When it comes to Taiwanese breakfast, I haven’t had reason to veer from Monterey Park’s dependably great Huge Tree Pastry, but a recent lunch meet up in east San Gabriel Valley introduced me to Yi Mei Deli. With three locations in Southern California (Rowland Heights, Chino Hills, and Monrovia), Yi Mei Deli serves up a solid Taiwanese breakfast.
My dining companion Juliam ordered the genre’s greatest hits, and a few sleeper ones too. We settled into a communal table, and the food arrived hot from the kitchen as soon as it was ready.
First up was a duo of breads: a twisted cruller (you tiao) and a baked sesame flatbread (shao bing).
Juliam opened the shao bing lengthwise and stuffed the cruller inside. The shao bing’s flaky, sesame-crusted layers cradled the crispy you tiao, creating a textural powerhouse.
Next up was salty soy milk. Though I prefer sweet soy milk over salty, there’s something very comforting about a bowlful of warm soy milk with sesame oil, scallions, and soggy you tiao.
New to me was the guai shu shu, deep-fried intestines stuffed with sticky rice. I loved how the taut casing was wonderfully snappy and even a little musky.
The egg omelet was simple and good with its thin crepe coat and fluffy scrambled insides.
I have consumed quite a few fancy pork belly buns in my day, but never the O.G. Taiwanese gua bao. The northern specialty came stuffed with pork belly, crushed peanuts, pickled mustard greens, and cilantro.
A Taiwanese breakfast spread isn’t complete without fan tuan. The rice roll’s fillings included all that’s good: a fried cruller, scrambled eggs, pickled vegetables, and pork floss. This is my forever favorite Taiwanese breakfast dish.
It’s a whole new world in east San Gabriel Valley, and my 2020 dining resolution is to get to know it a bit better. Yi Mei is but the tip of the iceberg.
Yi Mei Deli
18414 Colima Road #I
Rowland Heights, CA 91748
One year ago: Slacker.
Two years ago: Everson Royce Bar
Three year ago: True Food Kitchen – Pasadena
Four years ago: Mian by Chengdu Taste – San Gabriel
Five years ago: Helena’s Hawaiian Food – Honolulu
Six years ago: Hominy Grill – Charleston
Seven years ago: Tofu King – Arcadia
Eight years ago: Chego – Los Angeles (Palms)
Nine years ago: La Super Rica Taqueria – Santa Barbara
Ten years ago: Pappa Rich – Pasadena
Eleven years ago: Bánh Mì Mỹ Tho – Alhambra
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