When I was in Taiwan on vacation, we stayed at the 台北國軍英雄館 (Taipei Hero Hotel) while we were in Taipei. The rooms are affordable and location is great because it’s within minutes (walking) to Ximending, a popular shopping/market area.
Anyway, there was a breakfast buffet that came with the room rate (otherwise it was something like 2 USD…what a steal!), and there would be a lady making fried eggs and scrambled eggs with lo2bo1gan1, or salted radishes. I had both egg options on 2 separate days. These pictures were clearly taken during some of my first days in Taiwan there, because I got greedy then realized it would be wiser to save room for lunch and goodies..
Anyway, all this is to say that I love Taiwan, I love great breakfast buffets at Taipei Hero Hotel, and that Taiwanese/Chinese people do eat eggs, but not in the form of anything like an omelet or frittata. Whether 韭菜炒蛋 is Chinese or Taiwanese, I’m not sure, but I know it comes from my family’s list of dishes!
My grandma would tell me to eat 白菜 (napa cabbage) in the winter, and 韭菜(Chinese chives) in the spring/summer. As it warms up, I hear my grandma’s words and let myself buy 韭菜 at the grocery store.
Jiu3cai4chao3dan4 is one of my family’s favorite ways to use up big bunches of jiu3cai4, also known as garlic chives or Chinese chives. This is a really tasty dish filled with the garlicky 韭菜 taste, as well as the taste of fluffy scrambled eggs. Add as much or little jiucai as you want, but I like to add more jiucai, because…that’s how it’s always been done in my family! We used to eat this dish for lunches or dinners, but feel free to cook your breakfast eggs in this fashion as well.
Garlic Chives Scrambled Eggs
Jiu cai chao dan
2 2/3 cup (255 grams) jiu cai, chopped crosswise into 1/4 inch pieces
1/2 tsp salt
2 dashes of fish sauce (not “authentic,” but I picked it up from my Chinese friend’s mom, who is also a good cook like my mom)
2 tsp oil
1) Crack eggs into a bowl. Got eggshells? Use eggshell to pick them up.
2) Add chives, salt, and fish sauce if using. Beat eggs until you cannot distinguish between raw white and raw yolk.
3) Heat oil in a wok, cast iron, or non-stick skillet. When oil is hot, add eggs. Cook on medium-low heat and use a spatula to spread the eggs out so they cook faster. Cook as you would normally cook scrambled eggs.
4) Turn the heat off when the eggs are 95% done.
5) Transfer to a plate or bowl and eat with rice!
-If you are unable to find jiucai in your area, green onions / scallions is an okay substitute, though it won’t taste the same. Scallion scrambled eggs is a standby on my grandma’s breakfast goods!