American Woman Opens Stand Selling Chinese Food

February 24, 2014
Editor: Nancy Sun
American Woman Opens Stand Selling Chinese Food
A white, western woman Ana Stasia opens a food stand selling Jianbing Guozi, a kind of Chinese food, on the street of Seattle, the United States. [weibo.com]
A white, western woman Ana Stasia has opened a food stand selling Jianbing Guozi, a kind of Chinese street-food that's like a savory pancake, on the streets of Seattle, in the United States.

The news has been circulating among Chinese netizens on Weibo, China's equivalent of Twitter. 

Ana, 29, originally from Florida, moved to Seattle with her husband a few years ago. She once worked as an English teacher for a year and half at a senior high school in southeast China's Zhejiang Province, during which she traveled to many places in China and tasted all kinds of regional food including different versions of Jianbing Guozi.

After returning home, she had the idea of opening a stall and introducing this ubiquitous Chinese dish to American customers.

"No one sells Jianbing Guozi in Seattle. But many of my Chinese and American friends really missed it, which gave me the idea. Last September, I started my full-time job selling it," Ana said.

Based on her previous experiences of subsisting on Jianbing Guozi while living in China and on her self-teaching from the Youtube videos, Ana founded the first Jianbing Guozi stand in the Pacific northwest area in the United States. She mainly sets up her stand in downtown Seattle, near the Amazon building, around the University of Washington and in Chinatown.

Her food stand is very international with an authentic frying pan, scraper, and oil brush with added American features. Customers can choose fillings like fried bread sticks, eggs, hot dogs, crisp fritters, Chinese onion, cilantro, preserved Sichuan pickle, chili sauce, sweet sauce and so on.

Moreover, customers can pay by card.

In addition, Ana also set up a website, with a menu and an introduction to the food. The website is linked to her Facebook and Twitter account. She regularly updates her business time, place, sales and other status information.

Her stand attracted many Chinese people. Li Guanqun, who has lived in the United States for 16 years, is one of them. Living in Portland, Maine, Li and some friends drove 300 kilometers to taste the food. "I found it very authentic. The dough she uses is not the same though. Chinese people use dough made out of green beans. She uses maize meal," Li said.

Li posted the news on Weibo, which drew lots of netizens' attention.

The price for each Jianbing Guozi from Ana's stand is about US$ 7 to 8, which is ten times as much as the average price in China.
Ana explained that the Chinese food sold in the United States is usually much more expensive than that in China, and the cost of operating a food and beverage business in the United States is also much higher.

According to local regulations, Ana is not allowed to prepare the raw material in the kitchen of her own home, and she also has to pay in order to occupy public places for business purposes.

She is confident that more and more Americans will love her food. "It is more crispy than the French crepe and you can add as many things into as you like," she said.

Under her suggestion, many Americans have tried it and many of them became regular customers.

Ana said she likes all kinds of Chinese food and might open a Chinese restaurant in the future. "I like Hangzhou food best. In the United States, there are few restaurants selling Hangzhou food." China has many distinct cuisines, although in western countries these often come under the banner of "Chinese food", to many Chinese people this seems as reductive as referring to "European food".

She also said she loves Chinese culture. She has collected many Chinese landscape paintings and Chinese artworks. "Sometimes, I speak to my husband in Chinese until he replies to me in Chinese that he doesn't understand," she said, "I am reading books on Chinese history. Right now, I am reading a book on Chinese women during the Qin and Han dynasties. I am a dedicated fan of Chinese culture."

Anna said she keeps in touch with friends in China and plans to pay a visit to China next year.

(Source: pic.people.com.cn/Translated and edited by womenofchina.cn)

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