RAMAPO, N.Y. – Rockland native Brian Goldberg tried his hand at a number of careers – professional luge racing, for one – before he decided to go into the good eats biz, according to a recent write-up in The New York Times.
Goldberg, who grew up in Spring Valley, is a Chinese scholar who ran a few eateries when he lived in Hong Kong.
It was in Beijing that Goldberg got hooked on Northern Chinese street foods such as jianbing, which are crepes made with a whole egg, herbs, condiments and stuffed with duck, chicken or pork.
According to Goldberg’s website, he was studying Mandarin Chinese in 1998 and used to have “bings” every day that were made by “a nice lady” on the back of a bicycle cart.
According to legend, jianbing was invented 2,000 years ago during the Three Kingdoms period (220-280 A.D.) when Zhuge Liang, a chancellor in Shandong Province found himself having to feed his soldiers without any woks.
According to Goldberg, Zhuge Liang ordered the army’s cooks to mix wheat flour with water and spread the batter onto a copper griddle over an open fire.
The humble treat gave the soldiers strength and lifted their spirits as they fought their way out of an ambush, or so the story goes, Goldberg said.
Goldberg and the rest of his executive team – Lou Ramirez and Gadi Peleg – have been bringing savory and sweet crepes to the masses in New York City via Mr. Bing street trucks and a colorful kiosk at Urbanspace Vanderbilt, a food hall located at 230 Park Ave.
Mr. Bing has been a presence since 2015 at food markets such as Madison Square Eats and Bryant Park’s Winter Village and at pop-ups around Manhattan, according to the foodie grapevine. Now he is planning to open an actual 150-square-foot brick-and-mortar restaurant on 28th St. and Seventh Avenue in Chelsea – probably in March, according to ny.eater.com.
Its central kitchen will prepare foods for Mr. Bing carts and kiosks, ny.eater.com said.
Bings sell for between $10 to $15. Their classic veggie crepe is made from mung bean, rice, and white flour and is coated with scrambled egg, sesame seeds, scallions, hoisin sauce, chili paste, cilantro and crunchy wontons.
Sides are also reasonably priced. A crispy pickled cucumber salad with smashed garlic and chili goes for $4, while dumplings (chicken lemongrass, Bulgogi beef, vegetarian) are $6.
To wash all that goodness down, have an herbal or green tea, Gokuri grapefruit juice, or soy milk.
According to Goldberg’s LinkedIn page, he is a graduate of Columbia and Brandeis universities.
Fluent in Mandarin Chinese, he spent nearly 10 years in Asian equity sales and trading and three years as a television news producer and reporter for CNBC, Channel News Asia.
He qualified for the 2002 Winter Olympics in the sport of luge and now competes in Masters swimming.