Some people wake up in the middle of the night panting, pinned to their beds in fear of the monster underneath. Others wake up cold and annoyed, their half of the blanket tugged away from them. And then there’s me, awake at 4 am after a particularly vivid dream involving crispy hash browns squirting forth melted cheese at first bite.
The wonders no eating after 7 pm has done for my sleep cycle. I’ve never been more happy to be awake at 8 am.
Because when you go to bed hungry and wake up ravenous, breakfast becomes your raison d’être.
Breakfast at Loco Food sometimes veers into lunch territory. Breakfast staples like sandwiches and egg rolls compete for your attention alongside classic, all-American burgers. Why not put the lunch in brunch by ordering the egg rolls and the burgers. Pan fried to golden perfection, the egg rolls come stuffed with German sausage or hash browns and cheese, fillings not commonly found in egg rolls sold at traditional breakfast shops.
Gloriously overflowing, the burgers alone are reason enough to stop by Loco Food. I’d even go as far as to say that their Mushroom Beef Burger is the best I ever had. Seared, crusty beef patty, sautéed mushrooms, cheddar cheese, fried egg, the barest hint of sliced pickles; throw in some lettuce, tomatoes and onions for a semblance of health, and you’ve got a burger that would make Burger King’s Mushroom Swiss curl up in shame and cry.
Wash it all down with the Assam Milk Tea, a smooth concoction of hand brewed Assam tea and fresh milk.
Grandma Nitti’s Kitchen
Stepping into Grandma Nitti’s is like stepping into a Santorini resort. Blue tiles adorn the walls and sunlight streams in through the open windows overlooking the street below. The menu is inspired by food grandma makes: pancakes, toast, omelets and other brunch items. The omelets are fluffy yet substantial and come served with two slices of toast and a hash brown. If you want to start your day with a spicy kick (or just want a dish that will get you a 100 likes on Instagram) order the Mexican Omelet. The fiery red chili, made with ground beef, plump tomato chunks and tender beans, adds a splash of color to the pale yellow omelet and the golden hues of the toast and hash brown grounds the whole dish. The proverbial cherry on top? Cut into your omelet to find gooey melted cheese oozing out.
Grandma’s Omelet is always a classic, studded with ham, mushrooms and peppers. Every omelet set comes with free flow of coffee or tea, making Grandma Nitti’s the perfect place to go into a food coma.
Chen Gen Zhao Cha (陳根找茶)
If you’re willing to wait upwards of 30 minutes for breakfast, then head to Chen Gen Zhao Cha for a taste of how the Taiwanese start their mornings. Nestled amongst luxury apartments in the Xinyi district, prices may be slightly higher than your average breakfast shop, but one bite into their egg roll and you’ll know why the queue never seems to end.
The wait is pretty long but I’d advise you to wait it out in front of the store, instead of wandering over to the nearby OK Mart. The shop assistant might have said that you’d be seated in 45 minutes, but that is only an estimate! Once you miss your turn, you would not be allowed to dine in and you would have to take away the delicious egg rolls and French toast you woke up so early for and eat them on the streets. NOT a good way to start your morning.
Perhaps to entertain waiting customers, they have installed two huge grills right outside the shop. Watch the chefs work their magic flipping egg rolls and grilling toasts and please try not to reach over and nick one off the grill.
Now what should I have for breakfast tomorrow?
Address: Zhongshan District, Nanjing East Road, Section 3, Lane 89, No. 5-4
Grandma Nitti’s Kitchen
Address: Da’an District, ShiDa Road, Lane 93, No. 8
Chen Gen Zhao Cha
Address: Xinyi District, Zhuangjing Road, Lane 391, No. 7