Taiwanese Beef Noodle Soup

January4

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A few years ago I met up with a friend in Taipei where he was on an artist exchange for 6 months.  During the day while he was working and giving classes I would explore the usual touristy spots solo as highlighted in a city guidebook and enjoyed a fair few reflexology massages. At night he would take me to different night markets weaving through the city traffic on a scooter,  we could sample different hawker food from stinky tofu, freshly squeezed juices, icy fruity desserts and a personal favourite – Taiwanese style beef noodle soup.

One particular night we met up with some ex pat friends of his at a little corner stall at a night market near a university. It was undercover, we sat on bright plastic chairs, that I think were designed for kids rather than adults, fluorescent lights were flickering above, an old TV played the nightly news. I was not expecting much from this little noodle joint,’ an American journalist for the China Post leaned over and said ‘best noodle soup in town’, I was not convinced.

Although the conversations where very stimulating I was preoccupied as soon as a bowl of hot noodle soup was presented in front of me, I didn’t want to order it, I didn’t even like the way it looked to begin with I felt like I was being force fed but as soon as I took my first sip of the broth I was hooked. Since that night it has been a dormant obsession that rears its head from time to time. If I meet someone from Taiwan within minutes I am pestering them for a family recipe. If I am walking down a street and spy a Taiwanese restaurant I suddenly rush in for a bowl. Sometimes I sit and just daydream about it – like now. Sadly nothing compares to the first time. I have looked up the recipe many times before but I just can’t get it right.  This recipe comes close.

For soup stock:

½ kg Diced Beef brisket or if available 1kg beef shanks bone in

4cm of fresh ginger

5 cloves of garlic

2 pinches of dry chilli flakes – more if you like it hot

¼ cup of Chinese rice wine

1 teaspoon of sesame oil

2 Tablespoons of vinegar

1/3 cup of Dark Soy Sauce

1 large Tomato cut into quarters or wedges

1 brown onion –peeled & halved

A few star anise pods

1 ½ teaspoons of Black peppercorns

2.5 litres of water and extra water to keep topping up with

Salt & sugar to taste

Serves 4 people

Place all ingredients into a pot bring to boil, then simmer over a medium heat for approx 2 hours or until meat is soft and falling apart.  Keep an eye on your broth and add water as needed to help maintain the same liquid level. Add salt and sugar to your liking.

Serve with cooked egg or wheat thin noodles, blanched Asian greens like pak choy and most importantly pickled mustard greens, more chilli if you desire.

This recipe is adapted from a Yong Kang Beef Noodle recipe by Amy Ma, which appeared in Saveur Magazine Dec 2010

posted under Slow Food
7 Comments to

“Taiwanese Beef Noodle Soup”

  1. Avatar January 5th, 2011 at Heidi - Apples Under My Bed Says:

    Taipei looks and sounds to be a really cool city. I’ve never been to Taiwan. The soup sounds absolutely delicious! Thanks for this recipe, I look forward to making it.
    Heidi xo


  2. Avatar January 13th, 2011 at msihua Says:

    I can’t cook or eat thisssssss :( (((((

    Do me a chicken/pork/lamb recipe please!!!


  3. Avatar January 15th, 2011 at CooksJournal Says:

    You can always substitute the beef for something else, follow the recipe .. I think lamb would suit this recipe.


  4. Avatar January 22nd, 2011 at free government grant Says:

    Keep posting stuff like this i really like it


  5. Avatar January 28th, 2011 at stick wars Says:

    Hey…thanks for that. Fantastic content. I’ll be coming back soon for more news. Cheers!


  6. Avatar February 3rd, 2011 at evans cycles Says:

    Love this blog. I’ll be bookmarking this one. Thanks!


  7. Avatar February 3rd, 2011 at christmas bells Says:

    Hi i am so pleased I found your blog, I really found you by mistake, while I was searching Yahoo for something else, At Any Rate I am here now and would just like to say thank you for a wonderful blog posting and a all round intriguing blog (I also love the theme/design), I do not have time to read it all at the right now but I have bookmarked it and also added your RSS feeds.


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After growing up in Melbourne I took off overseas to work as a features reporter, based predominately in Asia, writing for some international publications, through this work I was able to visit many different places writing articles on food, travel, fashion, human rights, art & culture.

Now back ‘home’ I am currently involved with an ongoing project doing menu & recipe development where I get to test out new recipes with a team of chefs & food technologists on a daily basis.

I started this blog mainly as a way to keep all my notes and photos in one place, to connect with other food lovers and share some thoughts on food in general and recipes with you.

I am an urban cook & this is my journal.

Email: contact@urbancooksjournal.com




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