5 Beijing-Style Breakfast You Must Try2016-08-02 09:44:46Share:
So you've had your fair share of youtiao (fried dough) at your KFC on the corner, but don't want to put down the extra cash for cereal? No problem: We've rounded up several quick traditional Beijing-style breakfast options for your morning commute.
1. Doufu nao (Brain Tofu)
The name of this soft version of tofu makes it sound like it belongs in a bio lab, but the dish actually has nothing to do with brains at all. Try it with soy sauce or sesame oil, chili sauce, boiled peanuts, mushrooms and bits of beef for a well-rounded start to the day.
Jianbing was something I uncovered many years ago while having lunch at art school. One of my friends was enamored by jianbing and would have one every day. Once I remarked to a friend that the delicious taste of jianbing was like a jianbing-gasm.
As Luxury Eats blogger puts it: the first bite reveals the crepe-like outer wrap, and if you dig deeper, you'll find the sweetness of the hoisin sauce and the green onions. Another few bites and the fried-dough center that gives jianbing its name is uncovered.
3. Cha Jidan (tea eggs)
This salty, but protein-heavy snack is made by cracking the shell of a boiled egg and soaking it in black tea leaves for several hours. Another version incorporates Chinese five-spice powder into the broth.
4. Yang Za Tang and Chao Gan (The meaty stews)
Chinese yang za tang is the answer to Scottish haggis. Translated as “mixed lamb soup,” yang za tang contains all the inner workings of a sheep. However, as evidenced on this Chinese forum, it is a fairly tasty favorite. One blogger advised to eat the oil early in the morning as a light, healthy snack. Others reported that the soup helps people lose weight or cure their colds. Yang za tang is often stewed in a broth with cilantro or peppers for flavor.
Likewise, chaogan (or as any Beijinger would correct you, chaoganr) is a local favorite. A mix of pork liver, pork intestine and starch, the taste may be seasoned with garlic, vinegar and soy sauce. While chăo (炒, fried) is in the name of this dish, all meat is actually boiled. Some people attribute the name to the Manchu word colambi, which means “to cook.” Two stories surround the history of chaogan. In one, its elements ofao gan (stewed pork liver) and ao fei (stir-fried pork lung) hint at traditional foods in the Song Dynasty. In the second legend, a chef at a restaurant during the Qing Dynasty prepared the stew by separating pork heart and lung. Stewing both animal parts together was thought to cause simple-mindedness.
5. Zhou (porridge)
There's something for everyone when it comes to porridge. You can have it sweet by adding pumpkin or taro, or opt for salty with mushroom or pork variations. Try it in a bowl or opt for a blended zhou "smoothie" on the go.
Whether it’s called zhou, xifan, mitang (米汤, rice soup) or shuifan (水饭, water rice) , there is no way around it: this is the poor man’s porridge. Essentially rice boiled down with water, zhou has a soup-like texture and plain taste. For many,zhou is a staple food and ode to days past. The Xia Dynasty started growing millet more than 8,000 years ago and today people celebrate with the La Ba Rice Porridge Festival. However, not all zhouis created equal: “All zhou is xifan, but not all xifan is zhou.” Xifan is zhou at its most basic, usually consisting of water, plain rice and sometimes beans. Zhou’s varieties include “eight treasure congee” (八宝粥 bābăo zhōu), shredded pork (肉松粥 ròusōng zhōu), preserved egg and meat (皮蛋瘦肉粥 pídàn shòu ròu zhōu) and corn (玉米粥 yùmĭ zhōu).
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