Not all gods are omnipotent, as in the case of one pancake legend who was forced to close his business.
For the longest time, Wu Gencheng was known as Shanghai’s very own “pancake god.” But that title is compromised as his shop, Ada Scallion Pancakes, was ordered by the Huangpu District Market Supervision and Management Bureau to cease operations for lacking a business license.
The shop is technically suspended, and Wu has the opportunity to re-open once proper licensing is applied. He is required to run a “legal and regulated business.”
Nevertheless, the news surprised patrons who supported Wu’s recipe that’s been around for 34 years. “Most” Shanghai residents were also outraged, with one commenting on Weibo (via Shanghaiist):
“The old man is very dedicated, he cannot die without a license, the government should persuade the old man to obtain a license so we can continue lining up to buy delicious pancakes.”
In an interview with Shanghai Daily, 59-year-old Wu said “jealous neighbors” complained about “the hygiene condition” of his store to authorities. While suspended, he would still accept orders from old customers and get some rest:
“I can also take advantage of the suspension to take a rest because it is really exhausting as I grow older with sickness.”
Scallion pancakes are a favorite amongst Chinese breakfast treats, and Wu’s have been around since 1982. His recipe, favored by locals and foreigners alike, was dubbed the most authentic Shanghai-style scallion pancake. He follows a strict, 10-step process that involves scallions and fatty pork:
“None of the steps can be skipped to make it quicker, otherwise the flavor will be different.”
For now, Wu looks forward to having an apprentice who’s dedicated to learning the tradition over making bucks:
“I’m looking for a reliable apprentice who is willing to stick to the traditional way to cook the scallion pancake, rather than (try to) make a fortune. Many young people want to study the skills only to make money but I want to pass on my legacy and brand for generations.”