So if you are like me and have tastebuds for TAIWANESE hand pulled beef noodle soup (牛肉麵湯 – Niúròu miàntāng), then Taipei is is your spot. I feel as though I have traveled to hand pulled noodle heaven and back when I order a bowl of this dish. I guess you can say this is the TAIWANESE version of pho. The broth has a very interesting herbal flavour and has a very pronounced beef broth taste – obviously a result of boiling beef bones with herbs for hours, and the colour is very brown.
The noodles taste fresh and are very chewy – which is a sign that it is amazing hand pulled noodles done in store, pulled and in your bowl within minutes. The beef is not your regular tri tip or the chuck. It is probably more the flank and brisket, but it has to be sinewy with the tendon lines in the beef chunks and as you place it in your mouth it literally melts. It is usually topped with a handful of bean sprouts, some chinese bok choy pieces and green spring onions. If you want the spice you can either request it or add it on your own with the communal condiments. One place even had additional beef stock paste in case the flavours were not strong enough. I had the opportunity to try this dish in both one very popular joint, and one not so popular but located in a bustling night market.
The first place is called LIN DONG FANG BEEF NOODLE, and it is a spot recommended in CNN’s list of must eat spots in Taipei. It opens like all restaurants in Taipei at 11am, and the line starts at 1030, so you need to wait to be seated. The restaurant is quite shabby, but who gives a shit because it is the hand pulled beef noodle soup which you go for. That is the only dish on the menu ( asides from small side dishes). There are different variations of the beef and sizes, so if you can’t speak Mandarin or Taiwanese the servers can speak English ( considering it is a popular spot).
The second place I went to where I ordered this dish, was also absolutely divine. I can’t for the world remember the name of the place, but it is located right in the middle of Ningxia Night Markets, so it shouldn’t be too difficult to find. The servers there do not speak English, so if you can’t speak Mandarin ask for an english menu. Most spots have that.
So yeah… I am obsessed over hand pulled noodles and beef soup.. that is all.