Tag Archives: egg pancake

Favorite Taiwan Street Food That Can Be Made At Home


It’s almost a cliché to say that one of the best reasons to visit Taiwan is the diversity and quality of its eating experience. But there is actually a lot of restaurant and night market food that is made at home by many Taiwanese themselves. Here is just a sampling of some typical dishes that have made their way from the home kitchen to the local food stand.

By Stuart Hill

From high-end restaurants to modest road-side stalls, Taiwan really is a bit of a food lover’s paradise. Eating is a form of local entertainment, an excuse for social interaction, and above all a relatively cheap cultural experience too.

Taipei is not just a melting pot of different international food styles, it’s also a smorgasbord of Chinese delicacies. One result of the huge influx of Chinese after the Chinese Civil War was also the subsequent influence of various forms of cooking from across the whole of China.

In Taiwan you can find dishes from all corners of China’s vast reach — yet with a slightly lighter interpretation to many of the heavier flavored versions you will find these days across China, Hong Kong and parts of South East Asia.

While many of the most “famous” places to eat specialize in a few signature dishes, in fact many typical menu items are meals that families prepare for themselves at home.

Here are just a few of the hundreds of dishes you will find on the street or in restaurants that you can actually try yourself at home.

Beef Soup 牛肉湯 (niu rou tang)

beef soup

Typically on the street it will come in a number of varieties: either a heavier braised beef or a lighter clear broth style. And it’s very common to include a freshly “shaved”  fettuccine-style noodle or a thinner spaghetti-style noodle.

To make it at home you can use a rice cooker to simmer the soup until the meat is tender and falls off the bone. And various vegetables to your liking — or not!

Fried Rice Noodles 炒米粉 (chao mi fen)

Fried noodles

You often find a plainer version of this dish in Taipei night markets, with fewer vegetables and longer noodle strands. First boil the dry noodles and then fry them in a wok, adding shallots or onions and bits of pork mince, satay sauce, or fish paste to your own taste.

Egg “Pancake” 蛋餅 (dan bing)

egg roll

Variations on this breakfast dish are ubiquitous across the whole of Taiwan and while the preparation and presentation can be slightly different the ingredients are basically the same. You might eat it plain, with egg, with bacon, with or without soy-based sauce, with or without chili sauce. It’s often simply fried or rolled or “scrunched”. In any case, you can find the frozen pastry in your local supermarket freezer.

Fried Radish Cake 蘿蔔糕 (luo bo gao) 

Radish Cake

Another very common breakfast specialty is fried radish cake. The standard street-food version can be a bit of a let down, and if you are not familiar with the flavor seems to resemble a kind of failed hash brown. But made with fresh ingredients, and lightly fried, it’s a classic people’s food that is relatively healthy and pretty filling too.

Dumplings 水較 (shui jiao)

Dumplings

There are still places in Taipei — try local morning markets — where dumplings are made fresh and packed in batches of 15-20 for you to take home yourself to cook. But you can actually make them yourself by combining pork or beef (or lamb) mince with chopped cabbage and a bit of ginger. The dumpling “skins” can be bought from the supermarket. You’ll find there are actually many dumpling flavor combinations available. Cooking can be a bit tricky, best attempted in a deep wok, which you add water to while bringing to the boil twice.

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Taipei Breakfast: FuHang DouJiang


While breakfast by nature is the earliest meal of the day, avoiding crowds at FuHang DouJiang (阜杭豆漿) will have you up with the sparrows for this very popular Taipei breakfast restaurant.

By Stuart Hill

FuHang Soy Milk kitchen

FuHang Soy Milk makes its Chinese style pastries on site. You can watch as the dough is rolled and prepared, then baked.

FuHang DouJiang (阜杭豆漿) is one of those places you wish you could keep to yourself. The food is great, the location very easy to find, yet if it wasn’t for all those other customers, it would be a great place to have a relaxing Chinese/Taiwanese-style breakfast ALL BY YOURSELF.

Alas, one of Taipei’s worst kept secrets is on the verge of becoming a Taipei event more than breakfast, given the huge numbers of people who line up for the pleasure of enjoying FuHang DouJiang’s breakfast pastries and soy milk.

Just a short walk from ShanDaoSi (善導寺) MRT station, the store can be found on the second floor of a small food court located off ZhongXiao East Road (忠孝東路) in the HuaShan Market (華山市場) building (See address below).

HuaShan Market 2nd Floor Food Court

Even on a weekend, if you arrive early enough you can beat most of the crowds who tend to pack in between 8-10am.

To put their well-deserved success in context, FuHang Soy Milk is only one of several stores on the second floor premises, but they fully occupy the whole floor during breakfast. Only around 11:45am is it safe for the other vendors to open their stalls.

Crowds tend to be somewhat extreme on the weekends, which are worth avoiding if you can. Even  arriving at 7am, on Saturday or Sunday you will be lining up with about 30-40 people ahead of you. At least these days the store manages the crowds by winding the queue down the stairs to the first floor and out onto the street. It used to be that the line snaked among those lucky enough to find a seat.

Yet somehow the food is still rather worth the wait. Like most breakfasts places in Taipei, prices are reasonable. However, FuHang Soy Milk’s small selection of pastries are great. What they do, they do really well. And due to the fact it is located in a food court, it has less of the cramped feeling you get from many ma and pop breakfast places.

FuHang Soy Milk cashier

The cashier is a hive of activity. While one group is responsible for taking soy milk orders, the other group handles everything else, including the money.

Top on the menu are their salty or sweet pastries, or a choice of thick or thin bread-like pastries. Both the thick “hou bing” (厚) and the thin “bo bing”  (薄餅) with an egg, and with or without an oily bread stick “you tiao” (油條), are something of a specialty.

The pastry is prepared and cooked on the premises, and you can see cooks working in the kitchen behind glass walls while you are waiting to place your order and pay.

In addition to pastries, as the breakfast shop’s name suggests, FuHang Soy Milk also offers soy milk drinks, either salty and sweetened, or unsweetened. Hot or tepid.

FuHang Soy Milk breakfast

FuHang Soy Milk’s choice of Chinese-style pastries and soy milks are worth the wait. With reasonable prices, and located close to the MRT, the biggest hassle is lining up.

All in all, the places is definitely worth visiting at least once, to enjoy the atmosphere of watching your breakfast being prepared and cooked while you wait, for the taste of great breakfast food, and the experience of seeing so many other people enjoying their morning start.

How to get there:

Catch the MRT to ShanDaoSi, Exit 5. The building is next to the exit. However, heading east turn the first corner to the right to find the entrance to the second level of the market. Chances are the line of people will be a sure giveaway.

  • English Address: 2F No. 108, ZhongXiao East Road, Section 1
  • Chinese Address: 忠孝東路11082

Business Hours:

Every day 5:30-10:30am (officially). Best before 7:30am on a weekend. Closed every second and fourth Monday of the month.

Taipei Breakfast: YongHe Soy Milk


Looking for a nicely priced Chinese and Taiwanese-style breakfast selection without any pretense? Then try Yong He Dou Jiang (永和豆漿).

By Stuart Hill

Fresh steamed buns

Steamed buns with minced pork, cabbage or leek, are one of many outstanding options for breakfast in Taipei

My most memorable breakfast was around 5 am in Neihu’s Lai Lai Dou Jiang, or “Come Often” Soy Milk. Some friends had taken me out for the ultimate Taiwan experience: dinner, a night market, and then a hot spring. We came back from Yang Ming Mountain and stopped off for something to eat. With its bright lights the place was like a beacon to the hungry; and it was packed. It was not quite light, and in those days none of the technology park you see today existed. It seemed remote, but the place was buzzing. And the food was great.

While there are plenty of ma and pop-owned breakfast stores selling greasy mock-western sandwiches and Taiwanese fried omelettes, the standard can vary a lot. But one breakfast store you can pretty much rely on is YongHe Dou Jiang.

Originally from Taipei’s YongHe district (which is now a part of so-called “New Taipei City”), YongHe Dou Jiang can now be found all over greater Taipei. Dou Jiang is “soy milk” in Mandarin Chinese, and a typical breakfast drink, but at YongHe Dou Jiang there is a wide range of things to eat and drink other than soy milk.

YongHe Dou Jiang menu

So why YongHe Soy Milk and not XinDian or BanQiao Soy Milk?

One story is that YongHe became famous in the 80’s for its stores selling breakfast and evening snacks. Commuters making the morning trek over the FuHe Bridge to work would often buy something to eat-in or take-out before catching the bus or riding their scooter into the city. After a night on the town, people would also stop off at the snack stores for a quick bite to eat before heading home. Getting ready for the morning trade, they were the only places open.

YongHe become synonymous with dou jiang. Business was great, and as the area become renowned for breakfast snacks, many stores adopted the “YongHe” name as part of their shop title. But with so many stores from YongHe all selling soy milk, no one shop could really lay sole claim to the name.

Steaming buns at YongHe Dou Jiang

YongHe Dou Jiang offers steamed buns and dumplings. With its high turnover of customers, the food is freshly prepared.

However, one enterprising owner did just that, registering YongHe in his company name, to much local protest. Today, stores carrying the “YongHe Dou Jiang” name are arguably the most famous reminders of the 80’s dou jiang explosion — even though many store owners probably have nothing to do with the original boom in YongHe.

Fast forward to today, and YongHe-style breakfast places (actually a mix of immigrant breakfast food from various parts of China) exist all over the city and are produced by various store owners. You can even find YongHe Dou Jiang Da Wang in China. But the concept is fairly consistent — a variety of reasonably priced good quality freshly cooked Chinese and Taiwanese breakfast snacks.

Hot soy milk and steamed buns

Steamed buns and a bowl of soy milk make a great combination. In Taiwan, soy milk comes in hot, cold or warm, sweetened, unsweetened or salty (curdled).

The typical YongHe Dou Jiang store will offer a selection of egg pancakes, fried bread sticks, fried radish cakes, steamed buns and soy milk (either salty or sweet). But you might also find places that do sugared donuts, curry puffs, rice rolls and steamed dumplings.

There are a couple of places that I personally like and regularly visit:

  • On Fu Yuan Street, close to the intersection with MinChuan East Road, near the MinChuan Bridge — does great steam buns either with cabbage, leek or shredded pork.

The boss is always fairly grumpy and tough looking, but she might give you a smile if you say hi.

  • On XingLong Road in the WenShan district, about 2-3 minutes walk away from the intersection with XingHai Road, heading away from the WanFang Hospital MRT. In addition to the usual soy milk selection and choice of egg creations, they do flaky pastry, donuts and curry puffs. The decor is not the reason to go there.

Other writers recommend the store on FuXing North Road near DaAn MRT station. Or your could return to the source by visiting YongHe itself.

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If you have a favorite YongHe Dou Jiang store, I’d like to hear about it. What is your favorite breakfast snack?