I can’t say I’m always impressed by a Taiwanese breakfast. Often I’m surprised by hairy pork (the name given by most foreigners to the barbecued pulled pork that finds its way into so many things here) in a sandwich or bun – a rather unpleasant breakfast experience. However, there are some redeeming qualities about breakfast here.
First is my old standby that you can find at any breakfast place – dan bing. It’s pretty simple – an egg cooked inside a tortilla-like thing. It can have almost anything added – bacon, hairy pork, tuna, they’ll add almost anything. I tend to get it plain. Often eaten with a sweet & salty sauce found at most breakfast stops.
Turnip cakes – roubo gao – are another tasty, albeit unhealty breakfast item. They absorb grease like crazy and are quite heavy and filling. Good hangover food!
The last thing I eat now and then is mantou, or steamed buns. These have a variety of fillings – hairy pork (see, it’s everywhere!), sweet red beans, taro, green bean, peanut, and Chris even had a black sugar & black sesame one once. Another filling breakfast food.
Want a drink? Breakfast stops often have juice and flavoured milks (and often warm goat milk – a lot of parents at our school make their kids drink this) as well as soy milk (hot and cold – Chris’s favourite), coffee (iced, mostly, though sometimes you’ll find hot) and milk tea (my favourite). A good, caffeine-filled, sweet way to start the day!
Most breakfast places also stock things that a) I don’t really care for (partly because of…) b) we wouldn’t consider to be breakfast foods. Sandwiches are a common one, as well as noodles (the second one is a cultural thing, but I still don’t care for them for breakfast). Rice congee is a very common breakfast food that, despite its similarity to runny oatmeal, I just can’t eat. Possibly because it’s just plain rice with lots of water. Sometimes they throw hairy pork in for flavouring (grrr!). Little hot dogs make strange appearances but are eaten with gusto. Who would’ve guessed. I don’t think they’re all that traditional.
There you go. The Taiwanese way to start your day.