A cong you bing (simplified Chinese: 葱油饼; traditional Chinese: 蔥油餅; pinyin: cōngyóubǐng; Mandarin pronunciation [tsʰʊ́ŋjǒupìŋ]), also known in North America as a scallion pancake, is a Chinese savory, unleavened flatbread folded with oil and minced scallions (green onions). Unlike Western pancakes, it is made from dough instead of batter. Variations exist on the basic method of preparation that incorporate other flavors and fillings.
When using garlic chives (jiucai), these pancakes are called jiucai bing (韭菜饼) or jiucai you bing (韭菜油饼).
There is a story in China that suggests pizza is an adaptation of the scallion pancake, brought back to Italy by Marco Polo. A humorous newspaper article, that also includes Marco Polo inventing cheese fondue when he is lost in the Alps and wants to eat Chinese hotpot, describes the invention of pizza this way:
Marco Polo missed scallion pancakes so much that when he was back in Italy, he tried to find chefs willing to make the pancake for him. One day, he managed to meet a chef from Naples at a friend's dinner party and persuaded him to try recreating the dish. After half a day without success, Marco Polo suggested the filling be put on top rather than inside the dough. The change, by chance, created a dish praised by everyone at the party. The chefs returned to Naples and improvised by adding cheese and other ingredients and formed today's pizza.
Historical evidence in Europe suggests that pizza was not transmitted to Europe by Marco Polo, but existed in the Mediterranean long before his time. The first recorded use of the word "pizza" dates from 997 AD (in a Latin text from the town of Gaeta in Southern Italy), more than 250 years before Marco Polo was born.
Similar dishes in Chinese culture, and in other cultures, exist:
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