A Taiwanese breakfast

November 29, 2020

Note: after writing this I discovered some more Taiwanese breakfast food, like “鹹豆漿” “salted soymilk” which is my new favourite dish, so I will do an update.

This morning I had breakfast at a restaurant / take-away place near the market.

This photo is of the entrance to the market.  The shop is on the other side of the street to the left, though you can’t see it.

This is the shop close-up.  The people are standing in line waiting to be served.  Only this shop has a queue.  There doesn’t seem to be a shop name.

A quick photo while I waited standing in line.  The people are all employees of the shop, except the few standing at the extreme right.   I had my breakfast behind the serving station in the back room in the photo.

The back room was grimy.  Notice the stains to the left of the door, and the cat sitting beneath (hard to see).

In contrast the food was of a high standard.  I only know about half of the dishes; can anyone help me out?  On the tray, clockwise from the left:

In total this assortment, minus the two fried/steamed buns, cost AUD$4.  The two fried/steamed buns were purchased at another shop just up the road and cost AUD$1.50.  So the total from that tray is AUD$5.50.

The youtiao are bread that’s been deep-fried in oil (油 you means “oil”).  I’ve had youtiao many times before; they are a guilty pleasure.  

“The Cantonese name yàuhjagwái literally means “oil-fried devil” and, according to folklore, is an act of protest against Song Dynasty official Qin Hui, who is said to have orchestrated the plot to frame the general Yue Fei, an icon of patriotism in Chinese culture. It is said that the food, originally in the shape of two human-shaped pieces of dough but later evolved into two pieces joined in the middle, represents Qin Hui and his wife, both having a hand in collaborating with the enemy to bring about the great general’s demise. Thus the youtiao is deep fried and eaten as if done to the traitorous couple. In keeping with the legend, youtiao are often made as two foot-long rolls of dough joined along the middle, with one roll representing the husband and the other the wife.” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Youtiao

The soymilk is almost boiling, so I dipped the youtiao in the soymilk as in the photo.

The 燒餅 (shaobing) was an highlight of my meal.  Still warm, without any topping, I could taste the sesame.  Now I know why the patrons were lining up outside.  Unfortunately the photo of the 燒餅 was unusable.

This is a photo of the larger bun in the picture above.  I don’t know its name, but it was delicious.  The bun was steamed so the bread around it was chewy.  The filling inside was a mix of vegetables with a mild but enjoyable flavour, with no meat that I could tell.  This was also a highlight.

This is a photo of one of the two fried/steamed buns that I don’t know the name of, purchased outside.  I guess they are made by frying and then steaming:

“the dumplings actually go through a two-stage cooking process: first, they’re fried in oil on one side in a very hot wok and then steamed by adding water to the same wok and covering it. The dumplings are left to steam for a few minutes, resulting in a crispy bottom, soft top, and tender filling.”  (https://www.thespruceeats.com/chinese-pan-fried-dumplings-694499)

One of the buns was cabbage-filled, while the other was a dark green vegetable – maybe chives?  The photo above is of the latter one.  Both were very good.

After finishing my breakfast, I was so full that I didn’t want lunch.


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