Chinese breakfasts vary widely depending on the region and season. Chinese people usually like to start their day with something light and healthy. In this article, we will explore some of the most popular Chinese breakfast foods. From traditional dishes to modern fusion recipes, there is something for everyone.
Table of Contents
- What Do Chinese Eat For Breakfast?
- Traditional Chinese breakfast
- Popular Chinese breakfast
- Frequently Asked Questions
What Do Chinese Eat For Breakfast?
A typical Chinese breakfast consists of soybean milk and deep-fried dough sticks, steamed buns, tofu pudding, wheat or rice noodles, steamed glutinous rice, congee, jian bing, wonton, tea eggs, and more.
When it comes to comprehending a country’s cuisine and culture, it is undoubtedly true that breakfast is the most crucial meal of the day. You may realize that breakfast in China is different from what you are used to, but if you immerse yourself in it, you will be astounded at the variety of alternatives available.
If you stay in China for a longer period, you might even find that you miss the breakfasts there when you return home. While some of these foods are unique to particular towns and regions, the majority are available across China.
This means that breakfast in China is typically rice or noodles, but there are also a variety of other breakfast options available.
Some popular Chinese breakfast foods include Baked Bun Bo Hue (pork belly with vegetables), Steamed Beancurd with Vegetables, and Diced Pork With Green Onions and Garlic). If you’re looking to try something different for breakfast, there’s always room in your stomach!
Traditional Chinese breakfast
What do you have in your breakfast routine? Breakfast cereals, toast with jam or peanut butter, eggs boiled or fried, bacon, oatmeal, pancakes, waffles? Perhaps you’re a fan of rice porridge or steamed buns? Whatever your breakfast food of choice, it’s safe to say that there’s a Chinese breakfast version out there for you.
For those who want to cook their food during the weekdays, there are many recipes available online that use Chinese ingredients. For a traditional breakfast that is popular around the world, check out the list below.
1. Soybean Milk and Deep-Fried Dough Sticks
Soybean milk and dough sticks are two breakfast items that you might be familiar with if you’re from China. Soybean milk is a popular morning drink in this country, where it is said to be beneficial for health.
Dough sticks are also commonly eaten as a breakfast food in China- they come in many variations, but the most common way to eat them is with soybean milk. Different provinces have their variations of dough sticks so it’s worth trying out different places!
For example, people in Hunan province like to deep-fry them until they turn light brown and then dip them into sweet sauce or tea syrup.
2. Steamed Buns with Meat, Soup, or Nothing
Chinese for “bao” is “bun” or “bread.” It is also referred to as Steamed Buns, Bun, Bao Buns, or Baozi (Chinese).
Chinese steamed buns known as baozi can be filled with a variety of ingredients, including pork, beans, custard, and vegetables. These savory or sweet Chinese steamed buns are available.
Steamed buns are a popular breakfast item in China, and for good reason. Depending on the region, they can be filled with pork buns or fried dough.
Most people enjoy steamed buns for breakfast because they offer a savory and filling start to their day. It is best to eat them leisurely so that you have plenty of time to get started on the day ahead. They are particularly well-liked in several Asian nations, including Taiwan, Hong Kong, and China.
3. Tofu Pudding
Chinese tofu desserts include tofu pudding and soy bean curd dessert. Additionally, it uses the Cantonese name tau fu fa or the Mandarin name douhua. Made with incredibly soft tofu.
Additionally, it typically serves as a dessert and is sweet. Tofu pudding, like any tofu, needs a coagulant. Common coagulants include nigari (magnesium chloride), gypsum (calcium sulfate), and glucono delta lactone (GDL).
Different parts of China and Asia appreciate traditional Dou Hua not just as a sweet dessert but also as a salty or spicy snack.
These days, Chinese desert shops have invented several delectable ways for us to savor this straightforward, melt-in-your-mouth treat.
4. Wheat Noodles
Wheat noodles are the most popular type of breakfast food in China. If you’re looking to try out a Chinese breakfast at home, wheat noodles are an excellent choice!
They typically come with a variety of toppings such as eggs, meat or vegetables, and sauces, making them versatile and easy to customize.
Most people love their wheat noodles boiled in clear soup stock or stir-fried with vegetables. This is a great option for you if you like noodle as I personally like Chinese wheat noodle too as it is really delicious!
5. Rice Noodles
If you’re looking for a quick and filling breakfast or lunch, rice noodles are a great option. You can find them at most Chinese markets or supermarkets, and they usually come boiled in chicken or beef broth.
Some people enjoy adding pork or shrimp to their noodles bowl, making it more of a meal than just an appetizer.
6. Steamed Glutinous Rice
Steamed glutinous rice is a popular breakfast choice in China and other parts of Asia. It is usually served with pork or chicken, eggs, and preserved vegetables. Some people even add sugar and syrup to it for extra sweetness and flavor.
It is a healthy breakfast option as it is packed with nutrients such as vitamins B12 and E. Additionally, steamed glutinous rice contains soluble fiber which helps regulate blood sugar levels throughout the day.
7. Rice Porridge or Congee
It is a common breakfast and lunch dish in many Asian nations. It is also a staple at the dim sum hall. It probably doesn’t sound all that exciting if you’ve never had it.
Congee, on the other hand, creates a smooth, soothing canvas to which you may add your preferred flavors and seasonings, just like a bowl of oats can be as straightforward or as fascinating as you want it to be.
Rice porridge or congee is a popular breakfast and dinner food in China and around the world. It is usually made with rice and water (or broth) cooked down into a thick porridge, savory versions with meat or seafood, sweet and vegetable versions, as well as different toppings such as soy sauce, pickles, or eggs.
Congee can be consumed cold or at room temperature. A common variation of congee is the pork congee which typically contains ground pork mixed into the porridge before steaming it.
Popular Chinese breakfast
Breakfast is the perfect time to refuel and gather your energy for the day. That’s why it’s important to know what the popular Chinese breakfast is. Some people prefer savory breakfasts while others enjoy sweet ones.
There are a variety of breakfast foods that you can find in China, from noodles and bun to crepes and eggs here. So, whether you’re a breakfast connoisseur or you’re just looking for something new to try, this comprehensive guide will have you covered. Bon appétit!
8. Jian Bing (Chinese Crepe)
Similar to crêpes, jian bing is a typical Chinese street snack. It is referred to be “one of China’s most popular street breakfasts” and is a sort of bing that is typically consumed for breakfast.
It is made up of a crepe made of wheat and grains, an egg, deep-fried crackers (called Bao Cui in Chinese), a couple of savory/spicy sauces, chopped scallions, and coriander. On busy mornings, Jian Bing is typically consumed as finger food as people are traveling to work or school (Watch the video in the recipe card below to see how street vendors make them).
Jian Bing gained popularity across the country despite being a basic and inexpensive cuisine because of its freshness (it is always prepared in front of the customers) and its intricate, multi-layered flavor and texture. When visiting China, you must try it without a doubt!
9. Scallion Flower Roll
Chinese flower buns, also known as hua juan, are both aesthetically pleasing and delicious. These scallion buns are surprisingly good despite being made with just a few basic ingredients: salt, five spice powder, and a lot of scallions. They can also be pan-fried for crispy bottoms.
Hua juan, also known as steamed scallion buns, is a common dim sum meal in China, particularly in the north.
Green onions are stacked in a pillowy, airy, and fluffy dough that is twisted into a distinctive form and steam-cooked to perfection. This straightforward dish can be served as a side dish with your preferred traditional Chinese dishes or as a snack during the day.
10. Wontons And Dumplings
Dumplings and wontons are one of the most popular breakfast items in China. They are usually boiled in a soup or soup stock and served with soy sauce or vinegar on top.
Popular variations include shrimp dumplings, pork dumplings, fish dumplings, and vegetable dumplings. You can also find them as starters or main courses at restaurants. You can also find it in wonton noodles as they are great toppings for wonton noodles.
11. Pancakes With Eggs
There’s a pancake for every region in the world, and each one is special in its way. For example, some are fluffy and others are crispy – making them perfect for breakfast! Pancakes can be made with a variety of ingredients, including eggs and vegetables.
The egg is stuffed inside the pancake to give it flavor and scent while also preventing taste influences from the past from seeping through to the surface. You will encounter a tasty egg omelet, a chewy pancake, paste, and then fresh lettuce leaves.
The interior wheat and oil mixture is what gives this pancake its unique flavor. When heated, it will cause bubbles to appear on the pancake, offering a serving of the liquid from the whisked egg. It is typically served with soy milk or Chinese congee for breakfast.
12. Stuffed Sticky Rice Roll
Delicious packed rice rolls known as Fan Tuan or Ci Fan are very well-liked in Shanghai and Taiwan. It is frequently consumed as a quick breakfast or lunch and is frequently served with a warm bowl of soymilk.
Youtiao (fried crueler), a protein like wheat floss, pickles, and something crunchy are typical fillings. Rice is the main component and is frequently cooked using sticky rice.
13. Steamed Eggs
If you’ve ever experienced Chinese steamed eggs, also known as egg custard, you’ll be amazed by how silky and flavorful they are.
Because jing shui dan is just steamed water and egg, it is also known as Chinese Steamed Egg, Egg Custard, or Steamed Water Egg. Chawanmushi and gyrran jjim are two of the unique varieties of Japanese and Korean cuisines, respectively.
Chinese steamed egg custard resembles flan or jiggly yellow gelatin. This is the most straightforward variety, though there are others.
Chinese steamed egg to perfection. Many Chinese youngsters find comfort in soft, smooth, and tender steamed eggs, which are also a time-saving dish for home cooks.
14. Hot And Dry Noodles
The meal of hot dry noodles, also known as reganmian in Chinese and translated as dried and spicy noodles, is a staple of Wuhan, the capital of the central Chinese province of Hubei.
Breakfast in China is typically a hot and dry noodles dish. It is filling, nutritious, and perfect for starting the day off right. There are variations of this dish depending on the region you are in – so be sure to try it out when you’re there!
Some people like to add boiled eggs or shredded pork to their noodles. So, breakfast isn’t just a meal – it’s an adventure too!
15. Scallion Oil Pancake
One of the most well-known and classic Chinese street dishes, the Chinese Scallions Pancake, also known as Green Onion Pancake or Congyoubing, is the perfect Chinese breakfast. These savory, crunchy pancakes may be found all around China.
If you’re looking for a savory and filling breakfast that is perfect for any time of the day, the scallion oil pancake is worth trying. Made from flour, green onion, and scallion oil, these pancakes have a delicious flavor that will leave you wanting more.
It is is a flat, salty, unleavened flour dough that is folded with green onion, oil, and salt. After that, pan fry it till it turns golden brown, giving it chewy texture with crispy edges.. As far as breakfast goes, the scallion oil pancake should not be missed!
16. Tea Eggs
In Asia, Chinese tea eggs—also referred to as marbled tea eggs or tea leaf eggs—are fairly common food. In essence, these Tea Eggs are hard-boiled eggs that have been steeped in a flavorful tea.
Hard-boiled eggs are given a mild cracking after which they are steeped in tea for several hours. In addition to the tea leaves, they also use spices like cinnamon, star anise, and cloves in our specialty tea.
This gives it a wonderfully distinctive flavor and scent. They taste great and have a lovely appearance.
There is a lot of interest in tea eggs in China where they are popularly consumed as an appetizer or snack. In fact, due to the high demand and popularity of this dish, there has even been a rise in related businesses catering to the needs of Chinese consumers overseas.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What are some Chinese breakfast foods?
Some people in China enjoy breakfast food that usually includes congee, hot and dry noodle, scallion pancakes, etc. Other popular items include steamed buns and pastries like crepe with eggs and bao zi.
2. Do Chinese eat eggs?
Eggs are deeply ingrained in Chinese culinary tradition. Without them, it would be difficult to envision Chinese cuisine. China has been incorporating eggs into cuisines ranging from simple to extravagant since the beginning of time.
3. What is a healthy Chinese breakfast?
For Chinese, if they want to have a healthy breakfast, they choose to have something like steamed buns, rice or wheat noodles, dumplings, congee, and dim sum. All of the food is considered nutritious, and delicious so if you’re curious about them, you should try them.
In this blog, I have provided you with a comprehensive guide to what Chinese people eat for breakfast.
From savory breakfast dishes like baozi (steamed buns) and dumplings to sweet breakfast items like buns with sugar paste and steamed buns filled with egg custard, you’ll find everything you need to start your day off right.
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