Value for money: 9/10
Quality of food: 8/10
阜杭豆獎 FuHang Breakfast store is a hugely popular Taiwanese breakfast shop near ShanDao Temple. Right off the bat, I have to be honest with you: you will wait a long time. Sorry, but whatever time of the day and on whatever day you decide to go, you will wait any time up to an hour. Is it worth it? Absolutely!
This was Saturday morning at 7:45am. It’s busy like this up until when it closes at 12:30. However, if you are an extra special early worm, you could always get there for when it opens at 5:30am??
So the restaurant shares a floorspace with other restaurants along the back, but the bonus of coming at this time is that nowhere else has opened yet, so finding a seat is made that tiny bit easier. However, my suggestion would be to queue up until you hit the top of the stairs and then send someone in your party to find a table. It took me around 10mins to wait for a table, by which time the queue had moved and we had already collected our food. But, don’t be a table hogger, nobody likes that. One woman was sat at a table with 3 empty seats and whoever she was with was very clearly way down in the line, as she sat there alone fending people off for the duration of our stay.
This is the counter, showing you quite clearly the process for which you have to order. Although it is very fast, it feels well controlled and the staff are clearly very competent. The staff speak a variety of languages, so they may just launch English at you to speed up the process.
This is where the mighty 厚燒餅 hòu shāo bǐng which is the signature thick sesame seed cake (bread). The method is essentially like an Indian tandoor: the sesame seed cake (bread) mixture is slapped onto the inside wall of anvextremely hot kiln/oven where it gets baked at high temperatures to allow a crispy skin but a chewy inside.
Here is the process on how they make the Taiwanese breakfast staple – 油條 yóu tiáo fried dough stick. This is essentially a bit like a cross between churro and doughnut: the dough is made into a long sausage like shape, flattened down a little, scored with a knife to make the cooking process quicker and then dropped into very hot oil to make it puff up. I think it is safe to say that all of the traditional Taiwanese breakfast stores have these (the ones where they sell home-made soy milk etc, not the ones that do sandwiches). You will see a lot of people ordering just one dough stick and a hot soy milk, wherein they will dunk the dough stick into the soy milk, and have that for their breakfast (not my cup of tea, really).
Here’s what we ordered:
1. 鹹豆漿 xián dòu jiāng Salty soy milk
2. 厚燒蛋夾油條 hòu shāo dàn jiā yóu tiáo Thick sesame seed cake with dough stick and egg
3. 甜酥餅 tián sū bǐng Crispy sweet pastry
1. 鹹豆漿 $30
Now, bear with me on this. If you’re anything like me when I ate this for the first time, you may need some convincing to eat this salty, almost congealed mixture.
Inside the bowl we have a salted soy milk which has (as it has cooled) become a little lumpy and congealed. However, if you can get your head around the texture, then I assure you that the taste is very good, indeed. It is salty, as the dish is named so, but I think this is only because the Taiwanese don’t really have a word for savoury that is used often in dining. I would term this more as savoury soy milk, as it isn’t that salty. As the hot soy milk and egg mixture has cooled, it has blended into one another and created pockets of eggy, soy milk goodness.
Furtheremore, there are also scallions inside the soy milk (more like a soup) and if you enjoy spice in your breakfast I would recommend adding a dollop of the chili sauce to give the bowl a nice kick. The extra dough stick on top is nice, but I like my dough stick to be crunchy, otherwise it just feels a little stodgy and heavy.
2. 厚燒蛋夾油條 hòu shāo dàn jiā yóu tiáo Thick sesame seed cake with dough stick and egg $60
Every time you go, this is the absolute must order!
We ordered it with the 油條 and the 蛋 dàn (egg). I feel like this combination is great! It’s more than enough for your breakfast, trust me!
You can see just how thick the cake (bread) is, when wrapped around the dough stick. The bread is salty around the outside, but not in the middle, so it balances out very nicely. The dough stick isn’t very greasy at all (which a lot of them can be) and the egg is cooked with the classic combination of just egg and scallions. I can’t recommend it enough. It’s definitely one of my favourite breakfast stores in Taipei. I just wish it wasn’t so busy all the time, so I could go more…
3. 甜酥餅 $22
This is the kind of breakfast dessert, to compliment the salty soy milk and the salty sesame seed cake (bread).
Inside, you can see the many layers of the pastry as it has puffed up and created pockets in between the layers. The pastry is wonderfully rich and well balanced. The sugary paste inside the pastry (which you can see sitting on the bottom layer) is great and as you take a bite you get a mouth full of rich and crunchy pastry, mixing with sweet and thick sugar – awesome!
My advice? save it as a snack and have it for your 11am snack.
Overall, 阜杭豆漿 comes very highly rated, from myself. There are a huge amount of tourists (western, Japanese, Chinese) lining up, so it must be getting some very good publicity in these countries/guidebooks, too. It clearly is doing incredibly as a business and restaurant, and I would strongly advise you to check it out if you live here or if you are travelling and passing through. It is your typical Taiwanese breakfast experience.
Best dish: 2. 厚燒蛋夾油條 hòu shāo dàn jiā yóu tiáo Thick sesame seed cake with dough stick and egg – it is a triumph in breakfast dishes and I feel myself craving that salty, thick sesame seed cake (bread) to eat with egg almost every weekend. This could also be made as an incredible western hybrid if you fill it with some bacon and tomato ketchup, too (bold statement!)
Dish I wouldn’t order again: I’d order all of them again, twice over.