China is increasingly a country on the move. One luxury that people on the move don’t necessarily have is a leisurely breakfast. Many Chinese people and expats therefore take advantage of China’s numerous street food breakfast options. Favorites vary widely across the country, but here are some of the roadside morning snacks worth getting out of bed for.
Chayedan (Tea eggs)
Possibly the quickest and easiest street food breakfast snack in China is Chayedan (tea eggs). These hard-boil eggs have their shells cracked to let in the flavor as they simmer in tea on a low heat. This is a great high protein, no carb breakfast for those on a get-buff-quick diet.
Possibly China’s most popular breakfast food, among both locals and expats, is the scrumptious wonder pancake that is Jianbing. These quickly cooked crepes can vary greatly from stall to stall, so shop around until you find your perfect fit. Generally speaking though, Jianbing contains a deep fried crispy cracker, spicy sauce, a sprinkling of sunflower and sesame seeds, spring onions and chopped coriander. They’re definitely not super healthy, but they’re a lifesaver if you’re hungover.
Dou-Jiang Youtiao (Soya milk and dough sticks)
Probably the most commonly seen combo breakfast in China is soya milk and dough sticks. The milk may be freshly blended or boiled, and the dough sticks are basically a Chinese version of churro. Obviously dipping the dough sticks into the soya milk is the way god intended this breakfast beauty to be scoffed. This is a great choice for those with a sweet tooth.
Baozi (Steamed buns)
There is rather a lot of variation under the general heading of ‘baozi’, but figuring out what’s what by yourself is part of the fun. For example, Tangbao, also sometimes know as Xiaolongbao, come filled with soup, roubao come stuffed with meat, and manbao come without any stuffing at all. You’ll also find savory buns stuffed with a variety of vegetables, and sweet buns bursting with bean paste or custard. Baozi make for a fast and easy takeaway breakfast that can be demolished at your desk or on the move.
No guide to Chinese breakfast food would be complete without a mention of Zhou, AKA congee. This in-offensive rice soup is best described to Westerners as a runny rice pudding, although it can vary widely depending on the topping. It can be savory and accompanied by pickled vegetables, tofu, eggs, meat and peanuts, or sweet with red bean or sesame. Zhou is a great breakfast option if you’re feeling a little under the weather.
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Keywords: China street food breakfast best Chinese breakfasts
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