Shanghai's little flour treats: scallion pancakes and their unmistakable aroma

Chen Kaiyang
Scallion pancakes, a traditional Shanghai snack, often appears on the breakfast tables of Shanghainese people. 
Chen Kaiyang

Filmed by Zhou Shengjie. Edited by Chen Kaiyang. Translated by Chen Kaiyang. Polished by Andy Boreham.

Scallion pancakes, a traditional Shanghai snack, often appear on the breakfast tables of Shanghainese people. The pancakes are, perhaps unsurprisingly, filled with fresh scallion. 

Unlike other pancakes, which are normally baked, scallion pancakes are fried first and then baked. This procedure gives them a crispy and a fluffy texture, all at the same time.

Usually lard is used instead of oil when making these little treats, giving the scallion that unmistakable scent, making them even more delicious and mouth-watering.

Wang Yongxin has been making traditional scallion pancakes in Jing'an district since 1998. He owns a tiny store with a maximum capacity of just four people. 

Despite the small size, Wang can usually sell about 1,000 - 2,000 pancakes a day, illustrating just how much Shanghaiese people love the little flour treats.

Wang and his crew still follow a very traditional procedure of them. As the owner of a small store with about 20 years' history, he has witnessed a transformation of time and life in Shanghai. 

Wang Yongxin started in a little market in Jing'an district as an independent business.

As time went by, Shanghai's government started to reinforce the policy of clearing the independent businesses of the local area. The store moved a few times and finally joined a government-owned food-chain. 

For 20 years, the neighborhood has been eating his scallion pancakes. The connections forged between the store and Shanghai through this traditional little snack will last even longer than that unmistakable aroma of lard and fresh scallions that waft through the streets of this huge city.

Special Reports