24 October 2016
In Hong Kong, many fast-food outlets offer bacon and other processed meat for breakfast. Photo: HKEJ
In Hong Kong, many fast-food outlets offer bacon and other processed meat for breakfast. Photo: HKEJ

Who’s afraid of having bacon for breakfast?

The best, and only way, to start the day right is to have a healthy breakfast.

But which healthy breakfast are you having?

That’s usually a no-brainer if you’ve made it a habit to have your most important meal of the day at your favorite cha chaan teng, where the choice is limited to the following:

Set A: Macaroni with ham, eggs with bacon, ham or sausage;

Set B: Satay beef noodle, eggs with bacon, ham or sausage;

Set C: Beef, ham or luncheon meat with egg sandwich, and/or cereal.

If you’ve read today’s news, you’ll probably have a hard time deciding how to break the evening’s fast as all the available options are hardly what experts would call a healthy meal.

According to researchers from the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer, eating processed meat, which includes bacon, ham and sausage, is as bad as smoking tobacco and could be a cause of bowel cancer.

Frankly, that’s not earth-shaking news since we all have been told as early as primary school that it’s unhealthy to have bacon for breakfast.

But, obviously, no one at McDonald’s or Cafe de Coral has taken heed of the health advisory. Especially McDonald’s, which has just launched an all-day English breakfast menu.

You may think that you would be better off having breakfast at KFC, which sells fried chicken. But having crispy fried chicken is a bit too much in the morning. 

Besides, anything that is subjected to intense heat, and fried chicken involves dipping a piece of meat in a deep, boiling cauldron of oil, could also cause cancer. 

Leveraging on its frying skills, KFC has started selling fried bread stick with soya bean milk to cater for the Chinese market.

Fast-food outlets such as Maxim’s, Fairwood and Tsui Wah offer quick and good-tasting meals. But they may also need to add lighter or non-meat items on the menu.

Otherwise, they would be like Burger King, which began offering fish burgers because most of the beef items on its menu were unavailable in the past month amid rumors that local outlets were going out of business.

I wonder how the healthy eating trend would shift the paradigm for cha chaan tengs; I couldn’t imagine those tea restaurants offering fruit slices, vegetable salads and fish meals to their customers.

But if they do not change according to their clients’ new preference, chances are those joints will have to close one by one.

The Chinese will always love dim sum and tea. But sadly, even generous consumption of strong tea varieties like pu-erh will do little to lessen the impact of those yummy but fat-rich delicacies on your body.

Still, I insist that a weekend dim sum at your favorite Chinese restaurant is a healthy family practice.

While some Chinese and Western-style breakfasts may find it hard to pass nutrition tests, Japanese cusine — be it a small bowl of rice with a piece of salted fish or even sushi — is likely to gain popularity as consumers become more health-conscious.

Top tennis player Novak Djokovic, who is discriminating when it comes to food, is an avid fan of sushi and sashimi.

No wonder many Japanese live up to 100 and beyond.

Another emerging trend is home cooking. Movie icon Chow Yun-fat, who seems to be getting younger at age 60, was reported to be having a strict diet of steamed corn for breakfast and fish and vegetables for dinner.

So goodbye, bacon, ham and sausages! Hello, corn, tomatoes and sushi!

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EJ Insight writer

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