It's one of the most popular street foods in northern China, and now the jian bing (Chinese crepe) is proving one of the most popular street foods in Wellington, too — thanks to Mr. Circle, a jian bing stall in Capital Market (Willis St side). They have outposts at the Friday and Saturday night markets on Cuba as well as the occasional waterfront market on a Sunday morning.
So let's talk about the jian bing — what exactly is it? Twirled into creation on a swirling hot plate in front of your eyes, it starts with a savoury Chinese crepe mixture, spread into a circle on the hotplate. That's where the parallels to any crepe you've ever eaten stops. An egg is then cracked onto the crepe and spread over the surface, before dropping finely sliced spring onion and black sesame seeds on to stick to the egg and cooking all of them into the crepe. The crepe is flipped, filled with black sesame sauce, vegetables, saucy pork belly or chicken (or you can go for a vege option) and crispy shards of fried crackers.
First of all, we have to note that this is a textural delight. The soft crepe with the crunch of the fried crackers and the fresh vegetables with that saucy sesame flavour is the perfect lunch or dinner. It's not the worst street food option you could eat if you're thinking healthily, either.
The stall at the market is fast and efficient, and you can either keep walking on with it or take a seat inside the market for lunch or dinner. It's reasonably priced at $8 for a vege crepe and $11-12 for the meat option. This is the only place in Wellington you can find jian bing — well worth seeking out.