Breakfast is considered the most important meal of the day and in Dongguan it is no different. Find some of the best and most unique places to get a chang fen breakfast and start your day off right.
If you wake up early enough you can see the steam machines used to make rice noodle rolls (more commonly known as chang fen) being set up, or see cooks mixing the white batter in giant buckets and preparing the meat. This style of rice noodles is the go-to breakfast for most in Dongguan, and if you are an early to mid-morning riser you might have already tried this easy to find meal. Get ready to explore three very different places based on location, originality and convenience that serve this tasty breakfast, and you can decide for yourself which one is for you.
The first stop on our morning adventure was a hole-in-the-wall spot nestled in the old part of Guancheng, on Qilou Commercial Street. This street is popular for coming alive with food stalls at night, however serving breakfast to the late-nighters and early-morning risers for 35 years is Liang Ji Yin Shi Dian (良记饮食店). This establishment is under one of the famous old buildings of Dongguan and seems as though it has always been there.
The noodle combination of choice was zhu rou chang fen (猪肉肠粉), with egg and minced pork inside, topped with chives and a special in-house sauce. The pork was mixed with diced mushrooms giving it extra texture to counter the consistency of the noodles.
The sauce was a salty but slightly sweet combination of soy sauce and spices that is a must for this kind of dish. It was light and accented the noodles, but the eggs were a bit too runny. However, for 7 RMB it was not too bad.
This place is recommended for the history and unique location.
Leaving old Dongguan and moving towards a more modernized area, we find ourselves next to the Pullman Hotel in Dongcheng. Out their side gate is Zi Wei Guan Xiao Chu (滋味莞小厨), with the owner, Jason, putting a different spin on your average breakfast noodle.
Between 7 am and 10:30 am, you can try their popular sea urchin rice noodle roll with pork and pickled cabbage (hai dan chang fen/海胆肠粉). Of course, there are your standard egg and pork options, but why not be adventurous first thing in the morning?
The sea urchin rice noodle is made from the freshest ingredients and accompanied by a delicious 12-spice sauce made in-house. Jason said the sauce is “like the soul for the roll,” and is one of the main contributors to the flavor.
He is very particular about his ingredients and promotes fresh meat, making the dish 20 RMB, which is understandably more than your average breakfast.
The last stop is for the early morning commuter or those living in the Wanda area of Dongcheng. Qian Li Hun Tun Wang (千里馄饨王) is located between Dongcheng Subway Exit D and the back of Wanda Mall and has been there for two years. Their noodles are slightly thinner but firmer than the other two locations, and they also make an in-house sauce.
Of course, they have the standard pork and egg rice roll, which is mixed with steamed cabbage, but the option for the last stop was the simple, yet equally delicious egg rice noodle (ji dan chang fen/鸡蛋肠粉) for only 5 RMB. This dish has an easy taste with just the right amount of sauce and the steamed lettuce is cooked to perfection inside the noodles. The place is set up for those who are in a hurry to work, but still need to have breakfast.