My first morning in Taipei, I had one thing in mind: having a nice hearty Taiwanese breakfast. Lucky for us, Four Sea Soy Milk King (四海豆漿大王), an unassuming neighborhood breakfast joint, was only a few blocks from our place, nestled in a residential area of Datong District.
One of the most striking things about pedestrian life in Taiwan is the sheer number of mopeds out and about, rain or shine. All of the mopeds parked in front of Four Sea are nothing but an endorsement of its good food.
The full service kitchen is at the front of the restaurant, offering a glimpse into the steaming, chopping, baking and frying.
All the hustle and bustle of a restaurant kitchen that is so often (intentionally) hidden in America.
Four Sea really had the feeling of a neighborhood watering hole, a place where neighborhood regulars gathered to start the day.
Imagine a burrito whose skin is made of sticky rice and whose innards consist of a deep fried Chinese donut. And you have fantuan (飯糰), one of my favorite Taiwanese breakfast foods, also called png oan (飯丸) in Taiwanese. The twice-fried Chinese donut was nothing short of mouthwatering.
The hearty breakfast ordered included a healthy bowl of savory soy milk (咸豆漿，xian doujiang). But this isn’t your average soy milk. It’s salty, not sweet, and it comes with pieces of chopped Chinese donut (油條，youtiao), sprinkled with pork floss (肉鬆，also called pork sung).
The soy milk that has been intentionally curdled, with a texture similar to that of clotted milk. But I have to admit, the soy milk was too intensely flavored with sesame oil.
We also ordered shaobing (燒餅), a flaky flatbread sandwich filled with meat, and danbing (蛋餅), basically an egg crepe stuffed with some meat, in this case, pan-fried pork.
Four Sea Tofu Pudding King 四海豆漿大王