Breakfast in Beijing

I love Chinese breakfast food, especially what you get on the streets, such as 煎饼 jiānbing. A few months ago I was in Beijing with some good friends and they took me to a simple little restaurant for breakfast. Nothing special, but nonetheless delicious. This is pretty typical fare for breakfast in the North of China.

That morning we had 素包子 sù bāozi (vegetarian teamed dumplings), 油条 yóutiáo (fried bread sticks), 蒸饺 zhēngjiǎo (steamed meat dumplings), and hot 豆浆 dòujiāng (soybean milk).

素包子 Vegetarian steamed dumpling

素包子 Vegetarian steamed dumpling

包子 bāozi is a generic term for steamed bread. They can be simply steamed bread with no filling or they can come with a variety of fillings. Vegetarian ones usually have spinach, mushrooms, and a number of other kinds of vegetables. Meat fillings are usually pork and seasoned with ginger, garlic, and will often have scallions, or mushrooms. They differ by region as well.

油条 fried break sticks

油条 fried break sticks

You can find 油条 yóutiáo all over China. They are commonly eaten for breakfast, either alone, or as part of another dish. For example, 煎饼 jiānbing will often have a 油条 inside. It is often eaten with 粥 zhōu in the south. Sometimes it is cut up into chunks and tossed into the 粥 zhōu sort of like croutons.

蒸饺 steamed dumplings

蒸饺 steamed dumplings

蒸饺 zhēngjiǎo are a variety of 饺子 jiǎozi that are steamed instead of boiled or fried. They usually have a meat filling. These also vary by region but are all pretty similar. are a variety of 饺子 that are steamed instead of boiled or fried. They usually have a meat filling. These also vary by region but are all pretty similar.

豆浆 soybean milk

豆浆 soybean milk

豆浆 dòujiāng is simply soy milk, but is often very fresh. In the Winter it is usually served hot in a bowl, like in the photo. It is a great way to warm up in the morning.

Below are a couple photos of 油条 yóutiáo in 煎饼  jiānbing. In the first photo you can see it just under the 煎饼 and in the second photo it is rolled up in it.

Making 煎饼

Making 煎饼


9 thoughts on “Breakfast in Beijing

  1. Chinese breakfast has been interesting to me since I heard about what it usually contained. I tend to think of breakfast as eggs or something light, and I figured it would mostly also pertain to eggs and other light flavored items. However, the fried breadsticks have caught me by surprise, with or without the soymilk due to the kind of harsh starchiness they bring to an early meal. I have tried this kind of Chinese breakfast once before, but I’m still kind of uncertain on how I felt about it.

  2. Breakfast in China seems very different from the United States. To me, it seems as though many of the options, at least portrayed in this post, are very bread based and steamed, whereas many of the breakfast options here in the US are stove top, egg, potato, and breakfast meat based. Some interesting questions I have are 1) is there a breakfast drink other than tea that is drank with breakfast, like coffee in the US? and 2) are breakfast options in China pretty universal across the different cuisines with small changes such as differences in meat and vegetable options or do they vary drastically?

    • In some parts of China it is common to drink fresh soy milk with breakfast, often hot if it is Winter. There are some common things people eat all around the country but there is also some variation depending on where you are.

  3. I love seeing how different the breakfast foods are in China compared to in America. Other than typical breakfast meats like bacon and sausage, Americans do not really eat foods such as dumplings for breakfast — in fact, a lot of people might view that as shocking! The picture you took of the 蒸饺 looks delicious, I have eaten similar things when with my family. I hope to experience a common breakfast like this one day when I go to China! I will definitely make sure to check out all the breakfast food Beijing has to offer.

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