Q: What do Chinese people eat for breakfast?
Breakfast is something we often ignore when talking about cuisine. Want to find out what Chinese people eat for breakfast? Let's have a taste of Chinese breakfasts from the south to the north.
Generally speaking, the typical Chinese breakfast varies from region to region. Let's begin with the Cantonese-style breakfast -- Yam Cha, or Dim Sum which are popular in Chinatowns around the world.
Yam cha, literally, drink tea, is what Guangdong and HK people in particular do if they go out for breakfast in the early morning. But if a Cantonese friend invites you out to yam cha, allow plenty of time to enjoy it since itís not to be rushed. Usually, it is a great way to spend a Saturday or Sunday morning.
Dim sum are little snacks, usually steamed, deep fried, or boiled, and the variety is enormous, hundreds of them, mostly savoury. Like ha gao, A steamed wafer-thin rice-flour wrapping filled with baby shrimp or minced shrimp and some minced meat. The skin of rice-flour is so translucent that the ingredients can be clearly seen.
Another thing worth mentioning is that leaves, no matter it's Lotus leaves, banana leaves or maybe some other types, are used to wrap things in and steam or boiled for a very special flavour. A prime expression for it can be found in a kind of steamed fried rice with chicken wrapped in lotus leaf - fresh fragrance of lotus leaf.
Besides, there are also other savoury ones. If you have a sweet tooth, then the water chestnut cake, being one of the most famous, coconut snowballs, and thousand-layer sweet cake with egg topping are your best choices.
In addition to dim sum, thereís lots of different types of tea in China - black tea, green tea, oolong tea, chrysanthamum tea, puíer tea etc etc, and the green tea with dim sum is a wonderful combination to help the digestion.
However, Chinese-styled breakfast is much more than tea and dim sum. Noodles seem to be very common breakfast as well.
In Yunnan Province, southwest of China, the spicy and delicious oodles are very common breakfast. But in Guizhou, big bowl of wheat noodles are often poured with a falf inch layer of hot pig fat.
People in the North tend to eat more wheat - for instance, steamed stuffed buns, deep-fried twisted dough stick, and various other steamed or fried snacks made from wheat flour. Youtiao (ad lib) and baozi are just two famous breadfast snacks in this regard.
Last but not the least, there is still a kind of typical Chinese food, which are always served at the breadfast table -- Zongzi. Zongzi is pyramid-shaped and made of sticky rice wrapped in bamboo or reed leaves. Before it can ben eaten, it needs to boiled in water for ages and ages. Zongzi can be both savory and sweet. The sweet ones usually have sweet bean paste stuffing and savory ones usually have ham or pork with chestnut and sometimes Chinese mushrooms and egg yolk. Generally speaking, it is very popular in the lower Yangtze River Valley. In Jiaxing city of Zhejiang Province, there are loads of zongzi stalls selling hot zongzi every morning, something like hotdog stalls in the US, people often buy one for breakfast on their way to school every day.
As for Chinese breakfast, almost everything is cooked, and also hot. Usually, milk is boiled for drinking in the morning and everything is reheated in the microwaves before they are served as breakfast.
(China.org.cn, June 24, 2002)