Breakfast is a big deal in Taiwan.
Every morning, hundreds of vendors get up early in time for the morning breakfast rush. In Taipei, a lot of them have the luxury of operating out of a storefront. Down south, like in Tainan where my family hails from, they make due with makeshift stoves and sinks.
The food is pretty much the same across the board: soy milk, turnip cakes, fan tuan, and twisted cruller.
Unlike in American-Taiwanese breakfast joints, where families can be seen sitting down sipping cups of soy milk over a fan tuan, the eateries actually in Taiwan are almost always take-out.
The emphasis is on speed and by 11 a.m., most of the items are already sold-out. Oh and the food? So, so, so much better.
The buns in Taiwan, no matter what flavor, are across the board fuller and oozing with juice. The turnip cakes in the States are too cakey, way too large, and will make any person with a reasonable appetite half full with just one serving. Many American restaurants serve them slightly burnt as well.
But the turnip cakes in Taiwan are small cubes of wonder, smothered with a delicious sweet and slightly spicy red sauce. Breakfast is pretty big deal in Taiwan, and you can probably see why.
About the author: Clarissa Wei is a food writer. She writes heavily about Chinese and Taiwanese food and has yet to find stinky tofu in the States that has impressed her. You can follow her on Twitter @dearclarissa.