QUESTION: My husband and I lived in Taiwan for a year and we really miss the food, especially the breakfasts. There was a hot soy milk soup that you would eat along with a special little omelet and steamed dumplings. Where can we find this kind of thing in L.A.?
—Miriam and Stephen Billington, Santa Monica
ANSWER: My favorite Taiwanese breakfast is at Yung Ho Tou Chiang in San Gabriel, which is kind of a greasy spoon but is a real expat hangout, the Chinese equivalent of a London caff. You have some soy milk (unless you’d rather have a bowl of noodles), then you have some stuff to go with the soy milk. It’s as simple as bacon and eggs — flaky buns stuffed with sweet, simmered turnips, steamed buns filled with spiced pork or black mushrooms, crusty fried pies stuffed with pungent messes of sauteed leek tops, small steamed pork dumplings bursting with juice, and oceans of soy milk, cold or hot, salty or sugared, in bowls big enough to feed eight or nine people at least, but designed to be eaten by one. Yung Ho also has a small specialty in something they call “egg cakes,” thin wheat cakes with scrambled eggs cooked into them, made stretchy with what I think must be taro, flecked with green herbs, and fried. Hubei doupi — which I like to imagine rhymes with “scooby dooby,” but probably doesn’t — is a catsup-smeared egg cake stretched into a dome over a mound of rice, the summit of trailer-park Taiwanese cooking. Yung Ho Tou Chiang 533 W. Valley Blvd., San Gabriel, (818) 570-0860.