This morning, out from the tube, I bought my daily yogurt pot from the women who looks after the bicycles outside the tube station. She propably charges 0.2 to 0.5 Yuan (1.3p to 3.3p) for looking after your bike and she also sells yogurt in clay pots, boiled sweet corn and ice-cream… The yogurt pot is 20p, and you will get 6p back if you return the clay made pot sometime later…
I took my pot and the change, and saw a man holding a little paper board together with a plastic bag of something a few steps away. The paper board read two big Chinese charactors: Sell Nan! (Ha… writting about it, suddenly reminds me of the “Free Hugs” campaign… well, maybe not very connected..sorry) The man was standing in the 9am Beijing Sun, which means very hot and uncomfortable, looking a bit disappointed.
I noticed his big nan in the semi-transparent plastic bag, sweet-corn-coloured, very round. He looked Uyghur, big black eyes like round olives, extra-thick eyebrows, which distinguishes him from Han Chinese, plus round honest looking semi-dark face… (Oh well… you are right… I shouldn’t judge people from their looks, but) Somehow, I felt the need to help him out with this strange morning business. (or maybe I am just greedy for some food…) It is strange business because even though there is a lot of street vendors in Beijing, but I have never seen a Nan vendor before, plus street vendors never dress so neat and tidy as he does, neither would they hold a board and hide the goods in a bag…
“May I ask how much is the nan please?”
Taking out a bag of milk (yes, milk is packed in little bags in China, and people drink it without tea or sugar in the mornings), and another “quater of a nan” in another plastic bag, he said”8Yuan (53p) together with a free milk.”
“It’s a bit expensive.” Cos normally, in a Uyghur restaurant, a whole nan of the size of an “Independent” page is around 5 to 10 Yuan, and remember in China, things on the street are normally cheaper than in the shops.
“It’s good nan, very good nan!” a little Uyghur accent, which in his case sound simple and honest. “Taste it.” he said, rather shyly.
He sold the quater of a nan to me without the milk for 6Yuan (40p), and looked happy as I had a little bite on it and said:”You are right, it’s good, a lot of sesame on it!” I believe in chefs who looked happy when people eat their food.
He said that they made the nan themselves, very good nan!, and then they sell the nan. Who are “they”, I don’t know…
I had the nan with my lunch just now, and it indeed tasted really good, tender and fresh, with a lot of sesame on it, actually, it is covered completely by white sesame! I’ve never found any nan like this anywhere else to be honest, not in Bricklane..
Wish he is going to come again to the tube station tomorrow morning, and hope I can find out more about this nan!