What is it?
Bing bread, or shaobing, is a delicious flaky flatbread that is set to take over all our pastry cravings. It’s often made with a little bit of sesame paste to help make layers, and looks a bit like a squashed bagel without the hole, though is often compared more to pancakes or tortillas.
Why haven’t I heard of it until now?
Though a staple for breakfast and lunch in China – especially stuffed with delicious meat or fillings pancake-like – shoabing hasn’t made it very far outside its homeland. Chicago seems to be leading the way with this trend, but its time the rest of the world caught on too.
It’s not dissimilar to other Asian dishes like pork buns, which you’ll find in plenty of restaurants here, but stay tuned to see bing bread making its way out of Chinese takeaways and into mainstream bakeries and cafés very soon.
Is it good for me?
Shaobing is usually filled, so it depends on what you put in the filling (though a little too often this tends towards the salty and greasy side of Chinese cooking). It is however at heart, white bread with oil, so no, it's not really that healthy but it tastes unbelievable!
How much will it cost?
Currently you can pick up a side of plain bing bread at some takeaways in town for about €3. The fancier filled versions will probably be a bit more pricey, especially as they are often a lunch in and of themselves.
What does it taste like?
Soft, doughy flatbread, but the sesame paste adds a savoury tang. Mostly it’s plain to allow for interesting fillings, but sometimes you’ll find it topped with toasted sesame too. There’s a good walkthrough of the process over on this blog if you want to try them for yourself.