This post is going to be like a glossary of sorts because on the last couple days we had in Taichung, my parents took us to all the hole in the wall, local places and I wasn’t able to get the names of most of them. As an ardent lover of breakfast, 90% of my staples are breakfast items as you’ll notice, so let’s start with the 2 that aren’t.
Black Sugar Boba
I have to say I’m really impressed with the relevancy bubble milk tea has managed to upkeep all these years. In large part, I think this has been driven by the constant re-invention of the drink (think cheese foam) and most recently, black sugar milk tea.
As mentioned in my post about Taipei, we got to try the much-hyped Tiger Sugar. (And it lived up to the hype). However, I’m proud to say that bubble milk tea is said to have originated from Tainan and Taichung. In Taichung, we tried Wanpo Tea Shop. We knew it was legit when we arrived and it was a line of locals outside the stand. They were out of black sugar milk tea at the time, which I now consider a blessing because it forced me to try something new that ended up being delicious – red milk tea with taro balls (pictured above). The stand itself is chic and minimal, displaying barrels of different types of tea.
Lamb Hot Pot
Unfortunately, this is one of the places I’m unable to get the name of. My uncle took us to a local restaurant on the west side of Taichung, located next to a little temple. The place is pretty much a garage where metal tables and plastic chairs are set up. It’s family-run, and vegetables are delivered in little plastic baskets. It’s the epitome hole in the wall – I loved it. Anyway, it’s a spot best known for their lamb hot pot, which is a staple in Taiwan during wintertime. Somehow this was my first time having it.
Ba-wan is kind of like a gelatinous meatball. The outside is a chewy, translucent dough made from sweet potato starch. The savory contents inside are typically pork with bamboo shoots and mushrooms. The streetside operation that my parents took us to was the best ba-wan I’ve ever had. ❤ We also had a side of radish, tofu, and fishball soup.
Another breakfast item, doufu hua is a sweet tofu pudding that can be had during breakfast, but really can be enjoyed at any time of day. You can usually order it at dim sum. This one was exceptionally good because the tofu was silky and substantial. Poorly made ones break apart.
Fried Radish Cakes and Dan Bing
If you love carbs, then Taiwanese breakfast is your jam. There are lots of dishes included in the standard Taiwanese breakfast spread. Above are 2 usual suspects, fried radish cakes and dan bing, which is a tortilla wrapped in egg. Both are topped with a slightly spicy red sauce.
Youtiao is essentially a vertical piece of fried dough. This one is wrapped in a thin scallion pancake, but youtiao can be enjoyed in a variety of ways like dipped into soy milk or wrapped in a sesame flatbread. It’s essentially fried bread wrapped in more bread – just make sure you get in the recommended 10,000 steps after eating this 🙂