Selling jianbing, a traditional Chinese street food, can reportedly earn vendors more than $180,000 a year — at least, in Beijing.
For the uninitiated, jianbing — or “fried pancake” — is easily one of China’s most popular breakfasts, a convenient dish similar to crepes. It’s basically made of eggs, wheat and grain flour, which can then be filled with pork, scallions, sweet potatoes, or other ingredients and topped with different kinds of sauces.
While jianbing has been on China’s streets for the longest time, it recently caused a commotion when a vendor in Beijing’s central business district was heard arguing with a customer over an egg, according to People’s Daily.
“I get to earn over 30,000 yuan ($4,550) a month. No way that I used one less egg for your jianbing,” the vendor told the customer. At this rate, the vendor allegedly earns roughly $55,000 annually. Interestingly, the vendor’s claim seems to have merit, as People’s Daily found another jianbing seller who earns even more.
For her jianbing, priced from 8 yuan ($1.21) to 21 yuan ($3.18) apiece, vendor Jia Xiuying is making at least 100,000 yuan (around $15,165) a month — more than $180,000 a year.
While Jia rakes this amount from three stands, she recalls starting with little capital. “I started my jianbing career in 2001. Back then my economic condition was very poor. I could only afford to invest in jianbing,” she said. “Jianbing requires little investment. The cost is low.”
With her jianbing business, Jia was able to send her daughter to college, graduate school, and on trips overseas. She has also purchased houses and a car. Jia runs her business with Jiang Jilan, who also provides for her children.
“One day when I can no longer move, I’ll have my inheritors to keep it going. Even in the next life, my daughter’s child will proudly know what I did,” Jia said.
With such dedication, it’s not surprising that business is booming for Jia and many others who sustain the hungry Chinese locals with the hearty delicacy every morning.