Monday, May 19, 2008

My Breakfast Revolution

(My Asian breakfast experience so far.)
My first ever morning in China we were taken out for breakfast (by an American). Normally breakfast is my favourite meal; in fact I’ve been known to eat breakfast food all day long. Cereal, toast, pancakes etc. However, this first breakfast in China was NOT my favourite. I remember feeling like there was nothing to eat. We each had a bowl of warm soymilk and some “oil sticks” as our American friend called them. They were kind of a deep fried bread stick, like a straight donut without sugar. Cold pickled veggies were also on offer.

There weren’t many foreigners living in the town, which meant there weren’t many foreign products on sale. What was I supposed to eat for breakfast if I couldn’t buy breakfast cereal or “normal” bread? There were loaves of bread for sale, but they were yellow and sweet. A fellow foreigner made muesli/granola in her oven for me, which was nice. Although as I was used to enjoying ‘real” milk in Australia it was hard to get used to the UHT milk (still prefer homogenised pasteurised).

Mostly I ate breakfast at home by myself so I could eat “my” food- pancakes, eggs and bread-like food (although no toaster, and there was only one shop that sold butter, and if they ran out you had to wait until they went to Beijing next.)

At Chinese New Year (Spring Festival it’s called, although it’s defiantly not spring weather at minus 16 deg C!) I stayed with a family for a few days. The night before the first day of the year we ate dumplings (the type that are called jiaozi) and that’s what we ate for breakfast the next day too. If found it really strange to be eating “dinner food” for breakfast. I think I’ve eaten pizza for breakfast in Oz but I wouldn’t call it breakfast.

We also ate the dumplings for lunch and dinner too! I was dumplinged out!

The next few days for breakfast we ate “Western breakfast” as my Chinese friend called it. A cup of milk and some biscuits/cookies (like at morning tea at church). It felt a bit naughty to be eating snack food for breakfast but I like it better than eating “dinner food”.

Anyway, so since that first breakfast in China I decided I don’t like Asian breakfast.

What do Cambodians eat for breakfast? I’m not sure I’ve ever seen my in laws eat breakfast. By the time I get up they have already been up for ages.

In Phnom Penh there are heaps of supermarkets selling foreign food- including butter, breakfast cereals and lots of varieties of “normal” bread. And we have a toaster oven! (Thanks Tonette). So I’ve been able to happily eat “my” food for breakfast. (Although still getting used to powdered or UHT milk. You can actually buy “proper” milk here, we’ve bought it a few times, but it cost more. A yummy treat.)

However, lately, I’ve been going to breakfast with the students here at Bible school. So now I’m getting used to eating rice and pork for breakfast, with cucumbers and carrots. It fills me up more than 4 pieces of brown toast, although I could live without the garlic aftertaste.

The eating area is outside (sort of, has a roof has but no walls) Seven in the morning is a nice time to be outside, it’s not hot yet.

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