A former investment banker is hoping diners and late-night bar hoppers will drop the familiar comfort hot dogs and pizza slices for jianbing, a Chinese street food.
Brian Goldberg, the founder of Mr. Bing, is opening the second permanent location of his restaurant at 115 St. Marks Place, where customers can get a taste of the flavorful Chinese crepes. Jianbing — or bing — are savory pancakes made with mung bean flour, rice flour, scrambled eggs, scallions, sesame seeds, hoisin sauce, cilantro and crunchy wontons. After being cooked on a grill, the bings are stuffed with either duck, chicken, pork or kimchee and then folded into a sandwich.
Goldberg, who was born and raised in New York, fell in love with the street food as a student in China during the late ’90s.
“Every day outside of our dorm room there was this lady selling jianbing and I just fell in love with it,” Goldberg said. “That’s when I came up with the idea of bringing it to the United States and hopefully one day it’s as common as burritos or sushi.”
The dream may not be as crazy as it sounds. As Grub Street noted last year, when a handful of vendors launched, “New York’s jian biang field could finally be heating up.”
After spending more than a dozen years living in Singapore, Taiwan or Hong Kong, Goldberg moved back to New York in 2015 to open Mr. Bing.
After beginning with pop-up restaurants, Mr. Bing opened the first permanent location in January of this year in midtown Manhattan. Items on the menu range from $4 for a pickled cucumber side salad to $15 for a bing stuffed with Peking duck.
The St. Marks location has already quietly opened and will have its grand opening on October 14, during which 100 free bings will be given away to the first 100 customers. Hours are Sunday to Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Thursday to Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.