February 1, 2012
Everyone has meals that remind them of home; one of mine is a Taiwanese breakfast.
The family and I don’t dine out for breakfast very often but, when we do, we almost always go a Taiwanese restaurant called Yung Ho in the San Gabriel Valley, known for their soymilk and other Taiwanese breakfast eats. We only go maybe once or twice every year, at no particular time and for no particular reason, but I consider our inevitable yearly trip an unofficial family tradition.
Even though I now live far from the family, I like the idea of carrying on tradition (even if only with myself) so I found King 5 Noodle House in Flushing – a Taiwanese breakfast place to call my own.
If you’ve never had a Taiwanese breakfast, let me give you the lowdown: Of all the things on the menu, I feel like there’s only one thing that you have to get, and that’s a bowl of hot soymilk.
When I was a kid, I actually hated soymilk. (I drank a lot of regular cows’ milk at the time so soymilk tasted funny in comparison.) I obviously learned to love it but, even now, I still prefer the sweet soymilk over the savory. Sweet soymilk is simply fresh soymilk sweetened with sugar while the savory soymilk is filled with bits of fried dough, shredded dried pork, pickled veggies and all sorts of other things. To this day, I’m still not fond of the savory version – the saltiness just doesn’t appeal to me.
Other than the soymilk, there’s a variety of foods you can order. My personal favorites are the following:
Fried Cruller (“you tiao”)
Literally just a long piece of fried dough, you can either eat it as is or get it sandwiched within a sesame pancake. I like giving them a quick dunk in the soymilk, just enough to get some flavor but not so much that they dough becomes soggy. (If you get the savory soymilk, pieces of it are already chopped up in the soymilk to begin with.)
Rice Roll (“fan tuan”)
The rice rolls also come in both a sweet and savory variety; I only order the savory. It’s essentially a fried cruller wrapped in shredded dried pork and sticky rice, and sometimes includes pickled greens as well. It’s been so long since I’ve had a sweet one that I’ve forgotten what they’re even stuffed with! (Sugar? Red bean paste? Sesame? Honestly, I have no idea.)
Egg Roll (“dan bing”)
The last thing I always get is an egg roll – a soft green scallion pancake with a egg fried on it.
Besides the dishes shown above, you can also order for breakfast anything from sesame pancakes stuffed with beef to pork and/or vegetable dumplings and buns to beef noodle soup. As you might have noticed though, most Taiwanese breakfast foods are heavy in carbs; therefore, as long as you don’t let your eyes order for your stomach, you’ll be good to go!
King 5 Noodle House
39-07 Prince St.
Queens, NY 11354
October 28, 2011
In Flushing, Queens, there are a lot of hole-in-the-wall stands. The city’s full of them – there’s one tucked away in almost every corner and alleyway, every street and shopping mall basement. You could walk by a gem of a place and not even know it. Therefore, I’m pointing this one out to you:
On Main St. and 40th, right next the bustling corner grocery, there is a stand (pictured above). Go there. It serves Peking duck sandwiches…FOR A DOLLAR.
That’s right, instead of buying a whole duck, you can buy a single fluffy bun with a slice of duck skin, a bit of meat, cucumber, scallions and a squirt of hoisin sauce for $1. Stick you head in the window and order one. (Maybe even buy two.)
There’s no seating so you’ll have to eat it standing on the sidewalk, most probably in between the trashcan and the lamp post. But that’s really a non-issue – I end up polishing off my bun in 2-3 bites anyway.
Note: There are people online who make a fuss about it not actually being a real Peking duck (that has been specially cooked to separate the skin from the body) and that it’s just a normal Cantonese-style roast duck sandwiched/finished the same way. In response to them, I say this: At $1, I don’t really care. I just know it’s affordable and tasty.
40-28 Main Street
Flushing, NY 11355