It may seem like a given to us that breakfast foods include things like eggs, bacon, pancakes, and cereal. That isn’t a universal truth, though, because what people consider breakfast food changes from country to country and from culture to culture.
Do you wonder what people in China eat for breakfast? You’re in for a treat if you’ve never thought about it before.
We’re going to explore 15 popular Chinese breakfast foods to eat.
I’ll cover modern and traditional dishes, so you get the best of both worlds. Get ready to eat!
First up is congee (稀飯), or rice porridge.
Before you’re judgmental about rice for breakfast, remember that rice isn’t much different from oatmeal or grits when prepared like this.
You make it by boiling rice in water until it reaches a pudding-like consistency.
Serve it warm and top it with sweet or savory ingredients to suit your tastes. It’s incredibly filling and cheap.
Jian Bing (煎饼) is one of the most popular breakfast foods in China.
It’s a deliciously thin pancake that you can make at home for cheap. It has four simple parts: crackers, batter, eggs, and sauce.
It only takes about 25 minutes to make. Save time in the morning by pre-making your crackers and batter.
Traditional scallion pancakes (蔥油煎餅) are incredibly simple yet delicious.
All you need is flour, salt, water, and green onions/scallions.
You make them out of dough rather than batter, so the resulting texture is different from American pancakes.
It’s a nice balance between a crunchy outside and a chewy inside.
Like Renée Zellweger, you had me at fried dough.
Youtiao (油条) is easy to make and even easier to eat.
The one downside is how long it takes for the dough to rise, but the taste is surely worth the wait.
It helps to have a buddy for cooking and to eat this one.
Ji Dan Bing (鸡蛋饼) is a popular breakfast street food in China.
They’re a type of pancake made out of thin dough.
You throw the dough in an oiled pan and crack an egg on top.
Flip it over, cook the egg side, and add your sauce. It gets lettuce for balance, and it’s good to go.
You’re going to love this Chinese porridge with pork and century duck eggs.
It’s so rich and decadent I’m salivating just thinking about it.
This recipe is more involved, so you’ll want to prepare it on a weekend morning.
Youtiao pairs very well with this porridge, too.
These egg dumplings aren’t
your standard Chinese dumplings, but maybe there’s no better word. I love them all the same.
They’re like mini-omelets with vegetable and noodle filling. It’s easy to prepare and will keep you full.
My favorite way to eat them is on top of rice with cheese and sour cream.
Ban Fan (拌饭) is my go-to use for leftover rice.
It’s beyond delicious and so easy to put together. You’ll feel like a professional chef for so little effort.
You throw the seasonings in a bowl and pour heated oil on top. Add your cooked rice and your eggs. Mix and eat.
Chinese doughnut sticks look a lot like churros with no cinnamon.
They’re a popular choice for breakfast in China because they’re portable and they pair well with a lot of other foods. The sticks are light yet filling and airy yet crunchy.
These are hard to make but worth the wait.
Fan Tuan (/饭团) traditionally uses those doughnut sticks from above.
You stuff some sticky rice with doughnut sticks and vegetables. The result is something that resembles a breakfast burrito or a giant sushi roll.
The taste and texture are unbelievable. Each bite is a divine experience. You can make it with all kinds of fillings, too.
I’d never heard of
steaming eggs before I tried a Chinese steamed egg. It’s amazing.
Thanks to the gentler method of steaming, your egg will turn out creamier.
You can steam yours with water to get the most authentic egg flavor or steam it with chicken stock for a rich umami flavor.
Add soy sauce to send it over the top.
These egg and scallion crepes are very similar to scallion pancakes. The difference is in the texture.
Crepes are made from batter, while those pancakes are made from dough.
They’re both delicious, so you could always make both at the same time. I love to top mine with sour cream.
Xiao Mian (重庆小面), also known as Chongqing noodles, is the spiciest breakfast item on this list.
You’ve got long noodles in an aromatic broth, spicy meat (seasoned with chili), blanched vegetables, and sweet bean sauce all in one bowl.
It’s quite a treat if you can take all the heat.
Discovering all these Chinese breakfast food dishes has opened my mind up to the possibilities of what I can eat for breakfast.
I love Sheng Jian Bao (/生煎包).
The dough wrappers are stuffed with pork and spices and then pan-seared. It’s like a warm hug wrapped up in a bun.
Chinese tea eggs are the perfect breakfast food to round out this list. They’re simple and dependable.
Their name is a giveaway for their preparation since you marinate soft or hard-boiled eggs in tea.
The eggs soak for 12-24 hours and come out looking beautifully marbled. It’s so easy to make these in advance for breakfast all week.
Try some of these Chinese breakfast dishes to start your day, and check out
other classic Chinese dishes while you’re here!
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