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breakfast in shanghai

I woke up at 6:30 this morning to the Happy Birthday song. Every morning, I hear the Birthday song. We’re staying at the Howard Johnsons, which is pretty swanky, if you can believe it, even nicer than the Park Plaza in Beijing. Anyways, even on the 12th floor with the windows shut, I could hear Happy Birthday wafting up from the street. I guess in a city of 23 million people, it gotta be somebody’s birthday…or maybe it’s an alarm to wake up the whole city?

That’s my family on the left, deciding what goodies to get for breakfast.

Just behind our hotel, there are tiny streets where, like in Beijing, you can get one dollar breakfasts! Slightly different from region to region, but all with the same greasy goodness. One morning we had hot, sweetened soya milk, rice congee, scallion pancakes, and tea eggs. Today we had pan-fried dumplings, pan-fried mini pork buns, and veggie steamed buns. These are the best I’ve tasted – crispy, juicy, and soooo yummy. My favourite is the mantou (steamed buns) filled with green veggie and chinese mushrooms. It’s hot, steamy, and spongey…my kids love it!

One vegetable mantou is only $1 RMB, which translates to 15 cents.

Other fillings are available, but the green veggie buns are best. Pork and cabbage filled buns is another popular combination.

Scallion pancake and sweetened hot soy milk in a bowl.

Plain rice congee with a stuffed crepe.

Sticky rice “burrito”. Filled with an assortment of preserved pickled vegetables, meats, salted duck egg yolk, and fried dough in the middle. It doesn’t look or sound appealing, but believe me, it’s really really good. Crunchy, crispy, chewy, salty and sweet, all rolled up in a neat little package.

So brace yourself…I’ve saved the best for last…can you hear it sizzling in the pan?

These pan-fried dumplings and mini buns, 4 for 38 cents!