Saturday, November 3, 2018

Taipei - Breakfast at Ruian Soy Milk and Yong He Soy Milk King

Our flight arrived in Taipei at 5:30 in the morning. Despite the time it took to change money, get a sim card, and navigate the metro system into Taipei proper, we still had a lot of time to kill before our afternoon hotel check-in. And we were hungry. So we left our bags at the hotel and headed out for some traditional Taiwanese breakfast offerings.

Our first stop was Ruian Soy Milk. The menu was inscrutable and the staff a bit surly, but fortunately they had prepped items arrayed for easy pick-up and purchase. We had a sticky rice roll ("fan tuan" - pictured at the top of this post) - sticky rice wrapped around a crispy doughnut ("youtiao") and some pork floss ("rousong"). This version was wrapped with a scallion omelette for good measure. Tasty, filling, and a fun variety of textures.

We also got a cup of sweet soy milk. Light bodied and not too sweet, this was a nice refreshing complement to the rice roll.

Located just a few blocks away was a branch of Yong He Soy Milk King - one of the most famous breakfast chains in Taipei.

We got an order of pork soup dumplings ("xiaolongbao"). Coming in at a little under $3, this steamer of eight good-sized dumplings was a steal.

Our only xialongbao experience before this was at Din Tai Fung in Arcadia, and we loved them. These were larger and less delicate, but delicious.

Every single dumpling was full of soup - no leakers in the batch.

We also had radish cake ("luóbo gāo"). Others have compared this to hash browns, and I can see where they are coming from although the texture is quite different - much more creamy. We liked it a lot.

Breakfast at these two very local spots was a perfect start to our time in Taipei.

On our way back through Taipei to fly home we visited Yong He again. We had the xialongbao again, but this time we tried the salty soy milk.

They add vinegar to the soy milk, which curdles it, and put in some chopped up youtiao.

We weren't sure what to expect, but we really liked it.

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