Sometimes you just want to start, end, or break your day (or night) with a Taiwanese style breakfast. Like dis classic combo of hot soymilk with a carb sandwich (shaobing yohtieo / 燒餅油條). Don't forget to dunk the carb wrap like a donut (or cookie) in the soymilk!The township of Yongho 永和市 is primarily a residential area with lots of small mom and pop type shops and businesses. Certainly not a foodie destination to say the least. Whatever the local food shops sell, there are places that generally do it better, from oyster pancakes to beef noodles. Even the local night market Lir Hua (樂華) isn't particularly high on the must-eat list (although nice if you are in the area, but certainly not a destination stop).
But if you mention the word (or town) Yongho 永和 to any Taiwanese ex patriot living abroad one thing that will inevitably associate them (similarly to the effect that Din Tai Fung has become the brand name for Xiao Long Bao) is that 永和 goes hand in hand with soy milk 豆漿, or at least 9.9 Taiwanese out of 10 will immediately react and say "oh, 永和豆漿!!". If you live in Yongho, you will probably respond by saying "yeah, WHATEVER clever".
There are a ton of shops in Yongho that sell the good stuff for breakfast. But there is one shop, probably the most famous in the area, that deserves special mention. The shop is now 55 years old, and pretty much operates around the clock (yes open 24 hours!)
The name is World Soymilk King 世界豆漿大王, and is pretty much the landmark of Yongho breakfast. The Din Tai Fung of breakfast maybe, but of course, not Michelin star, and certainly not a date kind of place.
The history of this place is quite amazing. Apparently two former soliders from Mainland China (Shandong province to be exact) moved to Taipei and missed the breakfast food of their homeland (namely the breakfast stuff) and what started out as literally a street vendor/hawker small business eventually blossomed into a shop. It is also interesting to note that initially not many customers embraced the style of breakfast in the early 50s, but eventually that changed. The owner(s) pretty much started their days at 3 am, soaking the soybeans, and by 5 am started to cook the soymilk, so that they can serve their customers by breakfast time (students and adults on their way to work needing a fix).
Need your fix at 3:15 am right now? No problemo. Why at that hour you can even order some Hong Kong style dim sum too... like 蘿蔔糕, 叉燒包, 燒賣 if you crave it. Even xiao long bao at interesting street vendor quality.... but why bother with that one.
Seriously, you just want to stick with the classics.
Soymilk any style or rice milk (mi jang / 米漿)
Shaobing 燒餅 - roasted flatbread with sesame seeds on top, crunchy multi layer pastry shell thingy. Or request this with yoh tieo 油條 to double your starch pleasure. For those who like sweet starch, there's a kind sweetened with molasses 麥芽甜餅 that's quite delectable too.
There's something about World Soymilk King's signature soymilk flavor that is not present with the competition, and frankly an acquired taste. It has a slightly burnt flavor! Well I do not believe it to be burnt, but more so earthy. I don't think anyone has decyphered the secret to this, but I have to admit I did not like it the first time, but having tried it again for the 2nd or 3rd, it started to grow on me. Sometimes a chilled earthy (re: burnt tasting) version can hit the spot! This is what makes their soymilk unique, and not easily copied by the competition. Let's just say I've had truly burnt soymilk before abroad, and it was stuff that you want to throw away. Not so with the Elvis of Breakfast!
Surely there are other breakfast places in Taipei city that are as popular or even arguably equivalent or better, especially those who work downtown.
However you cannot just dismiss Elvis, who really started it all.
世界豆漿大王 (World Soymilk King) http://www.soymilk.com.tw/
台北縣永和市永和路二段284號 (Taipei County, Yongho township, Yongho Road, 2nd portion #284)