I’m often asked what Chinese people have for breakfast. My answer is: “Wow! How much time do you have?” From north to south, from east to west, there are hundreds of breakfast combinations in China. In the main, however, there are five staples for breakfast: rice, two kinds of millet, wheat, and beans.

One thing every Chinese person loves for breakfast is porridge. With rice and millet alone, there are over 50 varieties of porridge. Here’s one recipe that’s also wonderful as a winter food – and it has a cool name.

Eight-treasure porridge八寶粥 bā bǎo zhōu


Round rice       100g

Sticky rice        100g

Black rice        50g

Peanuts           25g

Walnuts           25g

Chestnuts        25g

Black beans     10g

Chinese dates   5g




  1. Soak the black beans in warm water for 12 hours.
  2. Soak all the other ingredients in the warm water for 30 minutes.
  3. Put all the ingredients together in a big pot with 2 liters of water on a strong flame.
  4. Once the pot boils, turn the fire to a low flame, leave the lid slightly open, and cook for 1.5 hours.
  5. Serve with a dash of sugar or honey.

I always like to cook this dish the night before, so the next morning I just need to warm it up and have myself a healthy and delicious breakfast.

Bon appétit!