China has never heard of Wheaties, and for good reason, they have the real “Breakfast of Champions”. In Guangzhou breakfast is simple. Street vendors open their shops around 6am as the day gets started in a China’s 3rd largest Province. For the Chinese is this area breakfast usually consists of one of three things. Bread, Congee or some form of rice cake. Simple, yes, bland no. After arriving in the Sha Min District 3 days ago at 6am my wife and set to stroll the humble streets to see what joy we could find to satisfy our tummies. My wife summed up this part of down as “Hong Kong 20 years ago“. Narrow streets hustling with rusty bikes, neon signs and friendly “jou sans” (good mornings.). Ran across a small shack selling Chao Siu Bao (BBQ pork buns), had to buy a few as we continued our walk. We eventually ended up sitting down at a curbside congee shop and slowly sipped the hot rice porridge over a plate of cheung fun (flat rice noodle cake), we also mixed in a small plate of lettuce with oyster sauce (so good). On our way back the hotel we could resist a small stand offering more cheurgfan and stir fried rice noodle. We hauled our goodies back the hotel room and slowly munched on this as a mid morning snack.
As I let the food settle my wife and I critiqued our breakfast (this is what we do now that we are semi-retired). We agreed that the congee (rice porridge) was better in Hong Kong, the lettuce with oyster sauce about the same, but the cha siu bao (which my wife only had 1 bite of because I inhaled all three of them) and the cheung fun (which she had 1/2 bit of because she snoozed and lost on this mid-morning snack, because my 300 lb frame couldn’t resist) were extronitary. We made it a goal to swing back by the next morning to get more. We strolled by at 10am and the cha siu bao vendor said he sold out and two stalls down the rice noodle and cheurgfan vendor was already scrubbing down their 1960 stainless steel cart. We then soon realized that we weren’t the only people who couldn’t get resist their offerings. They told us they open at 5 and are usually all done by 9 or 10. UGGGGGGGGHHHH! We marched back to our hotel with our heads down after settling for some other breakfast fare that wasn’t nearly what we were expecting.
This morning we were not to be denied. We headed out out just before 8 and hit the lottery. We loaded up on the goods, walked to Sha Min Park sat down our bums and slowly but swiftly enjoyed every morsel of our breakfast. Cha siu bao, cheung fun, hot soybean milk, wok fired rice noodles and sheer happiness. As we were enjoying our meal a group of about 20 old ladies slow did their Tai Chi to some up beat music, all synchronized as if they had been doing it for the past 40 years. I turned to my wife and said life doesn’t get much better than this. This was a Breakfast Of Champions.