From egg pancakes to clay oven rolls, these classic Taiwanese breakfast foods are a must-try – and a huge part of local culture.
As is often said, breakfast is the most important meal of the day; in Taiwan, it just might be the best meal of the day.
Breakfast shops are commonplace, and the menus often include everything from the traditional staples, such as Taiwanese omelettes, steamed buns, and scallion pancakes, to more Westernised options, including all kinds of sandwiches, hamburgers, and spaghetti.
Here, we introduce three of the classic items you must try, as well as four spots just a hop and a skip away from the Hive Taipei to find them.
8 Best Traditional Taiwanese Breakfast Foods
蛋餅, known as Taiwanese Omelettes, Egg Pancake Rolls, or Egg Pancakes
Perhaps the most common of Taiwanese breakfast food, Taiwanese Omelettes are best described as a combination of thin pieces of pastry (like the offspring of a crepe and a tortilla), and an egg (cooked in the style of an omelette), which are then rolled up into a tube-like shape. One can choose to have it plain or add fillings such as cheese, corn, and pork floss, or even bacon, steak and hash browns.
燒餅油條, known as Clay Oven Rolls with Deep-fried Twisted Dough Sticks, or Eggs
Clay oven rolls, shaped like a submarine sandwich, are usually paired with either deep-fried twisted dough sticks (a rather self-explanatory name) or eggs. Hot and steamy, these are great choices to warm up your mornings.
鹹豆漿, known as Salty Soy Milk
The perfect base accompaniment for 油條 (yóu tiáo; deep-fried dough sticks), salty soy milk is a healthy, comforting, old-school favourite. Using fresh, homemade soy milk that’s been curdled with vinegar, this quintessential breakfast staple is typically flavoured with dried shrimp, soy sauce, salt-cured radish, pickled mustard greens, and topped with a dash of chilli oil. A harmonious fusion of spicy and sour, this local delight will be sure to tickle your taste buds and ensure your day starts off on the right foot.
包子, known as Steamed Buns
Running late to work? Taiwan’s infamous steamed buns make for the perfect breakfast on the go. Encased in an unassumingly plain exterior, the humble bao takes the simplest of ingredients – usually some form of meat and vegetables – and completely elevates it into an oasis of explosive flavour. With a countless number of filling combinations blanketed in a fluffy bun, it’s no wonder that steamed buns have remained a firm favourite amongst Taiwan’s ever-changing food scene.
飯糰, known as Rice Rolls
Though less common in more contemporary-styled breakfast spots, rice rolls can still be found in more traditional stores. Often a combination of sticky rice stuffed with marinated white radish pieces (it tastes much better than it sounds, trust us), an egg, a deep-fried twisted dough stick, and some pork floss (fluffy dried meat). The rice roll is absolutely delicious, and will definitely keep you full.
蘿蔔糕, known as Turnip/Radish cake
Made from white radish shreds, Taiwanese-style radish cakes are a simple, savoury breakfast staple for locals. With a thin, crispy outer layer and a soft, fluffy interior texture, this pan-fried dish emits a delicate aroma and is often topped with chilli sauce for an extra kick of flavour.
You might also like An Insider’s Guide to Ximending, Taipei
葱油餅, known as Scallion Pancakes
As its name suggests, scallion pancakes are thin pancakes with spring onions baked into the dough. Unlike Western pancakes, however, they are made from dough rather than batter. Often paired with a fried egg, this dish offers crispy, flaky, and lightly chewy goodness in a single bite. One of the most popular and ubiquitous dishes in Taiwan, these can be eaten as a breakfast food or picked up as a street snack.
鍋貼, known as Pan-fried Dumplings
Typically filled with juicy, tender minced pork and swaddled in a thin, golden-brown dough wrapper, Taiwanese pan-fried dumplings are traditionally served with a dipping sauce consisting of vinegar, soy sauce, and sesame oil.
The 4 Best Breakfast in Taipei Spots
世界豆漿大王 World Soymilk King
Located just on the outskirts of Taipei, World Soy Milk King, or as it’s more commonly known, Yonghe Soymilk, is the only breakfast place in the city that runs 24/7. Their diverse menu has over 50 items, ranging from classic Taiwanese staples to Hong-Kong-style delicacies, and featuring vegetarian alternatives of the most iconic dishes. They even have a glass display case where they exhibit little models of all their menu items, complete with English and Japanese translations. Their thoughtfulness towards international visitors, long business hours, and authentic, delicious goods make them the perfect place for tourists to dip their toes into the Taiwanese breakfast scene.
No.284, Sec. 2, Yonghe Rd., Yonghe Dist., New Taipei City 23445
阜杭豆漿 Fu Hang Soy Milk
One of the most popular and well-known breakfast places in Taipei, as evidenced by their long, long lines, Fu Hang Soy Milk has been a local favourite since its opening in the 1950s. Their large dining space is extremely rare for breakfast spots and is chock-a-block full of patrons from the moment their doors open at 5:30 am. Their signature dish? Clay oven rolls with deep-fried twisted dough sticks paired with their salty soy milk soup. Though their prices run slightly higher, and a long wait is guaranteed, don’t let that stop you from visiting; it is definitely worth the pilgrimage. P.S. As the line moves very fast, and the menu has no English translation, make sure to have a kind-hearted local or your hotel concierge write your order down on a piece of paper first!
Address: 10050 臺北市中正區忠孝東路１段108號
No.108, Sec. 1, Zhongxiao E. Rd., Zhongzheng Dist., Taipei City 10050
康樂意小吃店 Kang Le Yi Snack Bar
If steamed buns are what you’re after, then no look no further than Kang Le Yi Snack Bar. At their modest storefront, you’ll see locals come in empty-handed but leave with their bags filled to the brim with hand-made buns. Offered in three flavours, meat, meat with vegetables, and red bean paste, these chewy buns are some of the best that Taiwan has to offer.
Address: 10080 臺北市中正區汀州路２段46號
No.46, Sec. 2, Tingzhou Rd., Zhongzheng Dist., Taipei City 10080
蛋餅坊 Bus Eggs Cake House
Situated in suburban Neihu, Bus Eggs Cake House serves piping hot, delicious Taiwanese omelettes in six flavours: original, bacon, ham, corn, pork floss and cheese. A hidden gem that tourists rarely stumble upon, the store is heavily frequented by locals, especially students, in the area. Their store has no dining area, but you can sit while you wait and watch the food get made in their bus-themed kitchen. Or, if you would like to skip the wait, simply call ahead with your request, and your order will be ready to go when you arrive.
Address: 11464 臺北市內湖區內湖路２段193號
No.193, Sec. 2, Neihu Rd., Neihu Dist., Taipei City 11464