Dinner for Breakfast in Vancouver

Cereal and toast, eggs and bacon, waffles and pancakes – ah American breakfast. It has long been my favorite meal. Today we had our first taste of Chinese breakfast at our friend’s parents’ place. They are from Baoding, outside of Beijing, and moved to Vancouver in 1980. We started with pork wrapped in bean curd with hot sauce, and moved from there to pork dumplings. Then we ate zhou (“joe”) – or Chinese rice porridge – a sort of soupy rice cereal flavored with ginger and pepper (not exactly brown sugar and butter). I think we are in store for a serious decrease in the amount of sugar we consume, and a serious rethinking of what constitutes breakfast food.

Someone once told me that the Chinese are a lot like the Italians. This struck me as impossible and a little funny at the time. Today though, as the courses of food kept appearing, the similarities began to appear. It dawned on us after the first two courses that there was more to come and that we ought to probably pace ourselves. There were three more courses – shrimp stuffed dimsum, beef dimsum, and sticky rice (coagulated rice with peanuts, pork, and duck eggs). It is now 4:30pm and we are not hungry. This is how the Italians eat – pasta, chicken, wine, pork, salad, bread, more wine, fruit, dessert, more wine, water – course after course. I learned to pace myself in Italy when I once filled myself with the first two courses only to find 5 more courses waiting in the wings. Marco Polo and Kublai Khan must have felt comfortable dining together, as odd a pair as they may have seemed at first sight.


4 Responses to “Dinner for Breakfast in Vancouver”

  1. 1 Becca February 15, 2008 at 7:08 am

    Lizbeen…remember that time you tried to get me to eat that nasty turkey bacon? You tried to convince me it was good until I pointed out 30 minutes later you hadn’t eaten yours either! :o) (Actually I think you were trying to convince yourself!)

  2. 2 Kyle R. Cupp February 15, 2008 at 1:46 pm

    I can tell that I’m going to learn a lot from your travels and reflections! This blog idea is fantastic.

  3. 3 Becca Lloyd February 16, 2008 at 2:30 pm

    Speaking of….we went to Sushi Palace for Valentine’s, and this time we didn’t have the Mullers to help us pace ourselves….seriously, guys, we were in pain! We are excited to read your blog and keep in touch!


  4. 4 Steve Jones February 18, 2008 at 11:09 pm

    I hope I did this correctly. The blog is very interesting and entertaining to read. Pork still figures as breakfast meat in the Chinese breakfast although I bet it’s leaner than our bacon, sausage and scrapple. I believe that scrapple is what doesn’t make it into sausage or hot dogs but I could be wrong. Don’t forget Yale’s serious commitment to China and the interplay between the two countries, that is, country and university. Yale will be dipping into the endowment a little more in years to come so there may be a role for you all as expatriate Yale people. Maybe something like, “Beinecke in China.” At the very least President Levin will probably want to stay at your house.
    Take care, the three of you, and I look forward to reading of more events in China, where you must be by now.

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