.

Most Chinese pancakes are savory in flavor. Some have a sweetness to them, however. Those with the sweetened flavoring are more similar in taste and texture to the French crepe.

Chinese pancakes are traditionally fried or cooked on a stove in a pan. They are not often baked. This cooking technique is employed regardless of the type of pancake that is being made.

When a Chinese pancake is made with wheat flour, it is called a bing. These types of pancakes are savory. The bing pancake, which is round in shape, is served with Peking duck and moo shoo pork. Before filling the pancake, it is slathered with sauce, either sweet bean or hoisin. The pancake, covered with sauce, is then filled with either Peking duck or moo shoo pork and is wrapped so that the filling does not fall out when hand eaten. Although these tend to be the post popular dishes served with the bing pancake, there are many other meat and vegetable combinations that are added to the Chinese pancake and served in homes and restaurants.

Popular as a side dish is the luo buo si bing. This type of pancake is made from wheat flour and is then fried. After frying, it is filled with a spicy shredded radish.

A breakfast food, the Chinese pancake known as the jian bing is made from an egg dough. The jian bing is often served by street vendors on corners throughout cities in China. This type of pancake is fried and eaten while it is piping hot.

These type of pancakes are a popular offering within Chinese cuisine, no matter whether they are filled or eaten hot from the skillet in which they are cooked. They are a common food served at festivals and gatherings.

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Discussion Comments

By Pippinwhite — On Feb 06, 2014

The Chinese restaurants around here sort of cop out with their pancakes for their moo shu pork. They use flour tortillas instead of homemade pancakes. They're not nearly as good as the homemade pancakes we got maybe 20 years ago. This is kind of surprising since these are all family-owned places, not chain restaurants.

I've had the real homemade Chinese pancakes and they were really good. They were tender and really complimented the dish -- almost like a French crepe. I used to get moo shu pork fairly often when the pancakes were homemade, but I don’t get it anymore, much. I miss the homemade pancakes.

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