Traditional Chinese Breakfast Foods

Westerners have certain ideas about breakfast foods—namely, toast, cereal, pancakes, donuts, and, of course, eggs. In China, though, there’s an entirely different expectation when it comes to the morning meal. It’s nearly always savory, and it often features strong flavors. In major cities, people often eat breakfast on the go, getting their food from street vendors selling dishes ranging from congee to steamed buns to crepes.


Congee and Crullers

Many Asians begin their day with a warm bowl of congee (Chinese rice porridge), or 粥 (zhōu), a watery rice gruel that bears a marked resemblance to porridge. The variety of seasonings used to make congee ensure that it need not ever become boring. Congee can be sweet or savory and seasoned with everything from chicken to mushrooms. If meat is used, it is often marinated before being added to the rice.

Crullers —known as 油条 (youtiao) in Chinese— are the food of choice to serve with congee. Crullers are twisted strips of deep-fried dough. They are dipped in warm congee, the same way you would dip a doughnut into a cup of coffee.


Steamed Buns and Dumplings

Steamed buns and dumplings are popular at all times of day in China, but particularly at breakfast. Chinese steamed buns can be either stuffed 包子 (bāozi) or unstuffed 馒头 (mántou). Mantou is made from wheat flour and steamed in a bamboo basket; Baozi is filled with anything from pork and cabbage to thinly sliced vegetables. If dumplings are on the breakfast table, they are usually 饺子 (jiǎozi), smaller dumplings filled with pork or beef and vegetables that are eaten with chopsticks.


Hot and Dry Noodles

In the West, noodles are a meal for lunch or dinner, but that’s not the case in China. Originating in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, hot and dry noodles are cooked in sesame oil until tender and then quickly reheated in boiling water immediately before serving. They’re “dry” because the noodles aren’t accompanied by any broth. However, they are topped with chili sauce, pickled vegetables, sesame oil, and garlic chives.

Other types of noodles are popular for breakfast in China, too, including soy sauce noodles and mala, hot and numbing noodles. Wonton soup is also eaten for breakfast in China.


Breakfast Crepes

煎饼 (jiānbing), perhaps the most western-like breakfast on the list, are egg-filled breakfast crepes. The crepe is made of flour and is traditionally topped with egg, scallions, cilantro, sweet soybean paste, and chili sauce. However, as street food, modern jian bing is often filled with ingredients such as ham and cheese.

Post time: Jul-21-2020