If you’re a foodie looking for an authentic Chinese breakfast experience, then you have to join the Shanghai Breakfast Club. This group of locals is passionate about their four favorite breakfast foods and they’re eager to share their culture and traditions with visitors.
They’re like four stalwart soldiers who have been put in for decades to keep Shanghai humming. A list follows:
The Four Warriors of Shanghai’s Morning Meal
1. SESAME PANCAKE, DA BING (大饼)
The sesame flavor is strong, and the pastry is flaky. The square ones have a savory flavor, while the round ones have a sweet one. Put some fried dough inside, and you’ve got the key to the good life! If you’re craving Shanghai da bing, make sure to follow Judy’s recipe and make it at home.
2. FRIED DOUGH, YOU TIAO (油条)
They manage to be both crunchy and chewy. Could there be anything more paradisiacal?
As with any fried dish, they are delicious. You tiao, and da bing is like the peanut butter and jelly of Shanghainese cuisine.
In spite of the challenges, we have perfected a traditional you tiao recipe that can be made at home.
3. SOY MILK, DOU JIANG (豆浆)
You haven’t lived until you’ve tried soy milk freshly pressed from soybeans, even if you’ve eaten some that you thought was wonderful from the grocery. Its unique flavor profile combines savory and sweet elements, and the Chinese have capitalized on this with a wide variety of dishes.
It’s not uncommon for a meal of da bing and you tiao to leave you feeling parched, but when washed down with a cup of soy milk, it’s the stuff of culinary fantasies.
We’ve simplified the process by providing you with our own Soy milk recipe. Once you’ve done that, you’ll be able to prepare Dou Jiang Savory Soy Milk Soup whenever you choose!
Some folks like to add sugar, pig meat, and/or preserved/pickled veggies; I prefer mine without any of these. A traditional ci fan recipe is also available.
Try ci fan and dou jiang instead of the more common da bing, you tiao, and dou jiang.
Carbs are clearly a staple at the Shanghai breakfast table. Sometimes there are even more carbohydrates than that, like carbs on the side of carbs.
So if you’re ever in Shanghai, instead of eating the hotel breakfast, try one of these stands out. Eat like a native at whatever you end up trying first.
You can either take it back and split it among your traveling companions, dine inside the booths’ cramped quarters, or do what we do and eat while walking briskly from one stall to the next.
It’s as easy as asking what you want for breakfast to get all these delicious options. Ask a local, a janitor, or a kind old man who might be lonely. They will be eager to help you find your way.