Kitchn Love Letters

This New Freezer Find Is a Riff on the Popular Chinese Street Breakfast — And It’s a Crispy, Layered Delight

published Apr 29, 2023
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Someone holding Ming's Breakfast Bings.
Credit: Su-Jit Lin

A lot of things come to mind when I think of the word “bing.” It’s the chime on airplanes, or a pop-up page for a second-tier search engine. Upon deeper thought, though, I remember a vague idea of crispy, egg crepe-like pancakes folded up with fun fillings like pork floss and topped with hoisin sauce — otherwise known as jianbing. When visiting Beijing, I remember trying this common and beloved street food and wondering why this was the first time. It was perfect with a warm cup of fresh-pressed soy milk.

As the demand for regional Chinese food has increased, you can now often spot them in Flushing, New York, basement food courts. However, that’s not the only kind of Chinese bing that’s made its way out of its point of origin. You see, bing is a word that refers to any kind of flattened, wrapped handheld food, and in Mandarin can reference absolutely any filled pocket of any ethnicity. Which brings us to this post, as beloved Iron Chef Ming Tsai has taken this traditional food and added yet another variety to the lexicon with the introduction of MingsBings.

Credit: Su-Jit Lin

What You Should Know About MingsBings

The marketing made a huge deal about the brand being plant-based and gluten-free — features Chef Tsai prioritized in the development of his bings — and partnerships with brands like JUST Egg, Before the Butcher, and Violife dairy-free cheese.

He’s open about sharing that this was due to a health scare the Tsai family experienced in 2017 when his wife became ill. While exploring medical treatments at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (where a portion of this product’s proceeds are redirected, along with a few other healthcare-related charities), the Ming fam turned back to the Eastern holistic practice of eating for wellness, transitioning to a mostly plant-based diet with the hopes of lowering inflammation. As the story goes, he realized his experience as a chef gave him a distinct advantage in making vegan food exciting, but opened his eyes to the limitations the everyday consumer had. That was the “ding!” light bulb moment for developing his bings commercially. 

Credit: Su-Jit Lin

What’s So Great About MingsBings?

While the back story was touching and compelling, as a fan of gluten, meat, and cheese, the marketing headliners weren’t a major selling point for me. I was (and still remain) skeptical of ingredients disguised as other ingredients. However, my little sister was visiting for a week, and it seemed like the perfect time to try them just for fun. With two to a pack and four varieties of the recently launched Breakfast Bings — Plant-Based Chorizo, Egg & Cheese; Plant-Based Veggie, Egg & Cheese; Plant-Based Sausage, Egg & Cheese; and Plant-Based Egg & Cheese — that was every morning, sorted. 

Credit: Su-Jit Lin

They come frozen in packs of two and wrapped up in a plastic tray in a colorful box. The individual bings are roughly the size and thickness of my palm. They were easy enough to heat up; we threw them in the toaster oven as our coffee brewed and (remote) workdays started. These quarter-pound-plus bings take around 20 minutes this way — just enough time for our stomach and taste buds to get ready to do their own work.

They don’t look crunchy, as they cook up rather pale, but don’t be fooled. The crispiness is serious with these and they’re delightfully layered for textural change as you get to your last bite. Imagine the thin flakiness of phyllo pastry, but slightly thicker and with a sharp shatter, like a fried spring roll. It’s got some grease to it, but wrapping a paper towel or napkin around it as you dig into the pocket absorbs just enough to leave you with the satisfying richness of oil without being overwhelmed. 

Credit: Su-Jit Lin

One of my favorites is the plant-based chorizo, egg, and cheese, which is full-flavored, soft-scrambled, and chock-full of peppers, onions, black beans, corn, and potatoes. The plant-based chorizo is crumbled small, just enough to season the eggs and fillings, and offers an ultra-mild spiciness that I like to amplify with add-ons (more on that below). Tied with this one is the plant-based veggie, egg, and cheese, which has a ton of spinach, plus peppers, onions, and potato. The bell peppers are sweet and more pronounced in this one, and I love how green it is. Bonus points that they’ve managed to bypass that frozen-spinach taste (you know what I’m talking about!).

Then, of course, there are the classics: plant-based sausage, egg, and cheddar-style cheese with chunks of potatoes and plant-based egg and cheese with potatoes. Both are mild and taste just as you’d expect, which is a feat for vegan swaps. The softness is pretty true to any other egg product in the frozen section or a breakfast buffet. The sausage seasonings come through nicely and the addition of tender potatoes is great to change up the textures and offer a little al dente resistance for your chewing pleasure.

Overall, they’re tidy little packets of savory satisfaction that are ready by the time my first meeting’s over. I’m left full of vegetables and free of hunger — just the combo to keep me sharp and satiated through any busy morning.

Credit: Su-Jit Lin

What’s the Best Way to Make MingsBings?

We tried cooking them directly on the wire rack, on a foil-lined tray, silicone-lined mat, and air fryer basket in the multi-tasker toaster oven. The results were pretty consistent, but I do recommend the foil-lined tray for better crisping and protection against any filling loss. Heating one does extract oil from its initial in-factory fry, so I do suggest wrapping it in a paper towel as you take it out to dab off any excess grease. If you air-fry or cook the bings right on the rack, the results are less greasy, but you do risk leakage and getting the bottom of your appliance dirty.

Credit: Su-Jit Lin

The flavors are good on their own, but who doesn’t like to dip and drizzle? Shanxi mature vinegar gives the vegetable one an instant dumpling vibe, and balsamic glaze edges the flavor profile over to Italy. I like to add a little more sweet and heat to milder ones with some of the sweeter, cranberry version of Tia Lupita Foods’ Salsa Macha. This is great with the chorizo, egg, and cheese variety. When I want an extra kick in the mouth, particularly for the veggie one, I go for a spoonful of Bowlcut Chili Crisp

For more traditional breakfast flavors, maple syrup (whether from Aldi or Runamok) or hot honey also go really well with the classic sausage, egg, and cheese. Try adding chipotle powder to thick ketchup for dipping the egg, cheese, and potato version, too. Personally, I like the tomato-forward flavor of Lidl’s organic ketchup for that one! 

Bing may have failed as a search engine, but when hunger strikes, this kind of bing might be just the thing you’re looking for. 

Buy: MingsBings Plant-Based Breakfast Bings, $74.99 for 12 bings at MingsBings

Have you tried these breakfast bings? Tell us about it in the comments below.