In my experience, Chinese food has always been an afternoon and evening meal. Even though I’ve partaken in Dim Sum in San Francisco’s Chinatown, it was always after 11am. But considering that China’s outbound tourism numbers are now the largest in the world with over 100 million travelers spending over US$129 billion, it is high time to consider what this travel demographic is having for breakfast.

‘Pho 24’ by Tricia A. Mitchell

The Chinese eat an enormous amount of instant noodles. Their annual consumption, according to the World Instant Noodles Association, exceeds 46 billion packets. When the Chinese vacation, their noodle eating continues unabated. In fact, Chinese President Xi Jinping recently implored his people to stop eating so many noodles abroad. This was prompted after he learned that hotels on the popular island destination of the Maldives had removed hot water kettles from the rooms due to excessive noodle preparation. While some hotels cited that the kettles were being damaged, undoubtedly the primary impetus behind the removal of the kettles was the lost revenues from room service and restaurant sales.

My recommendation for Tourpreneurs faced with increasing numbers of Chinese visitors is to embrace the noodle craze. If Western foods are not agreeable to their palates, especially in the mornings when the body has yet to fully emerge from its slumber, stack up a few packages of cheap, smiley Maruchan next to the jasmine tea bags and hot water. Keep a few large soup bowls and chopsticks handy too. These are quick and affordable ways to offer comfort food to your Chinese guests.

‘Rise & 闪耀’ by Tricia A. Mitchell

If you’re looking to nail a few tourist reviews on the Chinese social media giant Weibo and are willing to invest a little more, offer a few thin slices of pork and vegetables to go with the noodles. Or, take it to the next level by offering a rice porridge called congee, warm bean juice, soy milk, and spicy pork-stuffed dumplings called Baozi. While these invariably take much longer to procure and prepare, the extra effort could land you on the ‘must visit’ list of aspiring travelers from the Middle Kingdom.

Are you offering specialized breakfast items for your visitors? Please feel free to let me know in the comments.

4 thoughts on “What’s for Breakfast, China?

  1. While I love Chinese food (of which my personal favorite Sichuan and Cantonese cuisine), my breakfasts out here are strictly of the US-English variety…there always has to be room for the flavors of home when traveling, and breakfast is it for me 🙂


    1. I couldn’t agree more. I spent 3 months in the rice paddies of rural Japan eating local cuisine, and breakfast was always the hardest. Rising and shining to dried fish and pickled radishes is invariably an acquired trait. 🙂


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