No school — yay! Mom told us to wake up, and then get ready for a sumptuous breakfast. Wow, sumptuous? We'll be eating fancy food and be in a humongous restaurant? I’m super duper excited!
“We're going to go now!” Mom hollered as I scurried out of bed.
After a while of walking, we finally arrived at the restaurant which was located right across the street in our neighborhood. I was fully thrilled until…
“How’s this special? It looks so old, but so many people are outside waiting to order their breakfast! Mom, what is happening?” I asked, confused.
“It’s a little but popular breakfast restaurant...”
I sighed with hundreds of questions. Was this really called a restaurant? I’m not sure…
The smell was floating into my nose, but the ambience wasn’t as good as I thought. It looked wrecked, broken, and little. When I touched the seat, my hands were covered with dust. Meanwhile, all I could hear was people chattering.
Shortly, a woman with plain clothes came towards us warm-heartedly with a smile, bringing us four kinds of food. She seemed to be really tired but dedicatedly cleaned the table and put the dishes in front of us.
“Thanks for your patience, Here is your order, the ‘Four Warriors’. They are the most famous Shanghai breakfast!"
I looked at the plates closely and curiously found one that held a pocket of warm air and is fragrant with sesame seeds sprinkled on top. There were some fried dough sticks that were very light. Another one was silky soy milk mixed with lots of different kinds of sauce. The last one was a ball of rice with some secret ingredients inside.
As soon as the steaming hot breakfast was ready, we dug in. The food looked delicious, even more, the scent was amazing. I tried it immediately, and I was surprised about how it tasted! I was also very curious about the names.
“Why ‘The Four Warriors?”
“Great question! They are so popular that they fought off the other foods, so they could remain as the best. They sounded like warriors, and they truly are warriors!” The owner proudly explained. Moreover, she invited me to try more food and share the experience with her.
“What you just ate is called Dabing, Youtiao, Doujiang, and Cifangao. Although the whole set is called the Four Warriors, each of them has a very special name!” My mom added.
There’s a saying in Chinese that in the morning, you should eat breakfast well, you should eat lunch until you are completely full, and eat less at dinner. The Four Warriors at that moment makes me feel full and energetic. When I feel homesick, I will immediately think of eating them. From that experience, I started to naturally enjoy the food in China no matter what the restaurant looks like, or even if there is no branding at all!
You will find many stores right on the street -- and you’ll want to eat everything! The food is delicious, but if you visit China, you must definitely try out “the Four Warriors”. Eating the special Shanghai-styled breakfast was almost the best memory during my stay in homeland China!
I like how the people share their cultural experience and perspectives with me, moreover, I appreciate their hard work and hospitality.
Thinking of the pandemic, I know that many people in Shanghai who work really hard may lose many things, their jobs, their house, and even their family. I have heard that lots of small businesses, like that breakfast place in Shanghai, have had to close because of the coronavirus, but the people are still positively trying their best. Everyone is working very hard in order to achieve their dreams! I hope the pandemic ends soon, and they can get their happiness back.