New York has Magnolia Bakery. Sydney has Harry’s Cafe de Wheels. Maybe Taipei’s equivalent is Fu Hang Dou Jiang [阜杭豆漿] — the traditional Taiwanese breakfast spot that you either love or you loathe.
Look, I hate waiting for food and rarely do. However, I’ve had enough sickeningly bad versions of this exact menu to make a point of dragging myself to Fu Hang Dou Jiang in the early morning and braving that monstrous, unpredictable line for a taste of these Taiwanese breakfast classics.
Cravings, I tell you. They always win.
First of all, the location is weird. Go to Shandao Temple MRT station and exit on the south side. There’s a traditional market in an old, decrepit building. Look for stairs that head to the second floor. I’ve added a map at the end of this post.
If you’re lucky, the line starts on the second floor. If you’re not, it’s found its way outside. But don’t worry, it moves fast.
We took a taxi over this morning, arriving at 5:20am before they started serving customers at 5:30am. By that time, we were about 20th in line. Who are these people?
The crowd was mostly early-rising locals with a few keen tourists from Korea and Hong Kong. The staff don’t speak English so prepare your order in Mandarin the best you can.
What I prefer about Fu Hang over other neighborhood places is they bake indoors in an enclosed space. In other words it’s cleaner. If you have a neighborhood joint that operates as cleanly as this, then please share that info.
Because when I’m eating fried flour and lukewarm soymilk, I like to know that the oil used for frying is somewhat respectable and the general setup would pass a rudimentary hygiene inspection.
See how you can look through the glass at the bakers making everything? It’s so spotless it actually calms me.
What he’s pulling out of the oven is the thick flatbread called shao bing or 厚燒餅. It’s what they’re known for since their version isn’t dry. It’s actually moist and fragrant with shallots. I prefer it with egg inside.
Other than the shao bing, we ordered the warm, sweet soybean milk or tian dou jiang. Make sure you get a couple of fried “oil sticks” or you tiao so you can dip it into the soybean milk. You can try a bunch of stuff for less than 200NT for two.
One thing: I’m not a fan of the salty soybean milk. But others do. Shrug.
Above is the sweet soybean milk. The salty version is the one on the right in the very top photo. With the cilantro/coriander.
This though, is great. It’s a freshly made rice ball with you tiao crumbs inside. Be careful — it’s insanely hot.
If you’re not one to wait in line, show up around 10:30am or 11am on a weekday. Weekends though, you’re on your own.
Fu Hang Dou Jiang [阜杭豆漿]