20 City Road Chippendale, New South Wales 2008
|Opening hours||Mon-Fri, 10.30am-4.30pm, Sat 10.30am-2pm|
|Features||Cheap Eats, Family friendly|
|Prices||Cheap (mains under $20)|
|Phone||0450 741 716|
"What's a jiang bing and why do I want one?" So glad you asked. This cut-price miracle is a type of Chinese street food that basically equates to a big relaxed crepe filled with anything from Spam and cheese to crackers and pork floss. Today, standing on bustling City Road in Chippendale, we're here for Chinese doughnuts and plenty of chilli.
This really is street food – how many places in Sydney can really and truly boast that? With the exception of Hot Star Large Fried Chicken, it's slim to none in the heart of the Sydney. And no, we're not counting midnight tandoori kebabs or 3am pies.
Here, there are a couple of low-to-the-ground stools out the front where you can drink a sweet, Taiwanese iced milk tea while you wait for, say, a nest of deep golden pork floss and crackers (bao cui) and mayonnaise. It's a salty, crunchy sweet and sticky mix wrapped in an eggy, green oniony crepe that vaguely resembles a large doily. And the best bit? It's only $5.90, and so rich you could probably share it.
Feeling flush? There are some less traditional (and also more expensive, at $7/8.90 apiece – still within our $10 budget) options such as a version called the "Moo. The. Cow" that sounds disturbingly like a burger with the lot. On a crepe. The "Mr Bing" sees a Chinese doughnut smothered in chilli sauce with sesame and coriander. Add a serve of Spam for an extra two dollars, or an egg for a dollar if you're feeling fancy. And yet somehow this more expensive version just isn't quite as delicious. It's spicy, sure, but it's also quite dry. It really needs floss. There again, what doesn't?
So the shop is pretty modest – there are just two people running it – one friendly lass on the till and a gent on the crepe decks. It's also student central here – minutes from Sydney Uni, next door to the Cooper Lodge Hotel and a hop-skip from the Lansdowne and the infamous Golden Fang. It also pays to keep in mind that while the jian bing are cheap, they're not quick. It's authentically street though, and the 'Bing permeates the loud bustling street with the smell of green onions and fried eggs.
The best thing of all, however, is taking lunch across the road to the park and feeding the leftovers to the ducks, egrets and seagulls. Ever seen a confused mallard? Feed it chilli sauce.
Pro tip Take lunch over to Victoria Park and have a jian bing picnic date
Try this The combination of rich salty-sweet pork floss and crunchy crackers between folds of silky crepe is a winner
Like this? Hot and Roll is a new caff celebrating the roti wrap. Shop 9, 61 Quay Street, Haymarket