Sunday, April 27, 2008

Breakfast - round the globe, partially...


What did you have for breakfast today?

A simple question for the most important meal of the day. Forget peanut butter lunch, and save one-pot/one-dish meals for dinner.

For many, breakfast is a meal to start you off with energy, and comfort your soul for the rest of the day. Back in the US, we usually ran out of breakfast options and variety. This is THE meal which made us homesick for Asia most of the times. Yes. Serious. Other than our daily ritual of cereals + milk; and pampering ourselves once in a while with scramble, omelette, sunny-side up, over-easy eggs, bacon + sausage links, and pancakes - there is really no where we could hang out at 8am early morning. Most of the cafes open at 10am or later, then only left with 24-hr Denny's or IHOP.

American breakfast fare at Denny's

Other than egg + bacon + sausage + rosti/hash brown, it was still egg + bacon + sausage + rosti/hash brown. Just thinking about this twice in a row is making me lose my appetite. Give me an outrageous one like the Maserati Omelette will not make things any better.


Maserati Omelette at Flames Coffee Shop and Bakery


Bacon on maple syrup drizzled waffle

Maybe it's just ME. The ME who always prefer savory than sweet, even for the morning meal. Pancakes, waffles, crepes, dough nuts, cakes - they don't call my name during this time of the day. I may even attempt to add some bacon on a waffle drizzled with maple syrup, just to have a breakfast kick!

Ok. We, back in Asia, are overly-pampered (or just ME again?). Dim sum, noodles (all kinds!), egg rolls, porridge/rice congee, soy-bean milk, pan-fried turnip cake, fried carrot cake etc. You can have all of these for breakfast, and yes...why can't you be pampered ? Best part of it, rise and shine to it. Most of these establishments open early (7am onwards, till late) and some even... round the clock! Read again - good food round the clock!

I am not kidding.

The famously known YongHe Soybean Milk (永和豆浆) in Taiwan runs 24hr and so does Lai Lai Soy Bean store (来来豆浆). Boring? You can have the usual soybean milk (comes lightly sweetened) or even salty soybean milk 咸豆浆- that is savory-packed with cubes of fried dough sticks. Alternatively, get your whole long dough sticks and dip them into your bowl of warm soothing soybean milk. Soybean milk chain stores as such, are breakfast characteristics of Taiwan, in my opinion. Wait! There are also egg rolls (蛋 饼), pan fried chives bun (韭菜盒子 ), and even beef steak wraps for breakfast!

Clockwise from left: soybean milk, pan fried daikon cake, fried dough sticks, egg rolls


Soybean milk 咸豆浆- that is savory-packed with cubes of fried dough sticks, and drizzles of sesame oil


Beef steak wraps in Lai Lai Soy Bean store 来来豆浆

So, what is breakfast in Hong Kong ?

Macaroni soup, scrambled eggs with toasts in tea cafes.


















Dim sum at traditional tea house includes steamed pork dumpling siew mai, and steamed shrimp dumpling har gow.


Get more fancy when you can have steamed glutinous rice, braised phoenix claws (chicken feet) and steamed beancurd skin rolls.

Clockwise from left: steamed glutinous rice wrapped in lotus leaf, braised phoenix claws (chicken feet) and steamed beancurd skin rolls

The older generation in Hong Kong enjoy their congee for breakfast.

Mixed pork porridge 及第粥 - typically with lean pork slices, minced pork balls, pork liver and pork intestines. Full of pork flavor sans any pungent smell of innards.

We also have rice porridge/congee back in Singapore, and even Malaysia. Crack in an egg and that does the trick.

See that egg yolk lurking in the rice congee ?

While in Hong Kong, they have toast + scrambled eggs, in Singapore/Malaysia, we have toast + coconut jam (kaya) with butter.


Talking about rice being a Chinese staple - we can even have "solid" rice for breakfast. Nasi lemak is one perfect example. Blessed with a multi-racial culture, a cornucopia of Malay and Indian flavors! Mee Siam to Roti Prata, they spice up and kick-start your day!

Roti prata, or roti canai (as known in Malaysia)

Simple fare such as fried vermicelli can be a take-out for many working bees. Without fail, I will always smell the taste of this fried bee hoon in the office of many.

And without fail, what is breakfast without a good 'ol cup of aromatic coffee. Give me that cup of joe! American, French Roast, or Kopi-Gaw! And YES YES...I heard many of you prefer to dip your fried dough sticks in coffee!



What did you have for breakfast today? :D

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