Breakfasts around the World: China and India
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If someone asked you what you eat for breakfast every day, your answer may be something like eggs, bacon, toast, or cereal. These are just a few of the breakfast foods that the typical Europeans would enjoy.
But believe it or not, people from other cultures might be shocked by this.
Food and culture are so intertwined that how we prepare and eat our food is very influenced by where we live and what we believe. This is especially true when it comes to breakfast – the most important meal of the day, or so they say.
Let’s take a look at some of the traditional breakfast foods enjoyed in the two most populous countries in the world: China and India.
Breakfast in China
While we may have a certain idea about which foods should be eaten at breakfast, China’s breakfasts look a little different to ours. With China being such a massive country, a typical breakfast can include a variety of foods depending on the region. For example, rice is typically the staple food for individuals in the south, while foods made of wheat flour like steamed bread and buns are the staple for those living in the north.
In Chinese culture, men and women have different social responsibilities. For example, they follow the saying, “men outside the home, women inside.” More so in rural areas, women are responsible for cooking and cleaning. They often buy the food too. Interestingly enough, Chinese people spend a lot of time cooking, about three hours a day.
A typical Cantonese breakfast includes morning tea, shrimp dumplings, some form of vegetables, steamed buns, chicken legs, fritters, and soy milk. Northern Chinese breakfasts include bread, porridge, and noodles, while also including dumplings and fritters. However, most do not eat fruit or vegetables for breakfast.
Many Chinese people eat their breakfast between 6:00 am and 8:00 am. There is about an equal split between those who have their breakfast at home versus at a restaurant or their job, and very few eat on their way to work. The day typically begins with a bowl of congee, a type of rice porridge, or zhou, a wet rice gruel that resembles porridge. These can be made either sweet or savoury and can be seasoned with a variety of flavourings such as chicken or mushroom. People usually enjoy their congee with a side of crullers (youtiao), or “deep-fried devils,” which are twisted strips of deep-fried dough.
Typical Chinese breakfasts
Although steamed dumplings and buns are popular at any time of day, they are particularly eaten at breakfast, and they can either be stuffed (baozi) or unstuffed (mantou). While baozi are stuffed with anything from pork to vegetables, mantou is made from wheat flour and is prepared in a steam bamboo basket.
Possibly one of the most popular breakfasts sold at Chinese street stalls, jianbing is the Chinese version of what we call crêpes. It is typically made of wheat and grains and includes an egg, deep-fried crackers, a few savoury/spicy sauces, coriander, and chopped scallions. These delicious crêpes are full of bold flavour and contrasting textures and are perfect for a quick breakfast on the way to work.
When Westerners think about noodles, they definitely don’t consider them a go-to breakfast meal. Hot and dry noodles were invented in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, and they are cooked in sesame oil until delicate and then reheated in boiling water immediately before being served. They are often topped with sesame oil, garlic, chives, pickled vegetables, or chilli sauce. Other noodles, such as soy sauce noodles and mala (hot and numbing noodles), are also very popular breakfast foods.
Breakfast in India
Like China, India is a huge country with adiverse population containing thousands of different ethnic groups and hundreds of languages. The history of Indian cuisine is rich with symbolism and traditions. The Indus valley region cooks with wild grains, plants, and herbs that are still staples today. Indian cuisine is infused with the fragrance of rose water, the use of spices, and the texture of yoghurt. The Indian food system emphasises eating naturally and according to the season, like mangoes during summer, and root vegetables in winter.
A large portion of Indian food is eaten with fingers or bread used as utensils, and there is a wide variety of bread to accompany meals, such as naan, a leavened, oven-baked flatbread, and bhatoora, a fried flatbread popular in the north and eaten with chickpea curry. Indians believe that eating with your hands evokes emotions and passion, as the very act of eating is supposed to be a sensory experience. Interestingly enough, physically feeling your food could stimulate digestion by signalling to your stomach that you are about to eat.
Many Indians are vegetarian, but chicken and lamb are common for non-vegetarians. Food in north India reflects strong central Asian influences, while the food of southern India makes great use of spices and chillies, fish and sweetened coconuts. West India is known for their unique flavours and varieties of food, and you can even find some Portuguese influence in their dishes. East Indian cooking reflects Bengali and Assamese styles, favouring a variety of fishes and common use of the bamboo shoots.
Northern regions have heavier breakfasts, due to the belief that people living in the colder regions need more fat to burn and produce energy. Roti is a flat wheat bread made with whole wheat flour, salt, and water, and is usually served with vegetable or lentil curry. Paratha is another similar type of bread, but it is made with a different process, and it can also be stuffed with ingredients such as gobi (cauliflower), paneer (cheese), and aloo (potato). Poha is another simple breakfast and is one of the few rice-based breakfast dishes. The rice is boiled and then pressed and dried, typically seasoned with mustard seeds, curry leaves, and turmeric powder. Puri, a deep-fried soft bread, is a common dish that can be found in both north and south Indian cuisine. Savoury versions of this dish can be served alongside potatoes, or sweet versions can be served with Kesari, an Indian sweet made with cream of wheat.
Southern regions of India have the most distinct foods for breakfast, and they are light on the stomach, but filling nonetheless. Dosa is a crêpe made from rice and lentil batter. Idli can be made from the same batter, but it is poured into plates that resemble cupcake trays. They are typically served with sambhar (lentil soup) and chutney, which ranges from coconut, mint, onion, cilantro, peanut, and more. Semiya and rava uppma is a vermicelli-based breakfast. Rava uppma is a cream of wheat-based breakfast, and both are usually served with coconut chutney and sambhar. Idiyappam is a steamed rice noodle served with vegetable korma, but it can also be prepared with sweetened coconut milk and a hint of cardamom, making the ideal light and refreshing breakfast.
There’s no doubt that Indian cuisine is as interesting as the cultures and religions that make up the country. While there are many regions in India that do not traditionally eat breakfast, there are countless arrays of dishes consumed across the country every morning. Staples of an Indian diet include wheat, pulses with chana and basmati rice. Indian breakfast is much like a regular meal in other countries and incorporates many variations of spices and curries, including cardamom, turmeric, dried hot peppers, cinnamon, ginger, and coriander, just to name a few.
So if you’re a bit tired of cornflakes and toast for breakfast, you could consider spicing up your breakfast with a little inspiration from our friends in China and India.
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We’ll only market other organisations’ products and services if you have said it is OK for us to do so.
You can ask us to stop sending you marketing information or withdraw your permission at any time.
ELEARNING FUTURES LTD retains personal information in line with our corporate retention requirements. Your data will be stored within the European Economic Area (“the EEA”) (The EEA consists of all EU member states, plus Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein). However, in some circumstances, part or all of your data may be stored or transferred outside of the European Economic Area (“the EEA”). You are deemed to accept and agree to this by using our site and submitting information to us. If we do store or transfer data outside the EEA, we will take all reasonable steps to ensure that your data is treated as safely and securely as it would be within the EEA and under the GDPR. Such steps may include, but not be limited to, the use of legally binding contractual terms between us and any third parties we engage with, and the use of the EU-approved Model Contractual Arrangements. If we intend at any time to transfer any of your data outside the EEA, we will always obtain your consent beforehand.
Right to access personal information
- Under the law, any individual has a right to ask for a copy of the personal information held about them. This means that you can ask for the information that ELEARNING FUTURES LTD holds about you. This is known as the right of ‘subject access’.
- When making a request you will need to give us:
- a request in writing (by post or by email)
- We may need to ask you to provide:
- proof of your identity
- proof of your home address
- any information that we reasonably need to locate the information you have requested (for example details of the ELEARNING FUTURES LTD offices or staff that you have had contact with and when)
We will not start looking for your information until we receive all of the above. In order to submit your request, or for help making a request, please contact us.
Rights concerning the processing of your personal information
- Right to restrict processing of personal information
- In some situations, you have the right to require us to restrict the processing of your personal information. We may restrict your personal information by temporarily moving the information to another processing system, making the information unavailable to users, or temporarily removing published information from a website. We may also use technical methods to ensure the personal information is not subject to further processing and cannot be changed. When we have restricted processing of personal information, this will be clearly indicated on our systems.
- You can require us to restrict processing in the following circumstances:
- You are concerned that the information we hold about you is inaccurate. You can ask us to restrict the information until we can determine whether the information is accurate or inaccurate.
- We are processing your personal data unlawfully and you do not want us to delete the information but restrict it instead.
- We no longer need the information for the purposes for which we collected it, but they are needed by you for the establishment, exercise or defence of legal claims.
- You have objected to the processing (see below), and we need to decide whether the legitimate grounds we have to process the information override your legitimate interests.
Processing you think is unlawful
- If you tell us that you think we are processing your personal information unlawfully, but you do not want the information to be erased, you have the right to require us to restrict the processing of that information.
- We will ask you for an explanation about why you think the processing is unlawful, and may also ask that you provide evidence to support this view.
Processing of personal information you think is inaccurate
- You can tell us if you think the personal information we are processing about you is factually inaccurate. You can require us to restrict how we use your personal information until we can verify the accuracy of the information. We will ask you for an explanation about why you think the information is inaccurate, and may also ask that you provide some supporting evidence of the alleged inaccuracy.
- If we find that the personal information we are processing about you is inaccurate, we will take appropriate steps to correct the information.
Personal information is no longer needed by ELEARNING FUTURES LTD but needed by you in connection with a legal claim
- In most circumstances, we will securely delete or dispose of personal information when we no longer need it for our legitimate business purposes. Our approach to retention is outlined in our corporate retention schedules.
- However, if the personal information we no longer need would assist you in establishing, exercising or defending a legal claim, you can require us to keep the information for as long as necessary. We may ask you to provide an explanation and any available supporting evidence that a legal claim is ongoing or contemplated.
Right to erasure of personal data (“the right to be forgotten”)
In the following circumstances, you have the right to require that ELEARNING FUTURES LTD securely deletes or destroys your personal information:
- If the personal information we hold about you is no longer necessary for the purposes for which we originally collected it.
- The processing is based on consent – if you have previously given your consent to ELEARNING FUTURES LTD collecting and processing your personal information, and you notify us that you withdraw your consent. Please note: withdrawing your consent does not mean the processing of your personal data which occurred before the withdrawal was unlawful.
- We are processing your personal information for direct marketing purposes, and you want us to stop.
- If you think ELEARNING FUTURES LTD has processed your personal information unlawfully.
If you think any of the above situations apply, we may ask you for an explanation and further information to verify this.
Right to object to processing
You have the right to object to the ELEARNING FUTURES LTD processing your personal data in the following circumstances:
Personal information used for direct marketing
If we are using your personal information to send you direct marketing, you have the right to object at any time. If you exercise this right, we will stop processing your personal information for direct marketing purposes. However, we may keep your information on a “suppression list” to ensure your information is not added to any marketing lists at some point in the future.
Automated decision making and profiling
- ‘Profiling’ is the automated use of personal data held on a computer to analyse or predict things that have a legal effect, or other similarly significant effects, on the individual. Examples would include economic situation, health, personal preferences or interests and location. You have the right not to be subject to a solely automated decision (that is, a decision made electronically, with no human intervention), and this may include profiling (although there is no general right to object to profiling). If you are concerned the ELEARNING FUTURES LTD has made a solely automated decision about you, you can object.
- Please note, ELEARNING FUTURES LTD is allowed to carry out automated decisions with no human intervention where you have given your explicit consent to this processing (although you have the right to withdraw your consent).
- We are also permitted to make automated decisions with no human intervention in the following circumstances:
- The automated decision is necessary to enter into, or perform a contract, or complete a contract involving you and the ELEARNING FUTURES LTD.
- The automated decision is allowed under a law passed at the European Union level, or at the level of the European Union or EEA member state level (i.e., is allowed under national law). The law will provide safeguards to protect your rights and freedoms.
However, you still have a general right to object in both of the above circumstances, providing reasons why you think the processing is having a negative effect on you. If you do object, we will carefully consider your reasons, and decide whether to review the decision-making process in your specific case.
Right to data portability
- If you have provided your information to ELEARNING FUTURES LTD, you have the right to request and receive a copy of that information in a structured, commonly used and machine-readable format.
- You also have the right to ask us to send the information we hold about you to another organisation.
- There are some situations in which the right to data portability does not apply. For further information, please contact us.
Exercising your rights concerning the processing of your personal information
If you wish to exercise any of the above rights concerning the way in which we process your personal information, please contact:
Risk Management Team
ELEARNING FUTURES LTD,
21-22 Old Steine,
Email: [email protected]
Your right to complain to a national data protection regulator (data protection supervisory authority)
- If you think we have processed your personal information unfairly or unlawfully, or we have not complied with your rights under GDPR, you have the right to complain to a national data protection regulator.
- Complaints about how we process your personal information can be considered by the data protection regulator.