Hmm, what to eat for Beijing breakfast …
Well, you may be wondering what the choices are. Here’s a good selection:
- Man tou 馒头 (a type of plain Chinese bread)
- Jiao zi 饺子 (dumplings)
- You tiao 油条 (fried dough)
- Cong you bing 葱油饼 (scallion pancakes)
- Shao bing 烧饼 (sort of like a cross between a biscuit and a croissant. A very lard-heavy hybrid of the two.)
- Zhou or congee 粥 (porridge)
So as you can probably tell, my latest dilemma has been a little extra room in the old spare tire. The Chinese breakfast seems even more carb-heavy than pancakes or French toast and there is no shortage of Beijing breakfast street food to choose from. This, plus the fact that the Beijing Pollution index dictates my exercise and outdoor activities schedule, has put me on a low carb diet.
But is it possible?
Well, the short answer is that anywhere in the world, a low-carb diet is tough. Anyone who’s tried it knows what I mean. What I have found is that you really have to drastically reduce your carb intake from any of the foods I mentioned above, and even fruits and root vegetables like potatoes and carrots for the first week (along with a whole lot of water and exercise).
But some people think a low carb diet is a license to eat as much meat or fatty foods as you like. That’s as good as asking for high blood pressure, diverticulitis, and kidney or gall stones the size of meatballs. Instead, people should be eating more leafy green veggies and low carb veggies like celery and cucumbers. China is the best place for this and this low carb diet has made vegetables my daily staple. The effect has been pretty real and fast. I assume this works anywhere, but the low cost and nice variety of fresh vegetables in the local markets here in Beijing helps.
Maybe a little Stir Fried Amaranth? Who says you can’t eat leafy greens for breakfast?
Water spinach is plentiful also and very inexpensive in China so Stir-fried water Spinach with fermented bean curd is always a good choice.
With the modernization of China, there are still all kinds of processed and carb-rich delights in the supermarkets here. And being in Beijing, it’s hard not to do a double and triple-take every time I walk past a noodle or dumpling shack. The eternal struggle continues!