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Legendary Street Pancake Vendor Closed Because Of BBC’s “Taste Of Shanghai”

After appearing on BBC’s “Taste of Shanghai”, authorities realized he never had a license

Lesson to anyone in Shanghai F&B: unless your papers and kickbacks are in order, avoid all media attention.

WU Gencheng, the legendary owner of the Ada Scallion Pancake store, will receive support if he plans to reopen after a current suspension due to the lack of a license, Huangpu District government said yesterday — providing he operates a “legal and regulated business.”

The popular and traditional scallion pancake store on Maoming Road S. was suspended on Monday by the bureau because the 59-year-old owner did not have a business license.

Wu has made his renowned scallion pancake for the past three decades, attracting customers from both home and abroad who are prepared to queue for hours to sample his products.

But the bureau had received complaints that Ada Scallion Pancake had no business license and bad hygiene, which posed food safety risks, the bureau said yesterday. Officials with the bureau then asked Wu to suspend his business on July 21 after an investigation found the complaints were justified, it added.

Wu then agreed not to reopen without a license.

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However, the pancake store, which is in the backyard of his home, was reopened on Monday after being suspended for two months. The bureau then summoned Wu and asked him to shut down again after receiving more “complaints.”

The subdistrict said it had helped Wu to find an affordable store nearby and to apply for a new business license to reopen his popular business. But Wu said he could barely afford the rent in the nearby downtown area.

“I can earn 1,500 yuan (US$225) a day by making 300 scallion pancakes, but I have to cover the cost of the pancake and the ayi I hired to cut scallions every day,” he told Shanghai Daily.

Wu said he may have to cook the scallion pancakes at home and have them delivered to customers from now on.

He attracted many expat customers as well as foreign tourists after the BBC interviewed him for a documentary “Taste of Shanghai.”

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