Beijing's best local breakfast foods

Start your morning like a local with these cheap eats

Baozi
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Baozi

Oh the classic baozi. Meat, vegetables or any combination in-between stuffed into one big bun for your taste buds’ amusement. The baozi is a Beijing staple. Though the baozi comes in two separate types, either big (dabao) or small (xiaobao) it is normally the bigger version that gets eaten for breakfast. Quick, portable and delicious, the baozi is the right way to start off the day. ~3RMB.

Baozi photo from Shutterstock

Youtiao
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Youtiao

Long stretches of tasty fried dough, the youtiao is great on its own, but its true value is its flexibility with other dishes. Stuff it inside a shaobing and make your own delicious sandwich, or order some rice congee and dip it in to add some flavor, the possibilities are endless when it comes to the Chinese fried breadstick. 1RMB.

youtiao photo from Shutterstock

Jianbing
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Jianbing

Probably the most recognizable on the list, the jianbing is a one of the many different kinds of Chinese pancakes you can enjoy for breakfast.  Dough is fried in oil on a hotplate and then an egg is cracked and spread on top.  Inside, a fried biscuit (guozi), veggies, and sauce top it off. Delicious and on pretty much every street corner in Beijing, the jianbing is the breakfast of choice if you’re on the go. 5RMB.

Congyoubing
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Congyoubing

Through a legend involving a China-sick Marco Polo, congyoubing used to be though of as the mythical predecessor of pizza. While this probably isn’t true, congyoubing is still delicious in its own right.  Flatbread dough cooked in oil with scallions, cong youbing is a great, greasy way to start your day. For some extra flavor add soy or vinegar sauce and some of that handy lajiao. 3RMB.

Congyoubing photo from Shutterstock

Jidan guangbing
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Jidan guangbing

Another take on the pancake. Thicker dough is fried in the same oil process as the jianbing. The difference is once the dough has firmed enough, it is opened slightly and the egg is fried inside the dough. Add in some sauce, spices and lettuce for free, or some meat for usually around 2RMB more.  3RMB

Rice congee
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Rice congee

For those who have never tried it, Chinese rice congee (zhou) takes a bit to get used to. Rice is boiled in water long enough for it to disintegrate, the result is a porridge that isn’t quite solid but isn’t quite liquid, either. The congee comes in a number of different flavors, but the most popular is likely the type that adds lean meat and an egg cooked in an alkaline solution (pidan shourou zhou). The egg has a black color and distinct flavor, but is definitely worth the try. Feeling a bit under the weather? Sipping hot zhou is the Chinese version of Mom’s chicken noodle soup. 3RMB

Rice congee photo from Shutterstock

Soy Milk
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Soy Milk

But what is one to wash all of this delicious breakfast food down with? Traditionally in China, the answer would be soy milk (doujiang). Many of the small breakfast stalls around the city still continue the tradition of serving hot soy milk with their breakfast. Delicious and nutritious for 1RMB.

Soy milk photo from Shutterstock

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