What would you do at 5.30am in the morning in Taipei?
(A) Go for a run around Freedom Plaza 自由廣場
(B) Go to Xiang Shan 象山 to watch sunrise
(C) Queue up for Fu Hang Soy Milk
I have done all three, and I would say my favourite would still be (C).
This was the queue at 6am in the morning. It had already stretched around the block in Huashan Market 華山市場. Mind you it was December, a cold winter morning, yet everyone patiently queued for what would be a really simple fare.
A least 2/3 of the queue were foreigners. Mainland Chinese, Hong Kongers, fellow Singaporeans, Japanese, Koreans, a couple of Westerners. I was curious if everyone knew what they were queueing for. But it was an interesting queue. As you were queueing, owners of other food stores will come and parade their good. You get to taste samples of other food and biscuits.
As you approached the entrance, you can see the notice for their break for Chinese New Year. Even there were other stores in the food court, Fu Hang signs were predominantly displayed. It was obvious what everyone was queueing for.
In the food court, everyone was eating Fu Hang. I really took pity of the coffee store and the Western breakfast store. Although they would get the spillover crowd, I didn’t think they would be anyone else in the food court once Fu Hang closed when the last order was served. Even they put 12.30pm as the closing time, it would usually be sold out completely before that.
As you approached the store, you would be underwhelmed by the size of the place. It was around the size of 2 hawker stores in Singapore. It was nearly divided into three sections, one for taking drinks order, one for food, and the last, for collecting money. The items were not expensive, it’s breakfast after all. The “deluxe” pancake with everything was NTD 60 (~SGD 3). (PS: Now that they got their Michelin, expect price hikes. Coincidentally, they renovated just before the Michelin announcement.)
I ordered everything to takeaway as there were two other hungry souls in the hotel that had not woken up. The whole queueing and purchasing took 1 hour in total. Considering the size of the crowd, it was pretty swift and efficient.
I ordered the whole entourage – 飯糰 Rice Ball, 油條 Donut Stick (also called Fried Fritters in Singapore), 甜豆漿 Sweetened Soy Milk, 冰豆漿 Cold Soy Milk, 無糖豆漿 Unsweetened Soy Milk, 鹹豆漿 Salty Soy Milk, 薄餅 Flatbread, 燒餅 Rolls. Not for those on a GF diet or sufferers of gout or allergic to sesame.
You see, everything is a derivative of soy bean and/or wheat flour. The dough is knitted in the shop at one corner. Then, it is stretched to different thickness based on the item they are making. Rolls 燒餅, you leave the dough as a ball and stuff filings into it. Signature bread 厚餅, you leave the dough thicker. Flatbread 薄餅, you stretched it out a bit more. Pancake 蛋餅, you stretch it to a skin thickness. These are baked in oven, like a tandoori, and then served with different fillings.
This was my favourite – 鹹豆漿 Salty Soy Milk. Standard soy milk was mixed with a savoury liquid made from dried radish. Before serving, a sprinkle of chopped scallions and you have a hot bowl of savoury goodness on a cold winter morning. Take a donut stick and soak it in the liquid. The trick is to soak long enough to infuse the soy milk into the donut and not long enough to turn it soggy.
Another surprising good stuff – 蘿蔔絲餅 Dried Radish Roll. I had not have this before, I didn’t know what to expect. It was a baked bun with savoury shredded radish as a filling.
The essential Taiwanese breakfast – 薄蛋夾油條 Flatbread with Egg and Donut Stick. Dough wrapped in dough. One was a fried dough that was crispy, the other was baked like an unleavened bread. The texture came from the crispy donut stick that had been compressed as a filling and the taste came from the egg and sauce that they put in the bread as they wrapped it like a burrito.
The soy milk was made in store everyday without any additives, and they used only Canadian non-GMO soy beans. One of the reason why they have such a big following is issues with other soy milk shops in Taiwan using GMO beans and additives to enhance the taste. Popularity is a double-edged sword – you reach to a certain volume, you modernise and cut back. I can only hope that they maintain this insistence to use only the purest ingredients to produce their food.
Fu Hang Soy Milk 阜杭豆漿
100, Taiwan, Taipei City, Zhongzheng District, Section 1, Zhongxiao East Road, 108號
Tel : +886 2 2392 2175
Date Visited : Dec 2016
Michelin Bib Gourmand 2018