Friday, September 04, 2009

Breakfast Buffet at the Shangri-La (Taipei, Taiwan)

One of the many stations at the Shangri-La breakfast buffet.

This post is quite delayed because I was too afraid to tackle the number of photos for it. But, after much procrastination, I finally buckled down and processed them.

This is the breakfast buffet at the Shangri-La's Far Eastern Plaza Hotel in Taipei, Taiwan.

I remember during our childhood (in Asia) being taken to hotel breakfast buffets. They were big spreads! With good food, I should add. Then, coming to Vancouver, I was immensely disappointed that first time at a hotel buffet. Is it just me, or are buffets (breakfast or otherwise) not that great in North America? (Granted, I haven't been to any in Las Vegas.)

The breakfast buffet is located in the "Café". Don't let the name fool you. Go inside and take a look at the smorgasbord.

Excuse me, wha-?

Oh, too much food all at once, now, eh? That's not even all of it! Needless to say, we were quite giddy with excitement upon seeing this. We went a little buffet-crazy the first time around.

Here's a little slower-paced tour of the breakfast buffet.

The Beverage Station

Some beverages to get you started.

They have your usual juices, including vegetable ones. (Left to right: orange, grapefruit, tomato?, celery?, carrot)

They also have cold milk coffee and cold milk tea. (That's water on the far left.)

For coffee, or any espresso-based drink, please order from a server.

They had an espresso machine beside the cold coffee and teas and I took a chance to press a couple of the buttons while grabbing myself a juice.

I was beside myself because the coffee was fresh, the juices were fresh: this was going to be breakfast in style!

Nice fancy jars for milk: whole, 2%, skim. For drinking, or for cereal.

Cocoa Rice Krispies!!! Cocoa cereal is a weakness of mine. Ah, cocoa-y goodness. There were other cereals also available.

Fruits, fruits, and more fruits

This is a benefit of being in a tropical country, right? (Wait, is Taiwan a tropical country?)

We have there some carambola (starfruit), watermelon, oranges, honeydews, pineapples, dragonfruit, unknown cherry-colored fruits, passionfruits, grapefruits, guavas, cantaloupe, cherimoya... I don't know if I'm leaving anything out.

A sample plate of fruits: dragonfruit (didn't care much for that), sliced guava, pineapple, and cherimoya. In the background is my cold milk tea.

The cherimoya was soooooo sweet! This is a different type from the "cherimoya" -- called atis -- we ate during childhood in the Philippines.

Sliced guavas with salt. Too bad they didn't have coarse salt, as that's way better.

Western Breakfast

They had a variety of "Western breakfast" items, of course.


Many different kinds of breads.

Pumpkin seed bread.

Random bun. I'm not sure if this was in the "Western" section, or the "Eastern".

They even have a toaster for making toast. They had sliced sandwich bread (white, whole wheat, etc.) beside it. Of course, the requisite jams and such were also nearby.

Cold Cuts & Cheeses

We didn't really partake much from this station. I believe they had various cold cuts available, a couple or so types of cheeses, bread for slicing, probably some fruit compotes and such, nuts, dried fruits. . .

Viennoiserie (Pastries and Baked Goods)

They had Danishes, mini muffins, some loaves (banana and another). Croissants, etc. etc. etc. Your usual suspects in a viennoiserie display.

I didn't really have anything from the viennoiserie. I had to save stomach space for the things I truly liked.

Chocolate Fondue
Oh, they also had a chocolate fondue! I can't believe I don't have a picture of that.

Hot Food, Western

That above -- bacon and hash browns, plus ham sliced-to-order -- is only a section of the Western hot food section. There were also sausages, grilled half-tomatoes, a strata, and other items.

My sample "Western hot food" plate.


Oh yeah, there was oatmeal too.

Omelette Station

What self-respecting breakfast buffet would be without an omelette station!? The different items to fill one's omelette: onions, ham, mushrooms, tomatoes, bell peppers...

...and cheese. There is an omelette in the works right there.


Of course there were pancakes! Here I topped mine with maple syrup and chocolate sauce (from the chocolate fondue), and some fruit preserve thing (I forget what kind). This didn't come out as pretty as I would've liked. But, still delicious!


Waffles, too! I took to topping mine with blood orange jam and ricotta cheese. The maple syrup and slice of starfruit were just for show.

French Toast

With pancakes and waffles, could French toast be far behind?

It's sharing the plate with an apricot pastry, half of a passionfruit and some guava slices. That there in the background was a "yogurt" drink (think Yakult).

The Table

Let's take a little breather for a moment and sit at the table. I ordered black tea too.

Don't rest too long as there's still more to the breakfast buffet!

"Eastern" Breakfast

The steamers scream "Asian".

Steamed Items / "Dim sum"

There were some steamed buns, siu mai, etc. But, I didn't think dim sum would be a specialty here, so I don't really have pictures of those items.

Japanese section

The buffet had a little Japanese section: miso soup, chawanmushi, some hot foods like stir-fried pork with ginger (or something similar), etc.

Miso soup, a packet of seaweed, some glazed chicken drumette (if I remember correctly), and stir-fried pork.

Some condiments. I frankly do not remember what these items are.


I got myself a packet of seaweed...

...and topped my chawanmushi with one of the condiments, and torn pieces of the seaweed.

Hot Food, Chinese

I don't have many pictures of these Chinese hot food items either! That above is... I don't know... is it supposed to be some taro item? There was also fried rice and/or stir-fried noodles, tofu items, stir-fried greens...

A tofu dish.

Some more Chinese hot foods. Another tofu dish, a stewed egg... Is that another tofu item? There's an eggy thing. I'm sorry, I really can't remember. Probably because I was focused on the following two sections.


Congee!!!! Look at all those Le Creuset pots with congee: plain, fish, pork... I think the other two are different items altogether. I know one of the pots had hot/warm soy milk.

Oh, don't worry about that Mexican hat in the background. The Café was having a special Mexican week buffet available during lunchtime. We didn't try it.

The best part about eating congee is the condiments. There's Taiwan peanuts (so good), kimchi, pickled green beans, some other pickled things, salted eggs (far right)... but most importantly, pork floss!

My go-to congee combination: pickled green beans, pork floss and Taiwan peanuts.

Of course, they had you tiao (Chinese doughnuts) to go along with the different kinds of congee. On my plate, there's also some sautéed greens and a steamed bun.

I've forgotten how much I love congee for breakfast. I must have had congee every time we partook of this breakfast buffet. Congee is light and satisfying, comforting and flavourful all at the same time.

"Dan Dan" Noodle Soup

Finally, I saved the best for last! This was our absolute favorite item in the entire gigantormous buffet.

They have a wonderful broth, then the diner chooses the type of noodle and the "toppings" that go into their bowl of noodle soup.

The toppings available: duck, oyster mushrooms...

...bean sprouts, kangkong (water spinach), ...
(That is the blurriest picture ever.)

...some sort of balls (fish balls, perhaps), kani (imitation crab), and an unknown one on the far right.

The young man at the "dan dan" noodle soup station. Teehee, we like his surly ways. We've christened him "sungit" (Tagalog; pronounced soong-it), which roughly translates as "One who is surly/grumpy/cranky." As with most of the people we've seen or dealt with in Taipei, he's a very efficient worker. =)

There he is, pulling out noodles out of boiling water. He places the noodles and whatever toppings you have chosen into your bowl, then the delicious broth, and tops it with the "dan dan" mixture. It's some sort of bean thing.

Next stop, the condiments.

We have there some (top row, left to right) minced garlic, chili oil, soy sauce; (middle row) chopped cilantro, minced onions, sesame oil; (bottom row) sliced green onions, fried shallots, and Thai bird chilies.

That's JS choosing her condiments. She has thick noodles for this bowl (one of many) of "dan dan".

One of my bowls. I chose vermicelli, the duck, oyster mushrooms, beansprouts, and kangkong (water spinach). The brown things that look like minced pork is their "dan dan" mixture. The condiments on that bowl included minced garlic, Thai bird chilies, onions, green onions, cilantro, and fried shallots. I may have threw in some of the other ones as well.

I don't know if this really qualifies as dan dan noodles -- perhaps it's a different version? -- but whatever it was, it was sooooo good.

That broth, that broth, that broth!

Then, when the garlic hits the hot bowl of goodness? Whoa.

We kind of want to go back to the Shangri-La in Taipei just to pig out on that dan dan noodle soup station!

God of Breakfasts

It's like the god of breakfast sat down and thought, now what else can they possibly want from a breakfast buffet? I've given everyone everything they could ever want to eat in the morning.

Ah, breakfast buffet. . . Seeing this makes me want to go back to Asia.

I recall writing down the different items on offer at the breakfast buffet, but I can't find my notes! =( Trust me when I say that there are still items missing from my show-and-tell above.

So, there you have it. That's how a breakfast buffet should be.

Shangri-La's Far Eastern Plaza Hotel, Taipei
Café at Far Eastern

Taiwan trip 2009
Taiwanese Bakery Goods (including ChiaTe Bakery)
Dan Shui 淡水, Taiwan (including food)
Taipei Quick Eats: Mos Burger, Hong Ya Breakfast, Ay Chung Flour-Rice Noodle
Taipei Convenience Store Foods
Shilin Night Market 士林夜市 (Taipei, Taiwan)
Breakfast Buffet at the Shangri-La (Taipei, Taiwan)
Taiwan Beef Noodle Soup, 4 versions (Taipei, Taiwan)
Yehliu 野柳 Geopark; Dried Seafood (Taiwan)

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  1. oh my gosh, are you kidding. i kind of want to go to Taipei just to eat this breakfast.

  2. Why can't there be a buffet like this in the US? I would surely go just to check out the massive offerings! I especially like all the different regions and tastes represented! (PS: I've missed your blog and I'm glad to have some time to check in!)

  3. That is a most impressive spread! I can only imagine how huge the whole restaurant is!

  4. O_O

    That is an impressive buffet and, in a way, one that I won't mind going to (specially considering what we have here as buffet). Out of curiosity, how much was it?

  5. THat's very impressive! I would love to wake up to this!

  6. What a great spread of food! So nicely presented too. I have visited the Shangri-La hotel chain before and have eaten breakfast in several locations, but this one looks to be the most special. I've seen the noodle stations and everything, but the presentation at the buffet in Taipei looks better compared to other buffets like Cafe Kool in Kowloon Shangri-La. You are making me want to go back to Asia now :).

  7. I absolutley adore the buffets in China. On my last trip to China, 90% of our breakfast buffets were like the one you went to. Imagine what dinner would be like? =)

  8. Apparently it's one of the best breakfast buffets in Taipei! Good thing you stayed at the Shangri La =) And regarding that cherimoya, it's different because it's a hybrid! (i think between a pineapple and the traditional cherimoya). Personally I like the original cherimoya better, the new hybrid is weird..

  9. Whoa TS and JS, what a spread! I stayed at the Guangzhou Shangri-la in July and I thought their breakfast buffet was good, but the Taipei location's is even better!

    Completely agree on the lousy buffet offerings in North America - hotels here don't know how to do buffets. And while I've been to several buffets in Vegas, I still think the Asian hotel buffets are better (but also pricier).

    I've got a bunch of photos from the lunch buffet at "The Line" in the Singapore Shangri-la. Gotta remember to post that soon...

  10. I love our buffets!
    Unfortunately, I don't live in Taiwan now.
    I sure do miss all Taiwanese food.

  11. maybelle's mom:
    That "dan dan" noodle soup was so good. [sigh]

    Glad that you're back!

    Actually, I don't remember. It was mentioned once or something, but it has completely slipped my mind now. It wasn't "cheap", I guess.

    Loving Buffet:
    Hehehe... Asia's where the buffets are at! ;D

    Hey, is that you, ALICE? Teehee. re cherimoya: Oh, so perhaps what we know as "atis" is the same as the "original" cherimoya?

    Will be looking forward to your Singapore buffet! (Oh, so even the Vegas buffets are not that great, you say?)

    It was great eating all around while we were in Taipei. =)

  12. Wow. You didn't eat all that in one sitting, did you??
    I just found your blog and I love it. I'm drooling.

  13. Charlie:
    Thanks for visiting! Well, the first day, we went kind of crazy at the buffet. So I think almost all of the food photographed was from the first day. Almost, but not all. ;)

  14. Its April 2012 and I was looking for a Taipei hotel with a good breakfast. So glad ivsaw these photos as most reviewers take photos of the bedroom.

    1. Glad this was useful! Haha, bedroom-schmedroom. The breakfast buffet is where it's at! ;)


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