There are certain recipes that I’ll always keep chasing and these round skillet breads filled with green onion and sesame oil is one of them. I first had them in Monterey Park in the late 1980s. My friend, Teresa C., took me to dinner at a Chinese-Islamic Restaurant (I think that that was its name), a new and novel concept.
Teresa and I met while attending business school at the University of Southern California and our conversation quickly turned from finance and accounting to food. Teresa’s father managed Chinese restaurants in Monterey Park. She and her family were from Hong Kong and they knew where the good Chinese food was in the San Gabriel Valley, located east of Los Angeles. They were in on the ground level of what today is arguably the best source of Chinese food in America.
Lamb stir-fried with green onions and the restaurant’s sesame bread (zhima dabing in Mandarin) were my major takeaways from that eating experience. I stuffed the lamb into the bread. I used the bread to wipe and mop up extra sauces and such on my plate. It was novel and new to me because I wasn't fully aware of the bread culture in northwest and northern China. I was smitten, to say the least.