In Which We Finally Try Kung Fu Bing
Egg Kung Fu Bing
When Fork in the Road first walked by the still-under-construction Kung Fu Bing, it aroused our curiosity. What's a bing? (It's the Mandarin word for "pancake.") What's a kung fu bing? (A bing with so much MSG that you might completely tweak out after eating it.) And why the attack panda, brandishing chopsticks? We still don't know the answer to that.
After the place opened, Joe DiStefano went and checked it out for Serious Eats, and reported back that it was greasy, gave him an MSG hangover, and was just generally wrong. But he had chosen the sausage and cheese filling, and that, surely, was his mistake. The bing is a greasy, flaky flatbread, much like a paratha or a roti canai. Filling it with more grease is too much. So we went and blithely ordered a bing filled with an egg, plus the standard lettuce and tomato.
In front of the griddle is a large window that looks out onto the street. An old man pressed his nose up onto the glass and stared at the Kung Fu Bing counterwoman for a good 10 minutes, as though she were a zoo exhibit. It wasn't a terribly interesting show: The woman forked up a round of dough from a container, and put it on the the large griddle. She took an unmarked spice shaker and shook out a bunch of some sort of seasoning onto the bread. The she cracked an egg and dispensed a large amount of the seasoning onto that as well. After a while, the bread puffed up and became golden. She put the egg in the pancake, folded it up with lettuce and tomato, and added several more vigorous shakes of the seasoning.
The egg kung fu bing is not actually very substantial, and at $3 it borders on overpriced. Still, it was reasonably tasty--the bread stretchy, light, and oily, although there's no sign of the scallion that's reportedly supposed to be in there. The seasoning imparted a deep, meaty, hard-to-pin-down flavor that must have been pure MSG. Now, we love MSG. It makes things taste good. But ingesting about a tablespoon of pure MSG? That is not something you want to do. Heart racing, extremities tingling, we scurried back to the Voice offices.
Kung Fu Bing strikes again! And apparently, there are plans for the panda to spread around town. Eeek!
79 Division Street 212-226-2838
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