Scallion Pancake 蔥油餅
When I was little, my family lived far from the central Taipei city. Near our apartment was an outdoor evening market that sold everything from fruits and produce to meats and fish. Interspersed among these sellers would be cooked food vendors. There were a ton of different ones but I recall vividly one selling scallion pancakes and one selling roasted ducks. Customers always line up around the scallion pancake cart, waiting for the freshly fried pancake to be lifted, cut, and bagged. The cart had 2 huge circular griddles. The vendor would roll out a pre-made rested scallion pancake dough, pour some oil into the griddle, and place the dough onto the hot sizzling surface. The griddle is then covered to fry and steam the pancake. The vendor always has one fresh pancake cooking while finishing the other one to minimize the customers' waiting time. My father really liked these pancakes. He would often order a half sheet - half of one pancake, each at probably 2 feet in diameter - and bring them home to share with me and my mom. The vendor would lift out a freshly cooked pancake and use a sharply curved cleaver to cut it into 8 wedges. I can still remember the crackling sound of the knife breaking into the crispy fried dough surface. Inside the pancake the dough is translucent and tender, separating into many layers with pieces of scallions here and there. Using hands we would pull strands out of each wedge and feed directly into our mouths - none of this chopsticks business. We later moved into the city and somehow just stopped buying scallion pancakes over time. I think we did recognize how oily it was and were growing more cautious with what we ate later. Nevertheless, this is still a guilty pleasure that, in moderation, can be had every now and then, especially if we make it at home.
The dough for this pancake is made mostly with boiling water. This really cooks the flour and increases the flour's water-absorbing strength, so that even when cooled after cooking the pancake would remain quite tender and hydrated (hence the translucent nature). I used a recipe from Mrs. Zhou's blog here: http://homeeconomics.pixnet.net/blog/post/75620874