Let’s start our day with lots of dough, sugar and deep-fried carbs…
Breakfast on the street
In Taiwan, breakfast is often sold by street vendors who set up their stalls in the morning to serve commuters on their way to work. These vendors often specialize on one breakfast dish, e.g., some would only sell sticky rice rolls (however, in many different varieties), others would sell dumplings, while another vendor might sell egg pancakes uniquely.
Another traditional way to have breakfast in Taiwan is to go to one of the typical breakfast shops (“zao can dian”). They are not only opened in the morning, but sometimes also the whole day, some of them even 24/7.
So what is served for breakfast?
Fried dough sticks (“You tiao”)
A long stick consisting of a deeply fried mix of flour and baking powder. You can have it plain, as an ingredient of sticky rice rolls (“fan tuan”) or in a sesame flat bread (“shao bing”) or you can dip it into your soybean milk (“dou jian”) or tea.
Steamed dumplings (“Xiao long bao”)
Steamed dumplings typically contain of pork, cabbage, some herbs and a little bit of soup. They are eaten with soy sauce and ginger.
Egg pancake (“Dan bing”)
This dish comes in many different flavors depending on your preferences. The most basic version is a thin, soft crepe with an egg fried on it and then wrapped up. It then is cut into several slices fit for eating. Finally, oyster sauce is added on top and the dan bing is ready for you to enjoy. Other versions come with sausage, cheese or onions.
Sticky rice rolls (“Fan tuan”)
Big roll of sticky glutinous rice filled with a fried dough stick, tea egg, radish and chicken and pork.
Believe or not – in Taiwan it is perfectly normal to have a hamburger for breakfast.
Hand-size steamed dough buns with or without filling. Typically it can be filled with pork and vegetables, cabbage or red beans.
Soy bean milk (“Dou jian”)
This is the most favorite breakfast drink in Taiwan. You can have this drink, which are made from soybeans, hot or cold, with or without sugar (usually it is with sugar) or even salty (if you want to drink it as a morning soup, “xian dou jian”) or you can have it with sesame powder.
Leek pie (“Jiu Cai He Zi”)
Pan-fried dough typically filled with leek, glass noodles and egg.