The next morning we woke up in our room with a window looking out into the abyss of a concrete wall. We confirmed in the morning that no light would come through that window so we might as well have stayed in our original cube of a room but it’s okay because we weren’t spending that much time there. We organized our group of friends and made our way out to go get breakfast.
When I am in Taipei, I usually stay out in NanShiJiao where my grandma lives. It’s one of the more neighborhood-esque locations in the city. The ZhongZheng district in Taipei near the Taipei Main Station is more business than anything else so that definitely threw me off a little bit in terms of what I would typically do. When I stay with my grandma, we go to the local breakfast stands and order food. I’m used to my typical Taiwanese breakfast of freshly made soy milk, rice burritos, egg pancakes, dumplings, and everything in between that usually results in an excessively large food baby and a 4 hour food coma. Since we were in a different area in the city, we began wandering looking for places to eat. We checked out a few stands that were kind of sparse and the menus were not what I wanted my friends to try while we were there so we ended up finding a bakery. We passed this bakery along Chongqing S Rd. a few times and they had a megaphone just sitting outside playing a recording on repeat. We walked in and I about died of happiness. They had most of my favorite pastries that I’ve grown up with when we would stay in San Francisco. They had the pineapple buns, the custard buns, the meat filled buns and many other things I didn’t recognize. We stared at them and I started grabbing food while my friends stared at me in wonder. They started asking questions and I tried my best to determine what was what for them. At one point, the owner walked up and I asked him what was inside one of the buns. He told me, and I responded with a blank stare followed by “is it good?” He laughed at me and said “yes, of course it is.” So I told my friends (and I quote) “I don’t know what it is, he says it’s good. I trust him.” Turns out, the inside of the bun was filled with custard.
We purchased our food then proceeded to stand out in front of the bakery eating the pastries. At one point, the owner came out and handed me a bag of freshly made rolls filled with raisins and told me that he had put one in there for each of us. I couldn’t believe it, this man was giving me free food and I wasn’t sure why but we took it and the rolls were delicious.
From there, we began our adventure around the city.