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Breakfast Breads

March 15, 2016 — Leave a comment

Most of the nicer hotels I have stayed in China have a breakfast buffet, and today I want to mention some of the breads that can be found at the buffets. Usually you can find the traditional manto, which is a solid white steamed bread or multi-grain bread, but I don’t think I have ever seen a bagel. The manto is usually served warm and in small serving sizes for breakfast. Much larger sizes of manto are found for the other meals.


breads2In the picture to the left, you can see a couple of breads that are common on the breakfast buffets. The one furthest away is a fried bread, sometimes it is hollow. The item closet to the camera is a pastry which has a very flaky exterior. Inside is a sweet paste and I will say it tastes like figs. The pastries are reasonably filling, but the fried bread isn’t filling at all.

It is common in hotels that have foreigners staying there to have toast of various shapes and flavors. On my last trip, a friend with me wanted toast and butter. I must admit that I got a good laugh watching them try to spread their butter with chopsticks!breads3

There are several differences between the breakfast eaten in the states and in China. Even the utensils we use are different, but both chop sticks and forks work equally well for the delicious meals that are served.

I am no dietitian, but I think the average diet in China is healthier than the foods commonly used in the states. Some examples of this would be the vegetables that are offered at breakfast. This is a type of cabbage with carrots mixed with it.


Another healthy option would be salad for breakfast. Also, fruit is available. Often, there will be a watermelon or beautifully carved cantaloupe on display.


Additional selections may include soup or sweet potatoes, which may have more of a yellow color than what you normally see in the states. Usually, there will be a couple of different soups on a buffet. One may be more like porridge; the other may be more like a broth.



Meat is offered, but it isn’t exactly like what we have in the states. As you can see in this next picture, the bacon (left) and sausage (right) are a little different for the Americans enjoying a breakfast in China.


I saved the best for last! This next picture is of a breakfast noodle dish that is wonderful! Sometimes, it may have meat or thinly sliced vegetables in it, but it is delicious however it comes! Believe me, you will want to get seconds of this dish!








Not to sound contradictory, but there are many similarities and many differences between hotel breakfast buffets in the states and those in China. As I mentioned in an earlier blog, some are complimentary and some have an additional charge.

Let’s start with the similarities! People can easily find and enjoy coffee at virtually all breakfast buffets. Unfortunately, I am not a coffee drinker, so I can’t speak to how the coffee tastes at these hotels.


Another similarity is toast. At this one, the bread is thicker than normal loaf bread, but you can still put it in a toaster, if you prefer yours that way. You also have an assortment of muffins from which to choose. If you look closely at the picture below, you can even see the jelly.


Keeping the bread and pastry theme going, here are your options. The round pastries have a very flaky exterior and some have a sweet red bean or fig paste inside. The bread is fried and it tastes delicious, too!


There are additional breads common for breakfast in China. These breads are steamed, so they are very white. Some are just plain bread balls called “manto,” and some are called “jaozi”, which are steamed bread balls stuffed with a paste. The paste can have many options, such as: pork, shrimp, egg and vegetable. I think pork is the most common; they are my favorite. It is also common to see the jaozi in the wicker steam bowls stacked one on top of another.




What would breakfast be without eggs! Frequently there will be someone frying eggs at a designated area or maybe even making omelets. By the way, brown eggs are very common in China!


One final thing they have in common: I enjoy them very much!

Whenever you travel it is always a good idea to have some bottled water with you. Bottled water is inexpensive and easy to find in China.  Most breakfast buffets at hotels in China will offer a juice that looks like watered down orange juice.  I want to caution you about drinking this. It may have been mixed with water that isn’t safe for you to drink.  A surprise for you will be with the milk.  The milk served may be hot milk; there may also be soy milk available as well.  Also, there is a high probability that the coffee will already have milk added. Enjoy!


There are a broad range of hotels in China, so there is a vast variety of what you may see on a breakfast buffet.  Yes, I did say buffet, which is what most hotels have. Some of the nicer hotels will have a menu from which you may order.  At a less expensive hotel, the only things an American may recognize are boiled eggs.  By the way, sometimes the eggs will be a dark green, and they may already be sliced for you.  This is a wonderful opportunity to be adventurous and try some new foods.  I have enjoyed many surprises on the breakfast buffet!  At a nicer hotel, you will see more western food along with the Chinese food.  You will have to check with the front desk about paying for breakfast as, in some hotels, breakfast is complimentary.