Liu Mama’s Rice Ball 劉媽媽飯團
Address: No. 88, Hangzhou South Rd Section 2, Taipei / 台北市杭洲南路二段88號
Price: 35~55 NTD/rice ball
What gets me up early in the day? A good breakfast, but of course. On my last morning in Taipei, I set out in the drizzling rain to find the city’s best breakfast rice ball, a staple food that originated from Japan (they call it お握り onigiri) but has since been evolved and adapted to fit the Taiwanese palate. 劉媽媽飯團 (Liu Mama’s), a little hole in the wall on Hangzhou South Rd, is reputed to be the best in its class. So is it worth sacrificing a few hours of sleep for? Absolutely.
Liu Mama Rice Ball
Here’s the menu at Liu Mama’s, you can see that there are quite a few options. Basically, you can choose between regular sticky rice and purple sticky rice, and pick from an assortment of ingredients like tuna, sausage, pork chops, cheese, kimchi, smoke chicken, plum, corn, bonito flakes, etc., etc., etc.
In the making
But all I wanted was the simple 招牌紫米飯團 signature purple rice rice ball (35 NTD). What’s in it? Braised egg (滷蛋), pickled cabbage (酸菜), dried turnips (蘿蔔干), pork floss (肉鬆), deep-fried dough stick (油條), all wrapped up in sticky, chewy, freshly-cooked purple rice. Nothing fancy, but oh my gosh, what a totally satisfying mouthful.
Signature purple rice ball, 35 NTD
Deep-fried dough stick, love the crunch
Liu Mama also does a sweet rice ball (30 NTD) with sugar and peanut powder. Not my favorite, but it’s worth a try for those having a sweet tooth.
Sweet rice ball, 30 NTD
Sometimes, it’s the simple things that impress me the most. Liu Mama’s is a must-visit. No questions about it.