One of the most thrilling aspects of traveling is getting to try new food. While the more adventurous of us might prefer the point-and-grunt method, we thought an instructional video might be of use for those yearning for the authentic Chinese breakfast experience – without the risk.
Chinese breakfast cuisine varies by region, but the menu items tend to be on the heavy side across the board. In Jiaxing, zongzi – leaf-wrapped triangles of sticky rice with stuffing, are sold every morning. In Hunan, beef noodle soup is a morning staple. You might find spicy noodles for breakfast in Yunnan, but in Guizhou, you’ll find those noodles covered with hot pork fat – you get the idea.
What we ate (the numbers stand for the tone 1-4 for the four tones in Chinese):
小笼包 xiao3long2bao1 = small steamed bun (not a pot sticker), literally small steamer bun
茶叶蛋 cha2ye4dan4 = tea egg, literally tea leaf egg
馄饨 hun2tun2 (also pronounced hun2tun) = wonton, no literal meaning, this is just the name of the soup
A common breakfast beverage is soy milk, though tea does make an appearance in some regions. If you’re lucky, you’ll find a place that makes its own, but you’re more lucky to see to-go cups, cans, or little cartons, sold in restaurants and in street breakfast carts.
More typical breakfast items:
包子 bao1zi (no number means no tone) = bun
鸡蛋煎饼 ji1dan4jian1bing3 = egg pan cake wrap, literally chicken egg pan cake. Delicious!
油條 yóutiáo (oil strip) = deep-fried dough twists akin to doughnuts, usually served with soy milk:
The restaurant we visited was a typical mom-and-pop joint in a busy Beijing district – you’ll see these places everywhere in town. Happy hunting!