Tastebuds

A food blog from everywhere!

Chinese Breakfasts

Well, I think that I’ve used the school-work excuse way too many times now that it’s probably becoming apparent that the lack of updates is more due to my personal laziness and affinity for procrastination than uncontrollable academic factors. The good thing (for me) though, is that since this is my blog, everyone has to put up with it! =P

So, I would like to break this month-long hiatus with a post about breakfast. Typical breakfasts in of a common Guangzhou-er, to be exact, and which, contrary to prevailing beliefs in the West, does not consist solely of dainty dim sum items everyday. In fact, I think that the real, authentic early weekday morning food culture here is something that’s severely under-appreciated and over-looked by outsiders.

During the weekdays, breakfast is a very quick, on-the-go affair for most people. Walk into any Chinese city on a busy weekday morning and you’re bound to see loads of people hurrying along holding some form of bread-based product in one hand and a soy or milk drink in the other. People here usually buy breakfast rather than take the hassle to cook something at home. Only in the weekends do most people go out for dim sum (which is more brunch than breakfast).

Breakfast is sold everywhere. There are restaurants that set up steaming stations at their fronts, small food stalls that specialize on breakfast foods, and green food carts that only appear during the breakfast hours and disappear thereafter. These vendors all carter to the fast-paced Guangzhou life by being fast and strategically stationed (those food carts, for instance, are always found at major intersections).

So what sort of breakfast fare is typically available? I think that by far the most popular are Chinese baked breads. You know, the pineapple bun, red bean bun, pork floss bun…that sort of stuff. In my opinion, though, these breads shouldn’t be styled “Western” because they are in a whole category of their own. They all have that same characteristic soft, spongy texture, lack texture variable, and have pretty much the same sweet taste with some extra ingredients thrown in. They’re nice once in a while, but I find that they get boring pretty quickly.

Even though those Western-style Chinese breads are pretty popular, those items are usually only available from bakeries or those green food carts. Restaurants and food stalls, on the other hand, sell more Chinese items such as steamed buns, youtiao, congee, and Northern-style panfried breads. These items are on average a lot cheaper than those “Western” styled breads and thus they consist of a large bulk of a workman’s diet. I find that these Chinese items have more variety and are a lot more interesting than those pineapple buns. Take the steamer stalls, for instance, which sell not only white steamed buns but also glutinuous rice siu mai, corn on a cob, fried Chinese dough sticks, congee, tea eggs, soy bean milk, etc. And these items are all extremely cheap as well, with each costing about 1-2RMB. Although the quality may not be on par with fluffy + sugary restaurant steamed buns, the cheapness still equals bang for buck.

Sorry for the lack of good photos in this post; I’m always a little edgy about taking photos of random things.

Next up:
Hopefully I’ll eventually come back to those unfinished Singapore posts

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February 21, 2010 Posted by | Breakfast, Uncategorized | Leave a comment