Who doesn’t love a good breakfast? This is a long overdue post because Egg (12 Xiangyang Bei Lu; 襄阳北路12号) has been open for over a year and it’s probably one of my favorite cafés in Shanghai. It’s a chill place to grab a cup of coffee and do some work.
When I want a good cup of coffee, I can count on Egg to deliver. I’ve been disappointed multiple times on expensive places that serve coffee for 40-50 RMB (I’m looking at you, Farine). Egg is the only place that I can find cashew milk lattes and the owner, Camden, happily makes her own cashew milk. If coffee isn’t your thing, fear not as there are plenty of other libations to choose from. Camden is always serving some type of seasonal flavored soda and there’s even beer and wine. Most recently, I had a yang mei soda, which is made from fresh fruit nectar. Note: If you don’t know what the Chinese fruit yang mei is, check out my blog post where I went yang mei picking!
By far, my favorite dish at Egg is the Hippie Bowl. This Instagram-worthy bowl is full of barley topped with roasted carrots, radish, kale, feta and an egg that is pickled in beet root. The vibrant dressing really brings this whole dish together. Normally, I’m a big meat eater, but this is one of the few times where I’m happy to eat vegetarian. It’s a hearty bowl and you can tell that Camden pays attention to the details because even the barley has flavor.
When my sister and I went, we ordered the hippie bowl, cornbread waffle, breakfast taco, carrot fritters and apple pie pancakes. The cornbread waffle comes with cola-braised pork, pickled yardbeans and tomato jam (plus a fried egg). I really liked how the cornbread waffle wasn’t too dense and had nice flavor, which paired really well with the tender pork. I fell in love with the tomato jam. I want a jar of that jam to just spread on all things in my life. The carrot fritters were also really tasty and naturally very sweet. The apple pie pancakes were a special for the day and they were my 2nd favorite dish. The pancakes were thick and cake-like with amazing cinnamon sugar cooked apples. The only thing that I wasn’t a big fan of was the “taco” because there was too much sauce and it was messy to eat. Egg is open every day from 8:00am to 6:30pm.
If you’re more in the mood for Asian food, another option for breakfast is Taoyuan Village. There are a few locations in Shanghai and the one I visited was in the Hubindao Mall close to XinTianDi (150 Hubin Lu, 湖滨路150号1楼). Taoyuan Village serves Taiwanese-style breakfast dishes and they’re open all day and night. The menu is completely in Chinese so if you can’t read, you can always point to dishes (It also doesn’t make it easier that the menu is written in Traditional characters).
Taoyuan Village serves dishes like deep-fried Chinese doughnuts (油条) with fresh soy milk (豆浆) and sesame flatbread sandwiches (烧饼). One of the most popular menu items was the savory soy milk (咸豆浆). I think I saw every single person order a bowl.
I ordered the pork chop and egg shao bing sandwich (猪排蛋烧饼) and the savory soy milk. I was incredibly impressed by how good the shao bing/sesame flatbread was. It was so crispy and bursting with toasted sesame flavor. While the pork chop was well-seasoned, it was dry and a little bit on the tough side. However, I didn’t really care because all together with the pork and egg omelette, as a sandwich, it was delicious.
The savory soy milk is served in a bowl with chili oil, preserved vegetables, small preserved shrimp and pieces of Chinese doughnut. Considering all of the rave reviews, I was actually disappointed in this dish. I thought it was rather watery and didn’t have much soy milk taste. I’ve had savory soy milk from street vendors in Shanghai and it’s definitely far superior.
I think Taoyuan Village is a great option if you want to take out of town guests to try Chinese breakfast food and they may be wary of trying street food. Would I go out of my way to eat at Taoyuan Village? No. Can you find better street food? Yes. Would I go back again if I was in the area? Yes. I definitely would order a shao bing sandwich and maybe some cold soy milk and Chinese doughnut to dip it in.