Despite selling a Northern Chinese breakfast staple, Mr Bing hasn’t offered its own morning version until now.
Beginning Jan. 11, you’ll be able to get a jianbing — a savory crepe with various fillings folded into a square sandwich popular on Beijing streets — with breakfast fillings like maple bacon, egg and cheese, as well as a sweet one with Nutella.
They’re available 7:30-10:30 a.m. at Mr Bing’s booth inside Urbanspace Vanderbilt food hall and Flatiron food cart, and all day on weekends at its East Village store (115 St. Mark’s Place). For their first morning, the bings are buy one get one free, and $6-$8 after that.
Despite their distinctly Western fillings, founder Brian Goldberg says in a way breakfast bings are actually more traditional than his usual varieties featuring Peking duck, roast pork and kimchi.
“In Beijing, traditionally, bings are a breakfast food,” says Goldberg, who became hooked on jianbing in the late ‘90s as a university student in the Chinese capital.
“The carts came out at 6 and closed by 10 in the morning, gone for the day. It’s only in recent years that bings have become an all-day food.”
The breakfast bings are made with the same savory dough as regular bings, based on a recipe from the best bing vendor Goldberg found after taste-testing his way across Beijing: a mix of mung bean, rice and wheat flours cooked into a thick crepe and studded with sesame seeds.
Tucked into each bing — even the Nutella version — is a piece of the crispy wonton skin that Goldberg calls “the heart of the bing.” The savory bings also get a handful of scallions and a finishing drizzle of maple syrup for added sweet-savory flavor play.
Since launching Mr Bing in a stall at Urbanspace’s Garment Street Holiday Market in December 2015, Goldberg has gone from personally making bings to a staff of more than 30, including a former Shake Shack operations manager.
He’s also become something of a celebrity in Asia, where he spent 14 years studying and working. Just this month, Chinese-Canadian megastar Kris Wu — if you’re not familiar with him as a member of the K-pop boyband Exo, you may have seen him in “xXx” — dropped by the East Village shop to film a YouTube segment about New York’s most notable Chinese dishes.
Besides expanding into breakfast, Goldberg is opening a second brick-and-mortar location of Mr Bing in Chelsea, hopefully in March. He’s also toying with additional menu ideas like a General Tso’s Bing and a drinkable Chinese probiotic yogurt.
First up though: tweaking that fried wonton to be more durable so that bings can be held in hand. Portability is essential to the best street food, after all.