One of the things I miss the most about home is breakfast.
I’m not talking about just any breakfast you can find in a diner, or even a roadside restaurant in China. This is the stuff you can only find at home, and every Chinese home has its own traditions.
There’s the Cantonese tradition of yum cha- or dim sum, in the North where wheat is abundant, theres steamed, stuffed buns and deep fried dough sticks, in Yunnan its bowls of rice noodles in soup, and in Sichuan there’s dumplings and noodles slathered in chili oil- yes, even at 7 in the morning.
My family always liked variety, some days its lao zao- a fermented glutinous rice wine with rice balls, dates, osthmanthus flower buds, some days its deep fried crullers with freshly made hot soybean milk. Most days its congee with plenty of savoury side dishes to go with it. There’s something about congee that is so immensely satisfying. Its hearty, you can put anything in it from beans to fish to pork, and its the perfect base for a ton of other side dishes.
Some of my favourites are salted duck eggs, pickled string beans, and doufu ru- spicy fermented bean curd. Of course most of these are made from scratch, and that means I rarely have the patience to recreate it for myself.
Pictured here is the breakfast I had on a recent visit home. Almost everything was home made, including the salted duck eggs, thousand year old eggs, pickled onions, green beans and ginger.
What are some Chinese breakfast traditions in your family?