By David Chen  /  Staff reporter

Sat, Oct 20, 2012 - Page 12

For Taiwanese, the sandwich is as much the typical breakfast food as traditional steamed mantou (饅頭) or the wide assortment of dumplings and pastries one finds at a Yonghe-style doujiang (永和豆漿) shop. Shops like Mei Er Mei (美而美), the Mom-and-Pop style chain of stop-and-go breakfast stands, have helped popularize sandwiches as the everyman’s first meal of the day, as well as what it calls “hamburgers” and “toast” — all of which have been adapted to local tastes.

The company behind Mei Er Mei, “Good Morning” (早安!美芝城), also runs a newer chain that bridges the gap between the Western and Taiwanese tastes. Also called Good Morning (早安!美芝城), the Tainan-based chain offers healthier, fresher versions of Mei Er Mei’s standard selection of quick-and-fast egg sandwiches and hamburgers (which are actually sandwiches but with a bun instead of sliced bread).

The sandwiches, which Good Morning calls “fresh toast” (現烤土司), are less greasy than what you get at Mei Er Mei or one of its many imitators. Tidbits has been frequenting a branch near Linguang MRT Station, and here are a few favorites.

The bacon and egg sandwich (NT$35) goes down easy, and its garnishes are more accommodating to Western tastes — the toasted white bread is not too sweet and it comes lightly buttered, a nice change if you’re not into the sweet mayonnaise or margarine that’s standard at breakfast sandwich stands across Taiwan. Good Morning also has a unique sandwich called “Danish Toast” (丹麥土司), which costs between NT$45 and NT$70. Tuna, egg salad, potato salad and bacon and egg are among the choices for filling, but it’s really the bread that’s the main attraction. Imagine the buttery flavor and texture of a croissant in the shape of a regular bread slice, and you have a deluxe breakfast sandwich that beats anything you get at Dante Coffee or Ikari Coffee. And it’s cheap.

Good Morning lives up to the name with decent coffee, also cheap (NT$35 to NT$60) and made from fresh beans. And if you have a hankering for a more traditional breakfast, the danbing (蛋餅, NT$20 to NT$60) — or egg wrapped in a thin tortilla-like wrap — is highly recommended. The wrap is always cooked to a nice crisp on the outside and it’s as good if not better than what you get at a doujiang shop. Same goes for the radish cake (港式羅蔔糕, NT$35). Good Morning’s Web site (macc.com.tw) doesn’t have a list of locations (it’s more of a corporate site), but you can do a search using the Chinese characters and whatever city you’re in. Tidbits favors the branch on 439, Heping E Rd, Sec. 2, Taipei City (台北市和平東路三段439號).