Around the same time that the various Chinese bus companies in lower Manhattan started serving interstate travelers, my husband and I started noticing these overstuffed, disc-shaped, sesame seed-crusted buns popping up at many of the food stands underneath the Manhattan bridge. I heard that the best ones were available in the basement of the Triple 8 Mall under the bridge, and that I should refer to them as Bing – which I believe is short for Shaobing. I ventured underground and bought a couple of them from a woman who was duly baffled by my presence. I was instantly hooked. They were tasty and satisfying and fit our limited budget. There were several varieties of Bing, but the trouble was, there was no menu and I couldn’t figure out what filling was inside any given pastry. Because of our mutual language barrier, the owner wasn’t able to shine any light on the puzzle. I knew there was a code to be revealed in the placement of the black sesame seeds, but I was firmly at a loss to break it. At around the same time, I heard that there was a place out in Queens that specialized in these little treats, both savory and sweet. I hopped on the subway, made my way to a shop called Unique Pastry and bought one of each kind. I subsequently made this crib sheet so that I could quickly and easily decipher the contents of whatever Bing I happened to find. Shortly thereafter, this piece appeared in the NY Times.