Leave it to the Taiwanese to think of wrapping a donut inside another donut

The food known in Mandarin Chinese as 油條 (yóutiáo), but which in Taiwanese goes by the name 油炸粿, is basically a fried stick of dough, similar to a cruller, but puffier rather than cakey. The traditional way of eating it is to wrap it inside a 燒餅 (a sesame-coated flatbread), and dip the entire combination into a bowl of hot soy milk. I prefer salty soy milk, but some people prefer sweet. (Those people who prefer the sweet version are clearly wrong.)

Obviously, the donut sandwich was invented before the low-carb diet craze.

Sidebar: Salty soy milk (鹹豆漿) is one of those nostalgia breakfasts for me, or more accurately, one of those manufactured nostalgia breakfasts, because I didn't actually eat it that much as a child.

Sidebar 2: For authentic Chinese food in Seattle, my choice is Chiang's Gourmet. They have an extensive menu of standard Chinese breakfast foods. The service is surly, but that somehow just adds to the experience.

Comments (19)
  1. htd says:

    Falafel wraps starchy stuff around starchy stuff as well. as well as ‘煎饼果子’ and some dim sum which is thin rice flour cake wrap around ‘油条’. I think people just cant afford meat at that time.

  2. Bhrgunatha says:

    Shaobing is also excellent with coffee without the youtiao. A favourite at breakfast.

  3. Kyle Sluder says:

    And for authentic totally-unauthentic Chinese food, I recommend Chen’s Village on Elliot Ave W, about a half mile north of the P.I. building.  It looks like the seediest place on earth from the outside, but it’s perfectly fine inside.  I’d link to their site but it’s just an Under Construction page.

  4. Eric says:

    Leave it to the Mexicans to think of wrapping a tamal inside a torta (salty bakery bread high, 100% carbs, just in case you didn’t get enough with the tamal alone).

  5. Fuzzy says:

    I was never really a fan of youtiao, but my parents love the stuff. I guess I’m not Asian :(

  6. audrey says:

    Come visit LA for Thanksgiving! We can all go get some :)

  7. Interesting menu, definitely some items that don’t appeal to my distinctly American palette.

    五更臭豆腐  Pig Intestine, Bloodcake, Sour Vegetable, Odor Tofu w/Hot Sauce In Hot Pot

    Some made me laugh.

    當歸羊肉  Lamb & Herb In The Soup

    And some made me wonder if something got lost in translation,

    蒸臭豆腐  Steamed Tofu Of Strong Odor

  8. q says:

    The typical translation for "臭豆腐" is "stinky tofu," but perhaps they chose "tofu of strong odor" and "odor tofu" to be more subtle.

  9. Eric G. says:

    FYI, your RSS feed is returning a 401 all of a sudden.

  10. Gregory Kong says:

    I think the 401 has been fixed.

    Yóutiáo is commonly chopped into small little pieces and put into hot rice porridge. In South East Asia, porridge is actually a tasty dish, enhanced with soya sauce, meat/fish, an occasional egg, pepper, and if you want, fried shallots.

    Stinky tofu is really fermented tofu, and is definitely an acquired taste. Think of it as the Chinese equivalent of lutefisk, or blue cheese.

  11. Harisenbon says:

    I’ve never been able to stand 蒸臭豆腐, even though my wife is constantly trying to get me to eat it.

    It’s like taking out all the good parts of 納豆, and leaving only the stench.

    By the way, has anyone else ever felt it odd that ‘Packed beans’ is 豆腐, while ‘Rotten Beans’ is 納豆?

    Makes you wonder where things got mixed up along the way…

  12. bmathew says:

    Chiangs also has a secret ‘green’ vegetarian menu which is nice. Raymond if you haven’t been already, NW Tofu in the CD also serves tasty authentic chinese goodies.

  13. Worf says:

    I love this…

    Though, I prefer to eat it without the wrap, and not dipped. The sweet version is made for eating plain, but the normal one I eat plain – nicely oily, of course.

    The dried hard stuff is for congee. Mmmm.

    (I had to look at the link to figure out it was what I thought it was. Mostly because of the English corruption of the Cantonese is how I know it. I only ate the wrapped version a couple of years ago.)

  14. questionable says:

    This method of eating isn’t Taiwanese. The Mainlanders have been eating this way for a super long time.

    [I don’t recall ever claiming that the Taiwanese invented this way of eating it. I didn’t even claim that the Taiwanese eat it this way! I just said that it was the traditional way of eating it. -Raymond]
  15. Strange, we Singaporeans call in 油炸粿 in Teochew… Hmm…

  16. Oops, "call in" -> "call it"

  17. htd says:

    I think 臭豆腐 should be some kind of ‘fermented tofu’. people also call ‘臭腐乳’ ‘臭豆腐’in some places. that restaurant’s menu looks rather ‘taiwanese chinese food authentic’ rather than ‘mainland chinese food authentic’ to me.

  18. Arlie says:

    I’ve been to Chiang’s a number of times — it’s about 2 miles from my house.  And while I wouldn’t say the service is overly super-nice, they do just fine.  We have a young son (been there with him from ages 2.5 to 3.5), and man, the staff have put up with a fair amount of obnoxiousness from my kid, all with an understanding "yeah, we’ve had kids, too" air.  So the service suits me just fine.

    And yeah, the food is pretty dang good.

  19. Cheong says:

    I’d only recommand wrapping 油炸粿 with 腸粉 (steammed sheet of rice extract). Best to eat with sweat soy sauce.

    Together with white-pepper flavoured minced beef congee, my favourite breakfast is now completed. :)

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