When I was studying abroad in Taiwan, my favorite thing to eat for breakfast was dan bing (Chinese: 蛋餅). Dan bing is a traditional Taiwanese breakfast consisting of a crepe and egg as the base with the option of adding ingredients like ham, bacon, hot dog, tuna, corn, or cheese. Lots of small breakfast shops on the street sell dan bing and it’s very convenient to get on-the-go and very cheap. A basic egg dan bing costs about 20 TWD, which is about $0.63 USD, and to order one with an additional ingredient would cost about 30 TWD, which is about $0.95 USD.
It’s been nine months since I left Taiwan so I thought it was about time I attempted to make my favorite breakfast food. Remember when I said it was a quick, on-the-go breakfast? Yeah, not so much when you make it yourself. I failed my first two attempts and ripped many crepes that couldn’t be saved and had to be thrown out, but I’ll share what worked and what didn’t work so you can avoid making those same mistakes. So it may not have been quick but it was still cheap! Most of the ingredients were things I already had in my kitchen and the only ingredients I had to go out and buy were bread flour and scallions.
½ cup bread flour
2 tablespoons corn starch
1 cup of water
¾ tablespoon sesame oil
3 tablespoons chopped scallions
Mix the bread flour, corn starch, a pinch of salt, and 1 cup of water in a small mixing bowl. Mix it well and let it sit for 10 minutes.
For each dan bing, beat one egg with ¼ teaspoon sesame oil, 1 tablespoon water, 1 tablespoon chopped scallions, and a pinch of salt.
Heat a large pan on medium heat and spray generously with cooking spray. Pour about a half cup of the batter onto the pan (be sure to stir it a little first) and tilt the pan around to spread the mixture evenly into a nice big circle. Be sure to work quickly because the bottom of the mixture will start to solidify fast. Let it cook until the top has set and then flip it over.
Tips: Once you think the top has set, I would recommend waiting an extra minute before flipping. If you have difficulty flipping it over, try flipping it onto a greased up plate and then carefully sliding it back onto the pan, cooked side up, with the help of your greased up spatula. I would also re-spray the pan before sliding the crepe back on. After my first few failed attempts, I learned that cooking spray is your best friend for anything that comes in contact with the crepe otherwise the crepe will cling on and rip.
Once you’ve flipped the crepe over, pour the egg mixture evenly onto the crepe. Try not to let the egg mixture spill over the edges but it’s no big deal if it happens. Let it cook until most of the egg has set and then flip it over to the other side to cook for an additional 10-20 seconds. The crepe should be sturdy enough to flip with a spatula this time. Now flip it egg side up onto a cutting board and roll it up and then cut into one inch pieces. The dan bing will be hot so I suggest dipping your fingers in a bowl of ice water right before handling.
And there you have it! A delicious traditional Taiwanese breakfast. You’ll want to serve it with some sauce. You can use sweet chili sauce or make an amazing dipping sauce using 1 tablespoon hoisin sauce, 1 ½ teaspoons soy sauce, 2 teaspoons vinegar, 1 tablespoon honey, and 1 teaspoon sesame oil. I drizzled the dipping sauce I made on top of the dan bing and then dipped it in the sweet chili sauce and it tasted phenomenal!
I also made tuna dan bing because that’s what I always ordered in Taiwan. I just mixed some canned tuna in with the egg mixture and it actually made the mixture more controllable when I poured it onto the crepe.
Big thanks to my sorority sister, Raisa Buenaventura, for taking these photos for me and being patient with me as I struggled to figure this out.
Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy the recipe!