Start Your Morning With Chinese Breakfast Foods Instead

By Ashley King

Most North Americans experience Chinese food through the phone book, ordering deep fried egg rolls and fried rice for take out. If you live closer to a large city, you may get more authentic cuisine in restaurants clustered together in Chinatown or Little Korea. In the end, the meals being served up are either lunch or dinner, with little mention of breakfast. It's too bad, because Chinese style cooking makes for a wonderful breakfast. Here are some ideas that you can serve up yourself.

Like most Asian dishes, rice plays a major role on the breakfast table. However, a Chinese breakfast is a much simpler meal than their large dinners that feature multiple courses. Even if there's lots of time, such as on the weekend, breakfast is still short and sweet. Small, but full of calories, a Chinese breakfast will get you ready for the day.

Most Chinese breakfast foods are deep fried. The most common Chinese breakfast pastry is the Deep Fried Devil, a doughy braid that resembles a North American cruller, but is two to three times longer. Other deep fried breakfast foods include pancakes, noodles or a bun.

The perfect accompaniment to these deep fried selections is another Chinese favorite known as congee. A rice or soybean based porridge, congee can also include a variety of meats or vegetables to complete the meal. Frequently, the only home made dish at a Chinese family breakfast is the congee, while the deep fried foods are purchased from street sellers.

You would probably think that tea would be the beverage of choice for a Chinese breakfast, but you would be wrong. Since the breakfast porridge of congee can be quite watery (or milky, depending on what is used), it is the liquid part of the Chinese breakfast.

You might think that all Asian cultures would have a similar breakfast to the Chinese, but that isn't actually the case. In contrast to the hurried Chinese breakfast, breakfast in Japan is a much more substantial affair. Called 'morning rice' in Japanese, rice is the main ingredient of a traditional Japanese breakfast. Similar to Chinese congee, Japanese breakfast will usually consist of rice or soybean based soup called 'Miso'. Another soybean based breakfast food in Japan is Natto, a combination of fermented soybeans, mustard, leeks, green onions and soy sauce, all served over a bed of rice.

Breakfast traditions vary in each of the Asian countries. In Korea, breakfast is a big meal because lunches are smaller. They usually feature fermented cabbage known as Kimchi, and soup made from pork or beef. In Thailand, breakfast is similar to the Chinese version, featuring Khao porridge and pa thong go pastries. In Singapore, the specialty is Kaya, a jam-like concoction of coconut milk, sugar, vanilla and eggs.

Quite a switch from the traditional western breakfast of bacon and eggs, Asian breakfasts are just as tasty and filling, but quite possibly more nutritious. - 31805

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