Korea & Taiwan 2015 (9/10) – This is How We Breakfast

Korea & Taiwan 2015

  1. Out We Go Again
  2. Hwaseong to Gangnam
  3. Korean Fried Surf & Turf
  4. The King, the Art, and the Food Stalls
  5. Myeong Dong Kyoja
  6. On To Taichung
  7. Eating All Day Long
  8. Happy 90
  9. This is How We Breakfast
  10. Signage & More

Today was went we left Taiwan to return home.  Before we packed up to head out, though, we had breakfasts (plural) again.  This post is mainly about our breakfast story in Taichung:

The story began at our hotel, where the nightly rate included free breakfast for our whole family.  Note that we stayed at one of the nicest hotels in the city, so this wasn’t just some Super 8 continental breakfast.  In general, for comparable quality hotels, I’ve also found that the Asian ones also tend to offer more elaborate food selections than their Western counterparts.  Thus, what we had access to each morning was fairly impressive.

kt09_00
The breakfast buffet was at Gourmet Brasserie, one of the hotel’s restaurants.

kt09_01
Holiday display at the front of Gourmet Brasserie.

kt09_02
I tried to capture the size of this place.  This picture only captured half of it.

kt09_03
Back there was a full spread ranging from the Western staples (breads and pastries) and Eastern staples (soy milk /  congee bar and buns) to the fancier made-to-order noodle bar.

kt09_04
This separate section was for cold foods – a salad bar, soba noodles bar, silken tofu, etc.

kt09_05
Honeycomb again!

kt09_07
A third area included a fruit bar, beverage service, cereals, etc.  I devoured just about all the guava and watermelon that the staff cut up that morning.

kt09_06
The super friendly head chef.

The head chef added so much character to this restaurant.  During our visit, he constantly walked around greeting guests in Mandarin, Japanese, Korean, and English.  He introduced his top specialties (soy milk, silken tofu, yogurt, and banana bread), in at least Mandarin and English, and urged guests to try them.  He made himself available as a wait staff, such as offering to get us a high chair, and had this almost clown-like smile on his face.  It was so strange that, for a while, I suspected him to be a marketing gimmick that the hotel installed there.  Then I was proven wrong when I saw him giving orders to some kitchen staff, who clearly showed a lot of respect.  I had no clue how a head chef of such a large and high-end operation had so much time to interact with guests, but it was obvious that we weren’t the only ones delighted by his presence.

For a non-hotel guest, this breakfast buffet ran at 600 NT plus 10% service charge – roughly $22 USD per person.  That’s pricey by US standards, and outrageous for Taiwan!  We’re talking about a place where an average dinner runs $3-5, and a price hike of two dimes on a popular folk dish gets people worked up.  My own parents would’ve urged us to stay at the breakfast buffet for the entire 4-hour duration of its hours, and simply not eat the remainder of the day.

And what did we do?  We skipped it entirely on the first day, and went there only for a few small bites on the next two days.  Why?  Because when in Taiwan, we had to eat proper, traditional Taiwanese breakfasts.  No matter how fancy the hotel buffet was, it was no match to the real deal…

kt09_08
It took us half an hour of walking on semi-unsafe streets just to get there.

kt09_09
There… finally in sight!

kt09_10
Yup, this was the joint that we gave up $22 x 2 x3 = $132 USD worth of hotel breakfast for.

kt09_11
Menu, cashier, and kitchen.

kt09_12
Half of our family getting in line to place our order.

kt09_13
The sauce bar.

kt09_14
The semi-outdoor seating area.

kt09_15
My girls enjoying their soy milk.  The flowers were my only complain about this establishment.  I hate lilies.

kt09_16
Our order on the third morning.

kt09_17
Gotta take some to go for snacking throughout the day…

Across the three mornings, we likely out-spent all other customers: 7 cups of soy milk, 2 cups of rice milk (mi3 jiang1), 2 orders of turnip cakes (Taiwanese and HK style), 5 pot stickers, 3 egg pancakes (dan4 bing3), 1 egg pancake-wrapped fried dough (you2 tiao2), and 10 stuffed rice rolls (fan4 tuan2).  My mouth still waters thinking about all that goodness.

This was the first time we introduced Xuan to her roots – breakfast-wise.  And she fell in love instantly with soy milk, fan4 tuan2, and other things.  When we mentioned fan4 tuan2 on the second and third morning, she was happy to walk that hour-long round trip with us.  It was safe to say that my whole family (at least those with teeth) preferred the traditional breakfast to the fancy hotel buffet.

Then… we got to the airport way ahead of our flight…

kt09_18
Being the first in line was easy when you arrived at the airport three hours before check in began.

kt09_19
Then we checked into a lounge…

kt09_20
Hung out struggled with kids…

kt09_21
Had some hot grass jelly…

kt09_22
Walked through this…

Then we boarded our plane to fly back to Incheon, arriving fairly late at night.  We spent the layover at Grand Hyatt Incheon, a very nice and large hotel with literally nothing but the airport around it.

kt09_23
We woke up to this view… the Incheon Airport.

kt09_24
Later on that day, we boarded this brand-new 747-8i for our final leg home.

kt09_25
Ting hoarding more of the Jeju water.

kt09_26
Dinner was served again!

 

No Comments

Post a Comment