So I went along again with Hub on his latest China business trip. Our hosts, who have been our export agents for over 10 years, so graciously entertained us. Because it was a strictly business trip, dinners and massages were our pinaka-leisure time. (Oh, the massages are for another blog post!)
The humble, unassuming shao bing (read “shao ping” without the air sound on “p”… If you studied Han Yu Pinyin, you know what I’m talking about. :D)
On our last eve, our hosts brought us to a restaurant that still cooks shao bing the traditional way: on the inside-side of a barrel oven (<– my own term, I do not know what they call it). They said it was one of the local special delicacies.
Shao bing is a common Chinese bread or biscuit that is filled with something either savory or sweet. The shao bing of Zhejiang province (where we went) is usually savory, stuffed with ground pork and leeks and wonderful spices. I remember now that on my first trip here, I had another version of shao bing for breakfast. That one seemed fried as it was quite greasy.
This shao bing had thin dough and wasn’t greasy.
There doesn’t seem anything out of the ordinary when I saw the shao bing. It tasted yummy, of course. But the way it’s made piqued my curiosity. I wanted to see that barrel oven! So they asked the head waitress to bring me and hub to the kitchen to see how the Chinese biscuits are made.
We were led to the kitchen downstairs where a fresh batch of shao bing was being prepared.
Rounded dough pieces are filled with meat mixture, flattened and topped with sesame seeds.
It’s not the most hygienic kitchen, I knoooooow. LOL.
And then the exciting part – sticking the dough inside the barrel!
See the red glow from the fire? This guy must have asbestos hands to tolerate reaching inside! He dips his hand in the bowl of water so that must help a bit.
It only takes a few minutes for the shao bing to turn from that (above) to this (below)…
The dough starts to rise and puff…
Kuya shao bing maker made it look so easy. But it obviously isn’t. I had an all-new respect for the humble, unassuming Chinese biscuit after seeing how it was made.