Cultural Xplorer

China, What’s For Breakfast Today?

Many foreigners get surprised or even shocked when they see what they are served for a breakfast in China. Yes, it’s a bit different food from the one you usually have in the morning at home.

Chinese locals do not eat egg on toast, peanut butter sandwiches or an oatmeal with fruits for their breakfast. They usually stick to stodgy and heavy food such as noodles, dumplings, deep fried pancakes or a bit lighter porridge. A typical Chinese breakfast on the cheap must be nutritious and packed with carbs so you don’t feel hungry for at least 4 or 5 hours till your lunch time – between 11 am and 1 pm.

China, what’s on menu this morning?


#1 Spicy pancakes

Chinese Pancakes (bing)

Chinese pancakes are called bing. They are thin flat and served in the morning as one of the breakfast options at every food vendor. They are either savoury (stuffed with cheese, eggs, chives, deep fried veggies) or sweet (filled with jam, honey, nuts ), made with dough. 1 pancake is more than enough to keep you full till your lunch time. They cost around RMB 1-3 so it’s a very affordable food option.

Cez trying some pancakes in Beijing


#2 Fried jiaozi

A plate of jiaozi

Jiaozi are one of the yummiest dumplings I’ve ever tried and believe me, as a Polish and pierogi lovers, I know what I’m saying. Jiaozi are deep fried and filled with mince and veggies – carrots, onions, chives. They are a bit hard, but extremely crunchy. If you are lucky enough, you can find steamed jiaozi which are much softer and more watery than the fried ones. Jiaozi are usually served with spicy or sweet chilli sauce for lunch and dinner. Can you guess how much they cost? A plate of 6 is only RMB 3 so make sure you try them when you visit China.


# 3 Steamed Baozi

Baozi

Baozi, similarly to jiaozi, are dumplings mainly filled with meat and veggies, but they are much bigger and steamed, not fried. Many Chinese believe that baozi are more healthy than jiaozi and less calorific. In fact, one baozi can fill you up and keep you full for at least 3 hours. They are definitely the most popular Chinese breakfast option so you can see them everywhere at street food vendors.

If you don’t like meat, you can order fruity baozi filled with jam and honey – so yummy!

Baozi are very cheap as you can get one for only RMB 1. They taste the best when you dip them in a spicy sauce or sesame oil. The yummiest drink for baozi would be Chinese herbal tea or hot chocolate.


#4 Noodles

Time for noodles!

Morning noodles are very thick thus extremely filling and stodgy, but Chinese love to have them in the morning. They order either noodle soups (based on pork or beef meat, served with chives and chopped carrot) or simple fried noodles with spicy sauces and onion. It’s a very quick dish, ready in just five minutes. It’s hot and nutritious so make sure you order one when visiting China in the winter. Price: huge bowl of fried noodles costs around RMB 5.


#5 Baked potatoes

Baked sweet potatoes

Have you ever eaten a baked potato for your breakfast? If not, you will in China. They are not only yummy, but super healthy as baked in a huge barrel in the street. Very famous breakfast option in Beijing and Shanghai for locals who do not afford to dine out in restaurants. Chinese sweet potatoes are soft and dry so you should definitely order a glass of soy milk when having one. Their price is only RMB 4 for 500g.