Every morning, 72-year-old Li Tingdu travels from his home in Pudong to Nanjing Road E. in downtown to have breakfast with decades-long friends.
His destination? A McDonald's restaurant near Jiangxi Road M. His breakfast? A hamburger and a cup of tea or coffee.
"When McDonald's began to serve breakfast at 4 yuan to 6 yuan (48 to 72 U.S. cents), we decided to meet there because it's cheaper," Li said.
Li and his friends aren't the only Shanghai residents giving up traditional Chinese breakfast for something fast and cheap.
Such staples as "paofan" - leftover rice boiled or soaked in hot water - are going the way of rickshaws.
Many families have turned to packaged food for breakfast at home. But more and more residents, especially the younger generation, are turning to grabbing a quick bite at a Western-style fast-food restaurant or a roadside stall.
"Our family never eats paofan now," said Yin Yajuan, a housewife. "We usually take bread and milk, but sometimes we eat microwaved convenience food, like dumplings, for a change."
Zhou Sheng, a university freshman, said he prefers cakes, eggs and steamed buns for breakfast, although his parents still eat paofan for "stomach comfort."
In residential areas, roadside stalls that sell traditional food such as "youtiao" - deep-fried twisted dough sticks - and pancakes still provide breakfasts to nearby residents and passers-by.
"I have sold sesame seed cake and soybean milk here every morning for the last five years," said Xiao Zhang from Anhui Province, who runs a stall on Guonian Road in the city's northeast.
"To my surprise, my customers complained about my shutting down during the Spring Festival holiday. They said they had nowhere else to eat," he said.
Some residents, however, questioned the hygiene of the food sold by roadside vendors. Also, many operate without a license, they say.
Residents weary of eating at roadside stalls helped fast-food chains, both from home and abroad.
McDonald's, which has 36 outlets in Shanghai, began offering breakfast last July. Although the menu is limited - hamburgers and tea or coffee - the restaurants have soon become crowded with early morning eaters.
"Sales are growing month by month," said Bobby Mai, marketing director of Shanghai Hualian McDonald's Co. Ltd. "Most customers are white-collar workers and those accustomed to the Western lifestyle."
McDonald's breakfast crowds, however, don't worry KFC, its biggest Western competitor in the city.
"We have no plans to serve breakfast so far," said Xu Zhen, spokeswoman for Tricon China, which operates KFCs and Pizza Huts in the country.
Also, foreign fast-food restaurants aren't the only players in town.
Shanghai New Asia Snack Co. Ltd., one of the city's largest Chinese food chain operators with more than 100 outlets, offers 50 selections for breakfast. The most popular item is "dabao," a large steamed bun filled with meat or vegetables.
"I definitely prefer Chinese food," said Wang Yuhua, 45, a driver. "For most Chinese, traditional food is what they really want to eat every day, while Western food is just something for a change of pace."
Xu Ying, manager of one of New Asia outlets near Luxun Park, said older people who exercise, employees who catch buses nearby and students who study in an adjacent school are the store's regular breakfast customers.