This is my first time in Taiwan and I LOVE it already! The FOOD! I am so lucky to be staying with my good friend Cecilia and her super hospitable family. They live just outside of Taipei in the mountains with its own natural springs so you get to take a natural spring hot bath first thing in the morning. That followed by a traditional Taiwanese breakfast. What more do you want!? As you know breakfast is my favourite meal of the day, and being Asian, I was so happy to wake up to such an array of wonderful Asian dishes. Cecilia's parents must have been shocked at how much we were able to eat so early in the morning!
The whole table was full of different dishes, I wondered how people had time to make so many different dishes first thing in the morning. I then learnt that breakfast usually comes in the form of street food and not many people make it at home anymore. Different vendors set up shop on the roads in the residential neighbourhoods in the morning and make the dishes on the spot, and there are queues from as early as 5am at some of the more popular stalls. Her father also said that the younger generation sometimes prefer the quick on the go Western breakfast of coffee and a muffin or toast. Not for me thanks, I will go for the Taiwanese breakfast any day!
There are so many different choices of dishes, and variations of each choice, it is impossible to name them all, so I will talk about just a few dishes here:
- You Tiao (Twisted Cruller) - it literally means oil stick. It's basically like a fried breadstick/donut. You can eat it like that or sandwich within a shao bing (sesame pancake), then dip it in your hot soy milk.
- Shao Bing (flatbread) - There are different variations of it, a few of them being:
Niu Rou Shao Bing (Beed sandwich) - stuffed with sliced beef, green onions and scallions.
Shao Bing Jia Dan (Baked wheat cake with egg) - stuffed with scrambled eggs.
- Row Buo Guo (Turnip cake) - one of my favourite dishes, made of shredded turnip.
- Fan Tuan (Rice roll) - It is basically fried cruller wrapped in shredded dried pork and sticky rice.
- Dan Bing (Egg pancake) - a soft green scallion pancake with an egg fried on it. Also comes with your choice of filling, then rolled up and chopped up.
- Congee - is a type of rice porridge. At Cecilia's house we had it with sweet potato inside, which is typical in Taiwan.
Breakfast is usually eaten with a hot cup of Dou Jiang (Hot soybean milk) or Zhi Ma Dou Jiang (Black soybean milk)
At Cecilia's house we also had some nice vegetable dishes as well as fish and pickles. I see that the Taiwanese really take their breakfasts seriously, and I enjoyed it thoroughly!