If you feel like trying traditional Taiwanese breakfast, Tainan city in the southern part of the island is the place to go.
Tainan, also known as Fucheng, is the oldest city in Taiwan with a history going back several hundred years to the Qing dynasty.
That is why it has a longstanding breakfast culture, making it the origin of many types of Taiwan-style breakfast.
Living in warm weather throughout the year, Tainan residents are used to getting up early to have breakfast, with many eateries that serve breakfast opening as early as 5 a.m. every day.
The top choice for many locals, especially the older ones, is salty congee for which an eatery called A-tang is the most famous.
Located on Ximen Road, A-tang pays great attention to the quality of soup in its salty congee. Boiled with pig bones, fish and chickens, the soup offers an unforgettable taste.
Besides plain salty congee, A-tang is also famous for its congee with milkfish. If you want to eat more than just of milkfish meat in the congee, you can order other parts of milkfish as side dishes, including head, intestines, belly and skin.
Next door to A-tang is Bao Chen Mutton, whose mutton soup is another famous breakfast in Tainan.
It serves three kinds of mutton soup－one with no garnishings, one with angelica sinensis (also known as dong quai), or one with goat offal, depending on whether you have a light, mild or heavy taste.
For those who prefer beef to mutton, the beef soup served by Liu Chien is the perfect choice. Be there before 8 a.m. as it only opens for a few hours every morning from 5 a.m.
Many older Tainan residents like to have rice for breakfast. Highly recommended by locals is Ai Zai Cheng Shrimp Rice, where one can enjoy the real taste of Tainan back in the old days.
While some of Tainan’s most popular eateries that serve breakfast often close several hours before noon, there is no need for late birds to worry about not being able to enjoy a traditional breakfast.
Just go to Yongle Market and there are always a number of good eateries to choose from.
This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on June 10
Translation by Taka Liu
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