Tiger's paw, a traditional snack, fades from the scene
By Tan Weiyun
Tiger’s paw, a sweet, hexagonal pancake, might soon pass into memory for Shanghai old-timers.
It is a time-consuming snack to make. Today in Shanghai there is only one, somewhat down-at-the-heels shop on Ji’an Road that still makes the traditional food. Each pancake there costs 1.5 yuan each (25 US cents).
Tiger’s paw was once a popular daily snack, often eaten for breakfast, in Shanghai, Zhejiang and Jiangsu provinces.
After the dough is kneaded, the cook makes three even cuts on the surface to create the paw-like shape. The pancake is brushed with syrup and baked for about 20 minutes. It comes out looking like a tiger’s paw.
The golden paw is crispy on the outside and soft inside, with a light sweetness. If made with a sourdough starter, the snack is said to help improve digestion. Some older people will remember eating one or two tiger’s paws as a remedy for stomach aches.
In Jiangsu, the snack was always salty and often served with beef or mutton soup. When the pancake was introduced to Shanghai, clever Jiangsu chefs adapted it for the famous sweet tooth of city residents.
Today, however, it’s hard to find tiger’s paws.
The owner of the Ji’an Road snack shop that still makes them says the site is facing demolition and he may be forced out of business.