Beijing's Bagels Taste Like Brooklyn's

It’s been two weeks since the Olympics began, and Westerners here are getting rather fed up with noodles, dumplings and rice. Even the bread here can taste strange. For Jews, or anyone who has tasted a freshly baked New York bagel, the rumors of a bagel shop in Beijing circulated around hotel lobbies, tour buses and the Olympic Green have become somewhat of a fixation here. A few days ago, an article appeared on the New York Times website that sent those who could access the site here running to hail a cab, yelling “beigu,” 贝谷, the Chinese word for the holed-bread, which means “precious wheat.”

Hopefully, they’ll arrive at Mrs. Shanen’s, which is owned by a Bay Ridge-raised Chinese-American entrepreneur, Lejen Chen, who brought the recipe to China to remind herself of New York.

Globalization tastes good, as Chen imports the wheat flour from America, the sugar from Korea and the yeast from France. The salt and the water comes from China. The bagels come in 26 flavors, but poppy seed isn’t among them. That’s because the poppy seeds are illegal (something about China and opium wars)

Still, the influx of Olympic visitors has led to huge demand for bagels. In the week before the Olympics commenced, Mrs. Shanen’s baked 9,000 bagels — as much as in a typical month.

The Times reports:

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Beijing's Bagels Taste Like Brooklyn's

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