Wednesday, December 09, 2009

chinese/breakfast: i recommend YONG HE DOU JIANG and JIANG JIA HUANG NIU ROU MIEN

No. 1, Lane 260, Guang Fu S. Road
(02) 2772-0642

MRT: SYS Memorial Hall

hours: 24 hours, but breakfast served until 11AM

$ (cash only)

Kid friendliness: high chairs available

visits reviewed: 10/28/2009
iphone pics: 5/7/2009 & 12/2/2008

The beauty and simplicity of the Chinese breakfast- a steaming hot bowl of soy milk and a fried you tiao to dip in- joins classic combinations like Oreos and milk, coffee and donuts, or eggnog and, uh, Christmas cookies? Haha, you got me on that one.

For those new to the world of Chinese breakfasts, here is THE CHINESE BREAKFAST BREAKDOWN

- DOU JIANG = soy milk = can come sweet or salty; hot, warm or cold; and sweetness can usually be adjusted
- YOU TIAO = chinese cruller = long fried sticks that can be used to dip in soy milk, or wedged inside a sao bing
- SHAO BING= flat flaky bread = usually used to sandwich you tiao or egg, with sesame seeds on top
- SHAO BING YOU TIAO = fried goodness + flaky goodness sandwich
- DAN BING = egg crepe/pancake = scrambled egg pan fried with thin crepe-like skin
- FAN TUAN = sticky rice roll = sticky rice smushed together and stuffed with pork floss + pickled vegetables
- LUO BO GAO = daikon radish cakes = pan fried squares of radish, best crispy and with sauce

I'm sure there's more, like steamed buns, but those are the basics.

So all around Taipei, there are a bunch of Chinese breakfast places, some holier-in-the-wall than others. Maybe you've heard of a famous "Yong He Dou Jiang" or seen one near your house. But actually they are not all related to each other. As I understand, there is a really famous and delicious soy milk place in YongHe, but it's not even called Yong He Dou Jiang! But because of its popularity, a bunch of places sprung up with that as their name or part of their name as a marketing tactic.

if you're looking for one to try, you can check out the one near SYS Memorial Hall, just around the corner from the MRT stop. The signs say it's 24 hours, with certain things available 24 hours (xiao long bao), some available only until 11am, others only after 11am (beef noodle soup). The perfect place to eat breakfast if you want to eat some xiao long bao and soy milk after getting in from an early flight, or after a long, late night of meetings.

The space is weathered, but clean and spacious, with seating on wooden stools. Menus under the glass and sauces are on every table.

The prices are so good, you could make your own little breakfast buffet. Or you can grab and go. The fried you tiao sticks here are best eaten hot, dipped in the warm soy milk, as they aren't as crispy I'd love. The first time I go, I get the shao bing you tiao which is a bit messy to eat, with the flaky pastry crumbs leaving evidence everywhere.

The sticky rice roll is dense and a bit heavy for breakfast, but good if you are hungry.

But my favorite here is the xian dou jiang or salty soy milk.

Growing up in LA, I remember weekends to our local Chinese restaurant- my mom ordering sweet dou jiang which looked like a bowl of hot milk, and my dad ordering salty, which looked like something no kid wants to eat. Imagine curdled milk, which is sort of what it is- vinegar added to soy milk to create congealed bits of liquid-y tofu. That image of salty soy milk was so strong that I never wanted to try it until recently (two months ago).

And I fell in love with it! It tasted like a hot breakfast tofu stew, with salty pickled vegetable bits and bite sized pieces of you tiao mixed in. I don't know what spurred the decision- maybe because everyone seemed to be heartily slurping their up, maybe because over the years eating soondubu and drinking cold sweet soy milk (also a recent thing) warmed me up to its potential.

So if you've never tried the typical Chinese breakfast, give it a try instead of your usual milk and cereal or McD's mcmuffin. If you're a longtime fan, you have to share where is the best place to get it.


Unknown said...

I don't know what it's called, but it's this place on the corner:,121.543443&sspn=0.005152,0.009645&ie=UTF8&hq=blockbuster&hnear=&ll=25.029839,121.543306&spn=0,359.998794&t=h&z=20&layer=c&cbll=25.029839,121.543391&panoid=3nhyBu3FcBqV4Ibm3eqLYQ&cbp=12,206.92,,0,-10.9

I've been here quite a few times, and it's my favorite in the neighborhood. I'm interested to know if anyone else likes it.

Anonymous said...

oh my god i am sooo hungry right now!! i used to work near this breakfast place and probably went there every single day. great job on posting on this one!

Kung Food Panda said...

Salty dou jiang seriously looks like something I puked out after a long night of drinking, but it's SO good. Love the Chinese donut, hot oil, green onions, etc......I miss living in Yong Ho =(

kirbie said...

yum yum yum! I love everything you have in your pictures! You're making me so hungry now.

EatTravelEat said...

The egg pancake in your photos also looks quite interesting to me. They almost look like sticks :). I haven't had salty soymilk yet. Need to try that someday!

My local joints for Chinese style breakfast are Doe Jon Station and J.J. Bakery. Haven't been to either for quite a long time now

Anonymous said...

Love it. Makes me so homesick for Taiwan (I'm in Australia). Amazing breakfast food and just as important, the qi fen as you bite into that crispy shao bing!

Anonymous said...

p.s. If you haven't already, please review 新卡莎 near Gong Guan station. Best vegetarian restaurant ever! :)

- Amy

joanh said...

Geoff: thanks! i've never been there, but i'll have to look for it! hope you can vote in the readers' poll!!

hellobeebs: haha! thanks!!

Kung Food Panda: i know, i totally agree. that's why i didn't eat it for so long.

kirbie: thanks for commenting!!

EatTravelEat: they pan fry it, roll it up and then cut into slices. makes it easier to eat, i suppose. i don't get chinese breakfast often in the states.

Amy: thanks for commenting! do they have chinese food in australia? and i'll have to try the vegetarian restaurant you're recommending!!

Anonymous said...

Do try it, you won't regret it - they have "steaks" and gratins I never found elsewhere in Taipei (or the world for that matter).

There is actually much Asian food in Australia and of excellent quality but not much Taiwanese food, unfortunately.


Anne said...

The thick green onion shaobing at Fuhang 阜杭 Soy milk shop are pretty amazing.. It is located across the street from Shandao temple (MRT Exit 5) on the second floor of the Huashan Market (indoor traditional market).

I would strongly recommend take away, as the "decor" is pretty sketchy and not so pleasant due to the market and the fact that there seem to be no windows..

But.. as for taste.. really good! Don't go too late or they'll be sold out..

brian said...

i really enjoyed this post! i miss dan bing :( i dunno why i've never tried you tiao though...i'll make sure i check this place (or a similar) place out in march! thanks for the awesome post!

Rick said...

Joan, thanks for the posting and I just had to write about our recent experience on this topic. Not all Chinese breakfast places and not all Yong He restaurants are the same! Since our favorite Yong He Dou Jiang franchise location near Shi Pai closed down a while back, we were finding it hard to locate another and you hadn't posted your review on this yet (darn!), we decided to try the place that is supposed to be the original (now called Yong He Soy Milk King of the World) at 284 Yonghe Road Sec. 2. Coincidentally you mentioned this location in your posting. You said you had heard it was "really famous and delicious" - all I can say is beware!

Although open 24 hours, this place ruined our nearly 100% success rate for finding at least edible Chinese breakfast. This is the first time we weren't able to finish at least one item we ordered, and we were hungry! The place was mostly empty when we arrived around 10am on a weekday but I've heard it gets crowded at night. Could that be when the food is cooked properly?!

At the Soy Milk King of the World, we ordered you tiao, tien dou jiang, dan bing, and fan tuan for two. I salute you for trying the shao bing you tiao. I have yet to give that a shot.

Anyway, at Soy Milk King they should have known we'd post a review with all the pictures I was taking -- at the time it was all in anticipation of a long awaited great meal after travelling thousands of miles. What a major disappointment!

The you tiao was probably fried a long time before we got there - eating it was like trying to chew through shoe leather. I usually love dipping the you tiao in the tien dou jiang but that didn't help at all to loosen it up so we gave up on it.

The key part of the meal is the soy bean milk right?! Well it was burnt and although I've heard this is the way it's supposed to be I totally disagree. It tasted bitter and had other undescribeable aftertastes.

The dan bing was very greasy and basically unedible because it also had a burnt flavor to it. I can't believe I'm the only person who hates overcooked egg flavor.

It's hard to ruin fan tuan, but in this case it was made with the same you tiao, and if you don't double-fry you tiao for fan tuan then what you get is a bunch of rice with some dry pork, pickled veggy and shoe leather. This was also inedible so we left most of it on the table.

Over the years we've probably eaten at 20 or more of these places all over Taiwan, LA and the SF Bay Area. Many of these were as you mentioned "holier-in-the-wall" than others, and I agree it is really hard to find good quality anywhere in the U.S., but on our recent trip to Singapore and Taiwan we had ok you tiao and tien dou jiang in Singapore in the food court of the Suntec International Convention and Exhibition Centre - the you tiao was crispy, and light (thin) but still oily, and the you tiao wasn't the most flavorful but at least it wasn't burned.

On our next trip to Taiwan we will definitely give your suggestion a try...until then we'll continue searching the SF Bay Area for dou jiang / you tiao nirvana. If we find one worth reporting we'll let you know.

Si Hui said...

Hi, can I have more detailed instructions on how to get from the CKS station to the Yong He stall? Is it near the station? Thanks!

The Thirsty Pig said...

Yummy! I just went there this week. I love Taiwanese Breakfast.

I used to live on Yen Chi St. And they closed one of my favorite 24hour breakfast places recently Si Hai Do Jiang. I was sad.

Anonymous said...

Just went here yesterday. The address is wrong. It's actually on Lane 260. Also, even though it's 24h, they stop serving the Chinese breakfast at 11am. Will have to revisit to see how it is.

Le Petite Prince said...


would like to check. you tiao and soy milk+beancurd only serve in the morning or 24hrs? if only in the morning, till what time?

joanh said...

Anonymous/Amy: haha, yes I've had a lot of faux vegetarian meats. it's always very interesting!

Anne: thanks for the recommendation! i finally did get a chance to try out Fu Hang. Their thick sao bings are good!

brian: oh, you definitely have to try you tiao! it's more satisfying (but greasier) than dan bing!

Rick: thanks for commenting especially about the "famous" Yong He Soy Milk. Hope you have better luck with this one or the one on Fuxing next time! I know even with my fave places, there are some times where they aren't their best.

Si Hui: it's near the SYS MRT station (not CKS!) and not too far from the station on GuangFu. You can try plugging in the address on googlemaps.

The Thirsty Pig: can't beat it a really good Chinese breakfast, especially at these prices!

Anonymous: ah, thanks for your update! I'll fix the address.. I've never gone in the afternoon, but it makes sense that breakfast is only served in the morning as the demand for it after 11am is probably not worth making..

My LiFe StOrY :sounds like breakfast is only served until 11am.

youngmee said...

thank you so much for sharing this and all your other wonderful posts~ i am here studying in Taiwan and have so much trouble with food because i cannot fully read most of the characters yet...but your blog has been soooo helpful and especially this post since i've been dying to eat these breakfast foods but didn't know wut it was called~^^;;

youngmee said...

thank you so much for sharing this and all your other wonderful posts~ i am here studying in Taiwan and have so much trouble with food because i cannot fully read most of the characters yet...but your blog has been soooo helpful and especially this post since i've been dying to eat these breakfast foods but didn't know wut it was called~^^;;

Talin said...

Help help help!!!!

We went to this place. LOVED it so much. Thank you for your blog and all the pics and directons.

I ordered the traditional warm soy milk in a bowl. My boyfriend ordered something like "peanut soy milk" and it came in one of those covered cups w/ a straw. I'm trying to figure out what that milk is called and where I can get it. I've googled and no luck. I took a pictue of the menu but I can't read it.

Any idea what that milk is?


joanh said...

Talin- hi!! I think the drink you are talking about is called Mi Jiang 米漿. It's a rice milk drink with peanuts and sometimes mixed with soy milk. Hope that helps!

joanh said...

Youngmee- I'm so happy to read your comment! Glad the blog helped!