After a very sleepless sweaty night following our arrival in Taipei and exploring Shilin Night Market, my uncle came to pick us up at some ungodly hour in the morning. Actually it was probably only 930am, but when you’re jetlagged and still adjusting to the uncomfortable weather that is summer in Taiwan, it sure seems ungodly. So we got ready…slowly. First thing that he wanted to take us to see was.. surprise surprise, food. Instantly the first thing I had in mind was TAIWANESE BEEF NOODLE! Obviously the other 3 guys were big fans of this idea as well.
My uncle already had a place in mind, he said he’d take us to a street known for its restaurants and food. It’s not uncommon to find entire streets in Taiwan and Asia in general that are dedicated solely to food. With so many hungry mouths, food is important. Yong Kang Street 永康街 is one of these streets.
Though not necessarily the oldest, this place has won awards.. and is busy. We arrived half an hour before opening, so we had plenty of time to sweat while waiting outside and check out the menu. Mini bamboo baskets were steaming away, while we waited.
Thank god for these menus. There’s no English on the regular menus as you’ll see below, and that causes problems sometimes as the extent of Chinese characters that I can read has diminished a lot.
Really though, I have no need for a menu sometimes. I know what I want, I can order it, and I can communicate that in Mandarin just fine. However our friend Victor? Not so much.
You see, in Taiwan and Asia in general.. the menu is usually pretty simple and pasted everywhere, which means no menu needs to be handed out to you at the table. It’s all about efficiency. You want customer service? Go back to North America. You want cheap excellent food? Stay in Asia.
Along with the menu items visible everywhere on the menu, this is how you order. Check off what you want on a paper pad right at your table and hand it off to someone.
My uncle ordered for us, and got a couple appetizers to share. First one was one of those bamboo steamers we saw outside.
A top layer of garlic rice seasoned with spices covered the small chunks of spare ribs underneath. That wasn’t it though, there was still some sweet potatoes underneath that kind of allowed the sweetness the permeate upwards into the rice itself. Good to have, but two small baskets was definitely not enough to share between 5 guys…haha.
I saw this on the menu and asked for it, for some reason I had a craving for it ever since we left YVR.. Wontons In Chili Oil Sauce 红油抄手 (Hong You Chao Shou). Every restaurant varies in the way they make this, some straight up drown it in chili oil, some add some peanut sauce. I’m more partial to the former than the latter though.
Not sure who ordered this, but here’s what the Braised Beef Tendon Noodle Soup looks like.
As for me, I ordered the classic Braised Beef Noodle Soup – 紅燒牛肉麵 (Hong Shao Niu Rou Mian). I found out later that they use 豆瓣醬 (dou ban jiang) for their soup base, but I didn’t find it very salty at all. It was spicy though, definitely more Szechuan influenced. The noodles were nothing to talk about, I think the focus for this particular TWBN place is the soup and the meat.
Tender beef shank that just melts in your mouth, barely any chewing required..and would break off if you squeezed too hard with the chopsticks.
Address: No. 17, Ln 31, Jinshan South Rd, Sec 2, Taipei (台北市金山南路2段31巷17號) Google Maps
Telephone: (02) 2351 1051
Hours of operation: 11:30am-2pm , 5:30pm-8pm