I remember the moment I felt New York and I were friends– it was a cool spring day, one of those where April still felt like February, when a stranger stopped me on the street to ask for the nearest subway stop. Without a moment of hesitation, I was able to not only point them in the right direction but also indicate the exact number of blocks away the station was (I’d also like to add, I was nowhere near where I lived). It had taken me a good six months, but I felt like the city had let me in, and I was finally able to kick my feet back without worrying I would fully tip over.
Going to a new city is always fraught with exciting emotions– of constantly feeling lost, of always being on an adventure, of never knowing who or what you’ll run into. It’s nice to get to know a city– its restaurants, its subway system, its locals, and where not to got. It’s also nice to know in a city where to get the best cheap streetside eats.
This weekend, I tried this incredible Chinese version of a crêpe for the first time, known around here as a fried pancake (煎饼). All you people back at home who think that scallion pancakes are the sh*t, well this gives it a street food-run for its money. Wrapped in a crêpe-like outer pancake, vegetables and pickles are stuffed along with a mysterious crispy crunchy waffle-like cracker, then folded up like a taco to pick up and eat. So, it’s savory, soft and crunchy (ohmahgawd, I just realized this is a vegetarian-Chinese CHALUPA!), pickly and portable– so many of my favorite elements in one 5–kuai snack. Ahhh, it’s nice to be home.
(if you look closely, you’ll notice the fried pancake lady is using what looks like a piece of sanded-down firewood to make the crêpe.)