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Quest for dou jiang (豆漿)


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Quest for dou jiang (豆漿)

Dib | | Mar 11, 2007 08:05 AM

Dou jiang (豆漿) is a breakfast food that's very common in Taiwan, I'm guessing as a result of the northern Chinese influence from many of the Nationalists. It's soybean milk that is served hot, in your choice of sweet (甜豆漿, tian dou jiang) or salty (鹹豆漿, xian dou jiang). Sweet has sugar added, and I'm not sure what else. In my opinion, salty is the more interesting choice. The soybean milk has been curdled with a little vinegar, and mixed with hot oil (辣油, la you), preserved vegetables (酸菜, suan cai), and usually a little dried seafood. The best dou jiang has a "fluffy" look. If the soybean milk looks smooth and like what you can buy in the grocery store, you can ask for a little more vinegar to make it fluffier. Good accompaniments for dou jiang are you tiao (油條, long thin pieces of fried dough) and shao bing (燒餅, a kind of flatbread/biscuit with sesame). You tiao is sometimes called 'Chinese cruller' or 'Chinese donut', but it's not sweet. Chung May sells you tiao in packages at room temperature, but I'd much rather have freshly made hot you tiao.

I've been looking for dou jiang in Chinatown for some months now, but not trying very hard, just looking for it on a menu whenever I remember to. The fresh tofu post recently made me try a little harder - I finally memorized the character for 'jiang' (漿) and now I'm seeing it practically everywhere.

Heung Fa Chun Sweet House (杏花tun甜品店, xing hua tun[? my computer won't write this rare character] tian pin dian, "Apricot Flower Village Sweet Shop") has dou jiang. It's on their sign (see photo), but I didn't see it written on the wall menu inside. They do have both sweet and salty though, every day of the week except Wednesday. They also have you tiao, but not shao bing; two servings of salty dou jiang and you tiao (2 pieces/serving) come to a total of $3.75. For the salty dou jiang, we asked for suan cai, la you, and vinegar. It came with little dried shrimp, with eyes intact. I had to keep adding la you to mine because it wasn't hot enough. I'm so happy that I finally got to eat xian dou jiang in Philadelphia! And it was pretty easy to find all this time.

Side Walk Sweet House has dou jiang. The girl at the counter didn't speak Mandarin that well, and it's hard to explain in English ("sort of like soy bean milk, but ..."), but my impression is that they only have sweet dou jiang. I had already eaten salty dou jiang, so I didn't try out the sweet version here.

Heung Fa Chun Sweet House
114 N. 10th (across the street from Penang)

Side Walk Sweet House
148 N. 10th

Chung May (grocery store)
1017 Race St

* If you see a lot of question marks, your computer probably can't display Chinese characters. Throughout this post I have used traditional characters, and pinyin for the romanized Mandarin - without tone markings - don't try to pronounce these with the regular English phonetics. If you are curious, try looking them up at (has links to sound files of pronunciations). I believe Heung Fa Chun is romanized Cantonese.

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