The locals in Taiwan enjoy a variety of popular dishes. They pay close attention to their first meal of the day, breakfast, in particular.
Dan Bing (Taiwanese Egg Crepe)
- 1/2 cup bread flour
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 cup of water
- 3 eggs
- 3/4 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- 3 tablespoons scallions, chopped
- Soy paste and sweet chili sauce (optional)
- Mix the bread flour and cornstarch together in a small mixing bowl. Add the water and a pinch of salt and mix well. Let the batter rest for about 10 minutes while you assemble the rest of the ingredients.
- For each crepe, beat 1 egg with 1/4 teaspoon of sesame oil, 1 tablespoon of water, a pinch of salt, and a heaping tablespoon of chopped scallions.
- Start heating a non-stick pan on medium heat and lightly oil. Once the pan is hot, stir the batter again (it may have separated slightly) and add a third of the batter (about 1/2 cup) to the pan. Swirl the pan around to coat the bottom with a thin layer. Cook the crepe until the top is set and the edges pull easily away from the pan. Flip the crepe onto a plate and slide the crepe back onto the pan, cooked side up.
- Pour the egg mixture on top of the crepe, and carefully spread it out with a spatula. Try not to have any of the egg go over the edge of the crepe if possible.
- Continue cooking until the egg is mostly set and then flip (the crepe will be sturdy enough to flip with a spatula now). Cook for 10-20 seconds and then flip the crepe egg side up onto a plate or cutting board.
- Quickly roll the crepe into a long, rectangular roll. Cut into sections and serve hot with soy paste and/or sweet chili sauce.
Taiwanese Beef Noodle Soup
- 3 to 4 pounds beef shanks with the bone still in (or beef short ribs)
- 5 garlic cloves, smashed
- 1-inch knob fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
- 1 bunch scallions, cut in 2-inch slices
- 1 plum tomato, quartered
- 1 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
- 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
- 4 to 5 whole star anise pods
- 2 Thai chiles split lengthwise (optional)
- 2 tablespoons chili bean sauce
- 1/2 cup Chinese (Shaoxing) rice wine
- 1 cup good-quality soy sauce
- 1 (14.5 ounces) can chicken stock
- 10 cups water, or enough to cover the beef
- To serve
- 1 pound baby bok choy or broccoli rabe
- 1 pound Chinese egg noodles or wheat noodles
- Chopped fresh cilantro, if desired
- For the soup, in a large stockpot, cover the beef shanks with water and bring to a boil. Immediately drain the water and set the beef aside. (This step helps remove impurities to make a more pure soup.) Clean out the stockpot (or have another ready).
- Add the par-boiled beef, garlic cloves, ginger, scallions, tomato, five-spice powder, brown sugar, star anise, chiles, chili bean sauce, rice wine, soy sauce, chicken stock, and water to the pot.
- Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for approximately 2 hours, or until the beef is fork-tender. Turn off the heat and shift the lid to allow steam to escape. Let meat stand in the cooking liquid for another hour.
- Remove the beef to a cutting board. Pour the stock through a cheesecloth-lined sieve into another pot. Discard the vegetable solids. Slice the beef and return to the stock. (At this point, it’s best to refrigerate soup overnight, or up to three days. The flavors will improve while resting and the fat will be easier to remove.) Skim the fat from the surface, and return the soup to a boil.
- To serve, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the bok choy and blanch until bright green and tender, about 2 minutes. Remove the bok choy with a spider and set aside. Bring the water back to a boil. Add the noodles and cook according to package directions. Strain.
Divide noodles and bok choy among bowls. Ladle the beef and hot broth into the bowls. Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve warm