Saturday, 9 July 2016
Famous Shanghai Street Food - My Favourite Street Bread 公婆饼 JK1538
Despite breakneck speed redevelopment that has paved over many old food streets with glittering glass towers, Shanghai is still a street food haven. I love the street breads of Shanghai and my favourite is 公婆饼 or literally "parents-in-laws bread".
In Shanghai, I like breads made with portable coal fired street ovens or tandoors. There are many different types of traditional tandoor baked breads on Shanghai's busy streets.
On a side note, I generally avoid oil fried breads as I feel they often sponge up too much grease. I am also wary about the quality of the oil used to fry the bread.
Back to 公婆饼 which is a freshly made and baked bread.
I love 公婆饼 because it is thin and crispy, and in the slightly chewy bread there is minced meat and vegetables. It's flavour is mildly savoury sweet. The sesame seeds outside give it a little nutty taste. If you like a bit of spiciness (as many locals do), the stall holder will brush on a thin layer of chili oil at your request. A big piece of deliciousness like this costs RMB3 to RMB3.5. 公婆饼 fits in nicely between lunch and dinner.
I like foods that have a story 😆
According to the legend written on the back of this brown paper wrapper, during the Qing dynasty, a rich family was about to receive a daughter-in-law into the family.
Following the family custom, as an "entrance test", the prospective daughter-in-law has to make food for the entire family and their multitude of servants.
The father-in-law sent the daughter-in-law twenty taels of wheat flour, a little corn, and some condiments. (A tael is 50 grams.) The father-in-law's orders were to make breakfast for his ten sons, their wives and children with these ingredients.
It was no mean feat to feed over 100 people with just twenty taels (1 kg) of wheat flour. But the clever daughter-in-law created the thin and crispy 公婆饼 which is tasty and filling, and was gladly accepted into the family 👏
To this day, 公婆饼 is enjoyed all over China as a popular street food. The wheat flour dough is made right there at the little 公婆饼 stalls.
A handful of minced meat, preserved vegetables, seeds and spices is pressed into a ball of flour dough.
The flour dough with the fillings is rolled thin and flat, and given a light brush of oil.
The dough is then slapped onto the side of the volcano hot tandoor to bake till browned and crisp.
👍 When you are in Shanghai, do look out for 公婆饼 parents-in-law bread. They are inexpensive, delicious and healthy. You get a taste of Chinese culinary history too 😋
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