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Nov 6, 2011 05:07 PM

Beijing breakfast?

I am going to Beijing in early December, staying at the Westin, and only have breakfast free from business obligations. Any thoughts on breakfast not at the overpriced hotel buffet?

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  1. Typical Beijing breakfast is mostly starch-based: porridge, steamed buns (baozi or mantou) and pancakes. You can also get hard boiled eggs to add some protein. If you are fine with this simple carb overload in the morning, that's good. You will probaly notice that most commuters would get steamed buns or very chewy corn on cobbs from convenience stores such as Family Mart or 7-11 the like. Beijing has some chain stores specializing in porridge, pickled vegetables, steamed buns and pancakes that are open 24 hours. I don't recall any near Westin. The reality is that the real estate in that area prices most reasonably priced eateries out of there years ago. You may have to brave Beijing's traffic in the morning just to get to one of these breakfast places. Another option is to find food stalls near or in subway stations and on the street if you are not squeamish about sanitation. You can also find some breakfast places for expats - your hotel will probaly have a copy of English magazines for expats ( Beijinger or Cityweekends) in your room. Look for listings of breakfast joints near you and have your hotel call to make sure they do serve breakfast on the days you plan to go. If all these don't work for you, there are also the proverbial Starbucks at every corner with piping hot coffee and bakery items - how about a slice of cheese cake for breakfast. Yes I've seen people ordering cheesecake at Starbucks in China at 7:30 am for breakfast. Isn't life sweet?

    1 Reply
    1. re: ycyc1999

      Thanks, that's all really helpful. The subway idea seems like a good option-this is not the type of neighborhood that I would typically stay in, but it's a work deal and someone else is organizing me. I'll pack some Underberg and forge ahead.

    2. It's not even as hard as ycyc describes as a lot of the breakfast foods like jianbing (sort of a crpe with a crunchy fried piece in the middle) or "egg sandwiches" are sold from street carts. Near the Westin are plenty of small restaurants, walk out of the hotel and walk down one of the streets (if you're staying at Westin Chaoyang, walk down the side street that also has the Kunlun) and you'll find small restaurants serving breakfast food or the carts.

      In China, there are some specific breakfast foods like youtiao (fried dough), but things like steamed buns, porridge, and noodles are eaten all day long.

      1. Jian Bing might be the world's best street food breakfast, especially on a chilly Beijing morning. If you want a sit down western breakfast try Element Fresh, short cab ride from Westin chaoyang. Probably cheaper than hotel buffet but might not open early.

        1 Reply
        1. re: BenjaminHam

          Thanks, I am dreaming about jian bing already--sounds delish. I would probably avoid the Western breakfast, but it's good to know that it's out there--you never know. I got a good case of food poisoning in Peru on my third trip there a few years ago--snacks at a sniffy business cocktail party did me in--and once my fever subsided all I could think about was a good old cozy breakfast.