Variations and innovations
Other ingredients, such as chopped fennel greens and sesame seeds are sometimes added with the green onions. One could substitute the green onions with another topping of choice such as corn and diced bell peppers. There is actually a Chinese dessert called red bean pancakes where the green onions and salt are replaced with a sweet red bean paste.
Another method for cooking green onion pancakes is to fry them with eggs coated on one side. There is another Chinese snack called egg pancake , which is almost identical to the green onion pancake except that the dough of the egg pancake is thinner and moister.
A similar pancake may be made with garlic chives instead of scallions. Such a pancake is called a ''jiucai bing'' or ''jiucai you bing'' .
One variation involves leavening the dough and not flattening up the coil into a pancake. The coil is then fried or baked into a bread.
In North America, the pancakes are often served with soy sauce, hot chili sauce, or Vietnamese dipping sauce.
Chinese myth surrounding the invention of pizza
There exists in China and Taiwan an erroneous belief that pizza is an evolution of green onion pancake, brought back to Italy by Marco Polo. Here is one version of the legend:
Marco Polo missed green onion pancakes so much that when he was back in Italy, he tried to find chefs willing to make the pancake for him. One day, he managed to meet a chef from Naples at a friend's dinner party and persuaded him to try recreating the dish. After half a day without success, Marco Polo suggested the filling be put at the top rather than inside the dough. The change, by chance, created a dish praised by everyone at the party. The chefs returned to Naples and improvised by adding cheese and other ingredients and formed today's pizza.