Even though the much sought after diners are often equipped with English menus, not all traditional breakfast places are frequented much by travelers. With the flourishing amount of breakfast shops in the city, it is very likely that you will bump into one who’s store keeper couldn’t care less if you speak Chinese or not. Here’s an (almost, I did my best) extensive guide to order traditional breakfast in Chinese!
● The Staples: These traditional breakfasts are in almost every traditional eatery.
蛋餅 [Danˋ Bingˇ] Chinese Omelets (They may come with corn 玉米, ham 火腿, tuna 鮪魚, cheese 起司)
燒餅 [Shau- Bingˇ] Clay Oven Rolls (They may come with eggs 蛋 or fried bread stick 油條)
油條 [Youˊ Tiauˊ] Fried Bread Stick / Twisted Cruller
饅頭 [Manˊ Touˊ] Steamed Buns (Note that if they appear in these two characters they do NOT include meat. They also often come with eggs 蛋)
肉包 [Rouˋ Bao-] Meat Buns (Now these are the buns with meat)
飯糰 [Fanˋ Tuanˊ] Rice and Vegetable Rolls (They may come with fried bread stick 油條)
生煎包[Sheng- Jian- Bao-] Pan-Fried Buns
蘿蔔糕 [Luoˊ Boˊ Gao-] Turnip Cake/ Fried White Radish Patty
蔥抓餅 [Tsung- Jua- Bingˇ] / 蔥油餅 [Tsung- Yoˊ Bingˇ] Tear-N-Eat Scallion Pancake (These are flat)
蔥花餅 [Tsung- Hua- Bingˇ] Scallion Pancake (These are bun-shaped)
● The Not-So-Staples: These are also conventional but might not appear as often.
春捲 [Chuen- Jiuanˇ] Spring Rolls
割包 [Guaˋ Bao-]Steamed Sandwich
水餃 [Shueiˇ Jiaoˇ] Boiled Dumplings
蒸餃 [Jeng- Jiaoˇ] Steamed Dumplings
小籠湯包 [Hsiaoˇ Lungˊ Tang- Bao-] Steamed Pork Dumplings (This is usually smaller in size and can be fitted in one bite. You can expect six to eight per steamer.)
韭菜盒 [Jiouˇ Tsaiˋ Hoˊ] Fried Leek Dumplings
芋頭餅 [Yuˋ Touˊ Bingˇ] Taros Pancake
鍋貼 [Guo- Tie-] Pot Stickers
蟹殼黃 [Hsiehˋ Keˊ Huangˊ] Baked Scallion-Stuffed Sesame Biscuit
蜜糖酥餅/焦糖甜餅 [Miˋ Tangˊ Su- Bingˇ] [Jiao- Tangˊ Tianˊ Bingˇ] Sweet Crispy Cake
● The Drinks: The main players are of course the soy milk, but other drinks are offered too.
豆漿 [Doˋ Jiang-] Soy Milk (They may come in salty or sweet)
米漿 [Miˇ Jiang-] Rice & Peanut Milk
薏仁漿 [Yiˋ Renˊ Jiang-] Pearl Barley Milk
奶茶 [Naiˇ Chaˊ] Milk Tea
紅茶 [Hungˊ Chaˊ] Black Tea
You can choose if you’d like them to come cold 冷 [Lengˇ], warm 溫 [Wen-], hot 熱 [Reˋ].
Also the soy milk is often contained in bowls. If you’d like them in takeaway cups, tell waiters you want 杯裝 [Bei- Juang-].
Finally, to ask if they’re vegetarian, show them the phrase: 這是素的嗎？[Jeˋ Shihˋ Suˋ De˙ Ma˙?]