What I Ordered
- Jian Bing with sausage
In Short: The classic Jian Bing was a filling, flavorful lunch with protein, veggies, and grains. It had an authentic feel and totally differentiated itself from the plethora of more basic Chinese food on the same block.
Bing Mi! is a food cart on 9th and Alder in downtown Portland that has generated quite a bit of buzz lately. Among a collection of over 50 carts, it can be difficult to make a decision on which style of cuisine to eat, and even more difficult to discern which carts are worth the stop after you’ve decided what you want. The decision with Bing Mi is easy – the diverse crowd excitedly waiting for their Chinese crepes out front lets you know that something good is sizzling inside.
If you have a hard time deciding what to pick off a long menu, have no worries – Bing Mi! only offers one item. Their traditional Jian Bing from Northern China includes a scrambled egg, black bean paste, chili sauce, pickled vegetables, green onion, cilantro, and a fried wonton all in a giant crepe. There are limited options for add-ons, such as sliced sausage or an extra egg. For such a filling and authentic lunch, the price of $6 is a steal.
The staff at Bing Mi! would love to let you in on the long history of their famous delicacy. They say that the Jian Bing originated in Shandong Province 2000 years ago when a group of soldiers lost their cooking supplies and had to be fed quickly and easily. They mixed flour with water, cooked it over a fire, ate a hearty lunch, and won their big battle!
During the lunch rush on a weekend, my wait for a Bing was about 20 minutes, which was entirely worth it, especially considering that’s shorter than I would wait for lunch in a sit-down restaurant. The staff were also quite friendly for a food cart. I took my lunch to a quiet park nearby to fully enjoy the savory depth of flavor hidden inside. Each bite is a perfect combination of spice, crunch, and umami, and left me totally full and happy.
Bing Mi! is open Monday-Saturday for breakfast and lunch. Local and national publications have been going wild for the small cart lately and the hype was worth it for me.