Breakfast in Taiwan: A Guide to Traditional Taiwanese Breakfast Cuisine
Taiwanese breakfast culture is a significant part of the island’s culinary scene, reflecting the country’s diverse cultural influences. Breakfast is considered the most important meal of the day in Taiwan, and locals take pride in their unique breakfast dishes. Taiwanese breakfast dishes are hearty and filling, offering a perfect start to a busy day.
Taiwanese breakfast culture has a rich history and has been shaped by various cultural influences, including Chinese, Japanese, and Western. Taiwanese breakfast dishes are affordable, readily available, and diverse. They range from steamed buns to savory pancakes, dumplings, and fried dough.
In this article, we will delve into the rich breakfast culture of Taiwan, exploring the various influences on traditional Taiwanese breakfast dishes, and highlighting some of the best breakfast spots in Taiwan.
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Where to Stay When in Taiwan
You can sleep in a dorm room or a room for $15-25 USD while you can stay in a budget hotel for as low as $40-60 USD. There are so many to choose from depending on what type and how luxurious you want your stay to be starting from $100 USD.
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Importance of Breakfast in Taiwanese Culture
Taiwanese breakfast culture is steeped in tradition, and breakfast is considered the most important meal of the day. Taiwanese people believe that breakfast provides the energy and nutrients necessary to start the day right. Breakfast is also seen as a time for family and friends to gather, catch up, and enjoy each other’s company before starting their day.
Taiwanese breakfast dishes are designed to be filling, nutritious, and flavorful, providing a perfect start to a busy day. Taiwanese breakfast culture is also deeply connected to street food culture, with many breakfast spots located on street corners or in night markets.
Overview of Taiwan’s Food Scene
Taiwan is a food lover’s paradise, with a thriving culinary scene that showcases the country’s unique cultural influences. Taiwanese cuisine is known for its use of fresh ingredients, bold flavors, and unique cooking techniques. The island’s diverse cultural influences are reflected in its cuisine, with Chinese, Japanese, and Western culinary traditions all playing a significant role.
Taiwan’s street food scene is also world-famous, with bustling night markets offering an array of savory and sweet dishes. Taiwanese breakfast culture is closely tied to the street food scene, with many breakfast spots offering savory and sweet breakfast dishes that are affordable and readily available.
Taiwanese Cuisine Influences
Taiwanese cuisine has been influenced by various cultures, including Chinese, Japanese, and indigenous Taiwanese. Some of the notable influences on Taiwanese cuisine include:
Chinese Cuisine: The majority of Taiwanese people are of Chinese descent, and as such, Chinese cuisine has had a significant influence on Taiwanese cuisine. Some of the Chinese dishes that have been adapted and modified to suit Taiwanese tastes include dumplings, steamed buns, and stir-fried dishes.
Japanese Cuisine: Taiwan was under Japanese rule from 1895 to 1945, and during this time, Japanese cuisine had a significant influence on Taiwanese cuisine. Some of the Japanese dishes that have been incorporated into Taiwanese cuisine include sushi, tempura, and ramen.
Indigenous Taiwanese Cuisine: Taiwan’s indigenous people have their unique cuisine, which has also influenced Taiwanese cuisine. Some of the indigenous Taiwanese dishes that have been adapted and modified to suit Taiwanese tastes include millet wine, wild boar, and taro cakes.
Western Cuisine: As Taiwan has become more westernized, Western cuisine has also had an impact on Taiwanese cuisine. Some of the Western dishes that have been adapted and modified to suit Taiwanese tastes include sandwiches, pizza, and steak.
Traditional Taiwanese Breakfast Dishes
Savory Dishes – Taiwanese Breakfast Dishes
Dan Bing (蛋餅)
Thin egg crepe filled with various ingredients such as scallions, bacon, or cheese
Served with a sweet or savory sauce and sometimes wrapped around a fried cruller (You Tiao)
Fan Tuan (飯糰)
Sticky rice wrapped around a variety of fillings such as pickled vegetables, meat, or fried cruller
Often eaten on-the-go
Cong You Bing (蔥油餅)
Flaky scallion pancake served with soy sauce
Can be filled with various meats or vegetables
Shao Bing (燒餅)
Flaky sesame flatbread served with savory fillings such as egg, meat, or pickled vegetables
Often served as a sandwich
Dou Jiang (豆漿)
Sweet or salty soy milk served with savory You Tiao (油條) fried dough sticks
Often served as a drink or side dish
Sweet Dishes for Traditional Breakfast in Taiwan
Shao Bing You Tiao (燒餅油條)
Shao Bing (see above) stuffed with You Tiao (see above)
Sweet and savory flavors combine for a unique breakfast treat
Ci Fan (粢飯)
Sticky rice mixed with sugar and often served with sweet or savory toppings such as peanuts or dried meat floss
Similar to congee, but with a sweeter taste and thicker consistency
Fan Tuan (飯糰)
Same dish as listed above, but can also be served sweet with red bean or sesame paste filling
Dan Gao (蛋糕)
Steamed sponge cake made with rice flour and often filled with sweetened bean paste or fruit
Often eaten as a dessert or side dish
Best Places to Try Traditional Taiwanese Breakfast
This Taiwanese breakfast restaurant is known for its savory soy milk and various You Tiao options
with multiple locations throughout Taipei.
Perfect for breakfast in Taiwan, this one is famous for its freshly made soy milk and fan tuan and
located in the bustling Huashan Market in Taipei.
Hsiao Wang Steamed Dumpling (小王水餃)
This Taiwanese restaurant brand is known for its handmade dumplings and dan bing, with multiple locations throughout Taipei.
Hang Zhou Xiao Long Bao (杭州小籠湯包)
Known for its Shanghai-style xiao long bao (soup dumplings) and other breakfast items
Multiple locations throughout Taipei
Final Thoughts for Getting Your Breakfast in Taiwan
Taiwanese breakfast culture is a significant part of Taiwan’s culinary scene, reflecting the country’s diverse cultural influences. Breakfast is considered the most important meal of the day in Taiwan, and locals take pride in their unique breakfast dishes. From steamed buns to savory pancakes and fried dough, Taiwanese breakfast dishes are hearty and filling, offering a perfect start to a busy day. In this article, we have explored the various influences on traditional Taiwanese breakfast dishes and highlighted some of the best breakfast spots in Taiwan.
We believe that Taiwanese breakfast is a must-try for food lovers. Its unique blend of Chinese, Japanese, and local flavors makes for a delicious and memorable dining experience. From savory to sweet, the variety of dishes available ensures that there is something for everyone. Whether you are a local or a visitor to Taiwan, make sure to explore the breakfast culture and try some of these delicious dishes. You won’t be disappointed!
Hope you enjoyed this guide! And til our next blog guide.