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The four renowned breakfast dishes in Shanghai

Updated: 2014-11-28 16:56:28

( cultural-china.com )

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On the every street of Shanghai, there are four breakfast dishes renowned as the “Four Guardians”, namely, large bread (dabing), deep-fried fluffy dough sticks (youtiao), glutinous rice balls (zifantuan), and soybean milk (doujiang). The Four Guardians, originally a terminology in Buddhism, refer to the four Buddhist deities with the Vajra pestle in hand. Later on, it is extended to mean something can not be broken and is the most precious treasure. Since the four breakfast dishes are called the Four Guardians, it is self-evident how significant they are compared with other snacks.

The Four “Guardians”

The first one is the large bread (dabing). Mix the fermented dough with some ghee, stick it onto the wall of the urn-style fireplace and bake it into savory bread. There are tasteless, sweet and salty breads. The sweet one is made by adding sugar; the salty by adding fine salt; the sweet one is covered with sesame seeds; the salty with shallot slices.

The second one is the deep-fried fluffy dough sticks (youtiao). Mix the fermented dough with edible alum, twist it into long stripes, fry and turn them over to and fro until they turn golden. The stripes are fluffy, savory, and crispy.

The third one is glutinous rice balls (zifantuan). They are balls made from steamed granular glutinous rice. There are sweet and salty types. The stuffing wrapped inside is mainly deep-fried fluffy dough sticks; preserved pickles, dried meat floss, sesame seeds or white sugar can be added in order to season the food.

The fourth one is the soybean milk (doujiang). It is a drink made from milled soybeans and water. It is milky, pure and strongly marked with the fragrance of soybeans. Sweet or salty, it is highly nutritious, affordable and good for all ages.

Coupling of the “Guardians”

1. Large Bread Stuffed with Deep-fried Fluffy Dough Sticks

Insert the deep-fried fluffy dough sticks into a piece of folded large bread or two pieces. You can enjoy it while walking. Thus it is the fastest “fast food”.

2. Glutinous Rice Balls with Deep-fried Fluffy Dough Sticks

It is the most common match to insert one deep-fried fluffy dough stick into a glutinous rice ball. The stick is crispy while the rice ball is soft. You may choose white sugar or preserved pickles as the seasoning. Help yourself to the savory and glutinous snack.

3. Soybean Milk with Deep-fried Fluffy Dough Sticks

Put shredded fried sticks and pickle slices, small shrimps, and shallot into the soybean milk, add a small spoon of fresh soy sauce and several drops of chili oil, and the savory “salty soybean milk” will be ready.

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