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London's "Grandpa Pancake" seeks new recipes at home

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

TIANJIN, July 26 (Xinhua) -- Many Chinese students and expatriates in London will have to endure a summer without the familiar flavor of Chinese-style pancakes.

The city's "Grandpa Pancake" has taken a two-month respite from his business for a family reunion in China's Tianjin City, but he promised that he would return with more choices on his menu.

"I will take the time to visit snack shops around Tianjin and learn more cooking skills, so when I return to London, I'll be able to make other kinds of traditional snacks for overseas Chinese," said Qu Nianfu.

The 70-year-old Tianjin native made his name by recreating "Jianbingguozi," a Tianjin-style crispy pancake, in London and turning it into a sought-after snack among local Chinese.

Qu, who has lived in London for 14 years, began experimenting with the pancake after a friend said his son was dying for a bite of "Jianbingguozi."

A skilled cook, Qu spent over a year gathering all the necessary ingredients, including a rare mung bean flour he eventually found at a Korean store.

Qu now makes dozens of cakes at home each day and delivers most of them to homesick Chinese students. Sometimes customers must reserve weeks in advance due to his busy cooking schedule.

With a satisfying pension, Qu said his goal is not to chase profits but help Chinese people who yearn for a taste of home. He only charges for the cost of the cakes at about two pounds each with free delivery.

"I still remember the days during the London Olympics when my colleagues and I ate Papa Qu's pancakes with Bordeaux," said Jiang Shan, who works for a London-based newspaper.

"His pancakes are not the best I've had, but what touched me is that I could enjoy the 'home flavor' away from home."

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/xinhua-news-agency/140726/londons-grandpa-pancake-seeks-new-recipes-at-home