One of the less appealing items in the Chinese cuisine universe, aptly named for its overwhelming olfactory onslaught. Once you survive that, the rest is not half bad. Tofu is made of soybeans, and fermented soybeans are a well-known source of umami, the wonderful taste that is hard to describe. The frying process gives it a texture, while additional seasoning complements its already remarkable palate.
Full name Jianbing Guozi, an iconic breakfast item in northern China. Spread batter on a sizzling iron plate to make an ultra-thin and crispy pancake, which is known as Jianbing. Beat a couple of eggs and distribute it evenly across the Jianbing to give it a flexible backing. Add soy and chili paste to your liking, plus finely chop scallions. Lastly comes Guozi, the definition of which varies depending on which part of China you’re based in. Some insist it’s strips of fried dough, crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside, not unlike churros, while others prefer sheets of dough, deep fried, crispy through and through. Wrap up the Guozi with your Jianbing and voila, you got it! In a sense, it’s China’s equivalent to waffle and scrambled eggs, albeit much more on-the-go-friendly. Actually, on-the-go is probably the only right way of enjoying it. Grab one from a street vendor and gobble up before you arrive at the office. Chance are you won’t find this thing in restaurants, because it’s simply not right.
A new age culinary invention made by and for the emerging class known as “sorryasses”, which largely consists of young men disillusioned by this dysfunctional world. If the rich get richer by doing nothing, and the poor work their asses off just to be less poor, why bother? They are content with just enough money to get by, and avoid all forms of commitment. Work a day, get paid for a day, enjoy a day, and repeat. The key difference between sorryasses and what’s known as NEET (Not in Education, Employment, or Training), particularly in Japan, is that the former don’t have any family to latch on, consequently have to be in (the minimum level of) employment from time to time, to make survival money. Admittedly there’s hardly any quality of life to speak of. People call them sorryasses, and they call each other the same, sometimes proudly. “Cheap” is imperative to sorryasses, hence the popularity of cheap-ass noodles, i.e. boiled noodles with simple seasoning. You can’t get any cheaper than that.