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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

[Taiwan] Taiwanese Beef Noodles @ 建宏牛肉麵

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Location Review:
Wan Hua District, No. 45-6 Luo Yang Street

I've always thought that noodles are one of the most cultured items in Chinese cuisine. Most noodles being made from similar ingredients, it's mind blowing how different geographical regions and cultures can put their own spin and preparation techniques to transform it into a different eatting experience. It can be boiled, steamed, fried, deep fried, pulled, knife sliced, the list goes on.

In Taiwan, noodle soup is very popular, and it is commonly paired with braised beef brisket.

Lucky for me, I stayed in an area where there was an entire street of beef noodle soup spots close by. Luo Yang Street is filled with noodle vendors cart, and beside it are portable tables and chairs to eat at.

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Looking at their cooking station, it's amazing what they can do in such a small confinement. The side panel at the top of the cart is the menu, and you can see that there aren't too many options. In Toronto, we may be used to going to a restaurant, and having a choice of what to order, but here on this street there is only one option. The only decision you have to make, is how big of a bowl of beef noodles you want!

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Watching the noodles being cooked in a huge vat of boiling water. People don't loiter around after eating, so the turnover is incredibly fast.

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At every table was an assortment of condiments that came in these huge tubs. The bright orange tub on the right is a type of hot sauce made with beef fat and chilis. The unpeeled raw garlic clothes, are supposedly eatten between mouthfuls of noodles, and the green pickled cabbage is to be mixed in with your soup. Everything else was just a different spicy condiment. I watched as lots of people loaded these condiments on, and I really wonder how people can eat so much spice when it feels like 50 degrees Celsius on the street with no air conditioning. As a result, I opted to have mine the way it came.

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The beef brisket really stole the show here. It tasted like it was slow cooked just long enough so that it was tender but not mushy and held its form. There's nothing worse than overcooked meat that has no texture when you bite into it. The broth was equally as impressive. It is surprisingly clean, and didn't have any fat deposits or tiny peices of meat floating around like I'm used to. It tasted just as pure, with nothing overly powering in spices, just a nice clean beef broth.

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I tried to move the beef so you could see the noodles. When you order you have the choice of getting thick noodles or thin noodles. These ones are the original thin type. I thought the thickness was perfect, any thicker it might've been too much of a mouth full. The noodles had the perfect amount of chewiness. Soaked up all the yummy soup.

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Beef Noodle Soup (Small - 70 NT or $2.30 CAD, Medium - 80 NT or $2.60 CAD, Large - 90 NT or $3 CAD)

Lastly, I just wanted to show a picture of the size. The one at the very top is the small size, the 2 in the middle left and right are the medium, and the one closest at the bottom is the large. Unlike most noodle places in Toronto, these bowls are filled with substance, and not just soup. My friend @jing116 could barely finish the small. The large is not to be taken lightly!