when i land in tw, usually it’s 6 in the morning. my relatives pick me up from the airport and buy breakfast on the way home … and what is the first thing i have when i arrive in tw? you betcha: sao bing you tiao. alongside a bowl of hot or cold soy milk, it is the taiwanese breakfast.
my favorite part of the taiwanese breakfast is the sao bing. it is layers and layers, like a croissant or puff pastry, and crispy on the outside with white sesame seeds on one side. i’m kinda allergic to soy milk and the you tiao is a bit oily for me, so i usually have half of a stick of you tiao inside the sao bing. yum!
but there’s a new street vendor that makes the sao bing differently. while sao bing is layers, this vendor makes the bing fluffy. this one vendor in xinyi tosses and tosses the ingredients instead of folding them into layers. the result is fluffy crispy bread.
my cousins rave about it but i have yet to try it. i am looking forward to trying it cuz it sounds like something i would really enjoy!
another favorite floury goodness is bao (bun). i grew up with mantos my mom used to make, which were usually plain and then you add your own stuffing. but it can also be rolled with scallions shown above in the top center. there are also steamed buns with stuffing preadded shown in the top left but the owner cut the top off so you can see what flavors are inside – kinda smart, no? the one on the right is fried instead of steamed. i like ’em all!
there’s a famous bao stand at the raohe st. market that my niece likes. they must be hot stuff cuz there is a line waiting for them to be made and sold.
then there are other kinds of buns where the skins are translucent. most popular ones in the states are those served during dim sum with seafood, meats or vegetables. very taiwanese is the one on the top center called ba wan (meat bowl). it is usually served in a bowl, has meat inside, and you eat it with a salty, sweet sauce. love it!
to round it off, there are bready buns, that are more like rolls in the states, as shown on the right.
all these and more are found in tw street markets.