What you need to know
In an alley near Xingtian Temple lies one of Taipei's most satisfying breakfast joints, Soft Power.
Leaving the Xingtian Temple MRT station, walking along the vastness of Songjiang Street, any passerby would be struck with the aroma of the stone hotpots. Passing the fortune tellers booths, they would come upon the burning incense of Xingtian Temple. Amid the buzz of the crowds, take a few turns into a narrow alley, you’ll be greeted by an old Taiwanese house and its new tenant — a cross between hipster and retro breakfast joint — Soft Power.
With a sharp slogan, “Facing life head-on, but chewing on soft dan bing,” Soft Power was originally a small breakfast shop in Liuzhangli. After three years, the owners moved the restaurant to the Xingtian Temple area, which has more foot traffic from office workers.
To complement its Taiwanese-style breakfast, Soft Power renovated an old house in a quiet alley behind the temple. Retro elements like the iron window grills, hardwood, and floral glass decors remind one of the comforts in a Taiwanese grandma’s home.
The most popular dish on Soft Power’s menu has to be the dan bing (Taiwanese egg crepe). Unlike the thin crepes in other breakfast joints, Soft Power inherits the techniques from chefs in Yilan. Every dan bing is made-to-order and it’s pan-fried to be slightly crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside.
Ya-fang, the owner of Soft Power, created the menu based on her own childhood memories of Taiwan. Common dan bing combo offers ingredients like ham and tuna, but Ya-fang went with the more authentic local flavors like basil pork chop and vegetable chili sauce. The aroma of the dan bing is layered with the miso-based dipping sauce.
Besides the dan bing, Soft Power also serves man tou (steamed buns) with fried egg, with a spin. The man tou based offerings are particularly bountiful, one of which is stuffed with pork chop, basil, egg, you tiao, cheese, and meat floss. Even the heartiest eaters will come away full after indulging in one of their stuffed man tou.
Thinking of the multitudes who work near Xingtian Temple, Soft Power is planning on offering bento box lunches beginning August 18. The rice balls are also perfect for takeaways and they’re just as filling as a typical bento lunch. If you stop by for one of the popular breakfast items, don’t forget to also order the side dishes and enjoy the fresh soy milk. Come hungry.
No. 21, Alley 30, Lane 135
Section 2, Minquan E. Road
Zhongshan District, Taipei
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TNL Editor: Daphne K. Lee, Nicholas Haggerty (@thenewslensintl)
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