What is Beef Noodle

There is beef steak in the US, sukiyaki in Japan, and beef stew in Europe; however, the combination of beef and noodle in one bowl of gourmet is a classic creativity in Chinese gourmet foods. The Sichuan braised beef noodle that is popular in Taiwan, in particular, is one hundred percent made in Taiwan, and is the food and beverage version of Taiwan miracle.

There are different styles and tastes of beef soups in the north and south to the Yangtse River. However, the “Sichuan” style braised beef noodle is uniquely created in Taiwan. It could be a conversion of “Small Bowl of Beef in Red Soup (large chunk of beef briefly boiled for bloodletting, then placed into boiling pot, simmer with low heat until done. Then add properly prepared broad bean paste from Pi County, Chinese prickly ash, anise, green onion, and ginger into beef soup, and stew with low heat) ”. Just add noodles in the Small Bowl of Beef in Red Soup, and Sichuan style braised beef noodle is ready to serve.

Its origin may be traced back to Gangshan Village in Kaohsiung County . Air Force Academy locates in Gangshan, the Academy is moved from Chengdu (a county in Sichuan Province ), and most of the Air Force families come from Sichuan . They manufacture the famous Gangshan spicy broad bean paste by imitating broad bean paste of Pi County of Sichuan. Spicy broad bean paste is the major seasoning material for cooking Sichuan cuisine and Sichuan style braised beef noodle. This suggests that Gangshang is the most possible origin of Sichuan style braised beef noodle, which is passed on to Taipei , and taken to every towns and villages in Taiwan by retired military personnel.

The rise and popularity of Sichuan style braised beef noodle, which eventually becomes a common dish of Taiwan , is an unusual phenomenon. The forefathers who come to Taiwan for farming rely on cattle as the major supply of labor, and treat cattle ardently; they just don't eat beef. The rise of Sichuan style braised beef noodle not just breaks through this taboo, but also paves the road for the landing of American fast foods in later days. Even after the invasion of American fast foods culture in Taiwan , the only sustainable Chinese fast food rival is instant noodles, and every brand of instant noodles has the choice of braised beef noodle taste.

( Interview: Professor Lu, Yaodong, Expert in history of food and beverage )

(1) Variety of Beef Noodle

Braised Beef Noodle:

Beef dices are first stir-fried with green onion, ginger, soybean sauce, and spicy broad bean paste, and add cattle bone stock soup and exclusive thick soybean sauce stew pack, then boil down to dark brown beef sour with low heat. Finally, add noodles. Different restaurants evolve to different unique tastes. Some emphasize on the scents of cattle bones and beef tallow while some others emphasize on soybean sauce taste. Some sprinkle sesame seeds, some others add fermented glutinous rice or red yeast rice. Some also adapt multiple spices and herbs. The most popular taste uses tomato to bring out the flavor by using the sour and sweetness of tomato to neutralize thick and salty taste of beef stock soup; it is called “Tomato

Clear Stewed Beef Noodle:

Simmer quick-boiled beef with cattle bone stock soup, ginger, green onion, and spices. The soup is clear and the beef is tenderly loose and light. It tastes great with or without adding noodle. Clear stewed beef noodle is sold in muslin restaurants operated by Shandong people in the earlier years. The soup is light and the taste is deep. It emphasizes that only local yellow cattle processed with muslin ritual is used, and has unique fresh aroma of beef. At Taiwanese beef noodle stalls, fresh beef is simmered with boiling water, and seasoned with salt, sugar, and rice wine. The soup is also clear and the beef is fresh, but the taste is light with somewhat sweetness. In recent years, Hong Kong chefs utilize clear soup steaming technique on beef noodle by steaming beef and seasoning materials with clear soup in ceramic bowl for a long period of time, and emphasize further on original essence of soup and taste.

Innovative Beef Noodle:

Spicy hot pot is hot in Taipei, and it makes a new way for beef noodle. By combining spicy stock soup full of aroma of Chinese prickly ash and beef stock soup rich of ingredients and thick taste together, consumers who love spicy soup and beef noodle now have a new choice of double satisfaction.

The satay beef noodle originates from Shantou of Chaojou uses satay stock soup of cattle bone, beef ball soup, and satay sauce, and made-to-order sliced and boiled beef slices, thin noodle, bean sprouts, and pea sprouts. You may add lemon-chili juice mixed by restaurant owner freely when eating.

There is also an emerging trend of beef noodle and steak. In addition to flavor-rich beef dice, a piece of tender, pan-fried steak also lies on top of noodle. Cheap and large-serving beef noodle at street stall have now turned into “gourmet” with a much bigger price.

Golden grown like the autumn sun, curry has its play in the world of beef noodle. Not just for its attractive golden grown appearance, the curry stock soup also emits thick aroma and tastes spicy. Thick and slippery hot soup go very well with noodle. It is really a gourmet treat.

Beef noodle is not necessarily served with soup. Lay some pieces of soybean sauce stewed beef slices on top of cooked noodle, sprinkle large amount of chopped green onion, pour some garlic water, soybean sauce, and beef stock soup, then stir while it is still hot. This beef noodle stir offers even greater satisfaction without soup.

(2) Beef Noodle Tasting
* Chopped green onion or garlic sprouts; which one is a better match for beef noodle?

Garlic sprout works better in bringing out flavor. The thicker taste of braised beef noodle is, the more garlic sprout is required for bringing out flavor; only a small amount of chopped green onion is needed. However, lighter taste beef noodle, especially clear stewed, should use more chopped green onion and less garlic sprout.


* Chinese pickled cabbage is absolutely needed!

Beef noodle without pickled cabbage is equal to a finished make-up without lipstick; the effect of final touch up suddenly is lost. However, the cabbage must have outstanding quality and finely sliced and diced before it may be pan-fried at low heat to slowly dehydrate the moisture within the pickled cabbage, so that it will emit aroma without heavy taste and grease, and will not cap out the gracefulness of beef noodle.

When beef noodle is served, have some soup and noodle first to taste the original stock soup, and then add pickled cabbage according to your preference, allowing the pickled cabbage to blend in with the beef soup. Noodle will taste better, and the bowl of noodle will be finished without noticing.

* The Heavy Metal Rock of Beef Noodle: Spicy Oil:

Typically there are two types of spicy oils in beef noodle restaurant. One is red oil refined from dried red chili pepper. The scent of red chili is emitted through the deep red color; it may increase spiciness. The other one is marketed red chili paste. Added into soup and the stimulus of taste is enhanced. There is spicy beef tallow on top of these two spicy oils. It is made by flushing boiling hot beef tallow into chili powder. It can instantly upgrade the scent and taste of beef noodle.

* Adjust saltiness; add salt instead of soybean sauce

After a bowl of beef noodle is served, if the taste is too light, then adjust saltiness with salt. Do not add soybean sauce directly into the soup to prevent spoiling the taste of soup.

* Other Ingredient: Vinegar

If Chinese pickled cabbage is not available for beef noodle, then a small amount of rice vinegar is the alternative. The sourness may relief the grease and thick taste of having the entire bowl of noodle.

*The “Three-Must” of eating beef noodle:

Color: Clear stew must not have any floating grease. Braised should have the rich color resulted from adding adequate amount of simmered soybean sauce and spicy broad bean paste.

Aroma: Thick and fresh without odor; the unique scent of beef must be distinguishable.

Flavor: Adequately cooked and softened without odor. Tastes of pan-fried and simmered ingredients such as ginger, green onion, garlic, red chili, and beef must be distinguishable from braised beef noodle.

*Beef Noodle Taste Lesson:

1. Beef: The leading actor of beef noodle. For material selection, ribs and half-tendon and half-meat are all excellent selection; chewy, great texture, not too greasy, and not too dry.

2. Stock soup: Fine braised beef stock soup has the aroma of broad bean paste blended in for smooth and thick flavor. All spices and soybean sauce and seasonings are gently and tenderly balanced in soup without exaggerated aroma of spices taking away the essence of beef. Saltiness is fine-tuned to perfection; rich flavor without heavy saltiness. Freshness and pureness are the primary concerns for clear stewed stock soup. Clear color soup tastes pure but not greasy. After tasted, the sweet flavor still remains at tongue tip; not the fake sweet flavor of licorice, artificial sweet, or beef essence powder.

3. Noodle: Whether it is plain noodle, hand-rolled home style noodle, hand-made knife-shaved noodle, knife-shaved noodle, or thin and flat noodle, beef noodle should have a certain level of elasticity without stiffness or turning into paste. Hard noodle that soaks in hot soup will still absorb soup and results in different texture. In addition, noodle is supposed to reveal the scent of flour; some noodle has corn starch added in to increase elasticity, despite the texture is slippery and chewy, it totally loses the scent of flour and is not adorable.

(Tasting Consultants: Lu, Yaodong;
Jiao Tong; Li, Meisian; Xia, Huiwen; Wang, Zhiyu; Hu, Tianlan; Zeng, Xiubao)

Organizer  Taipei City Government
Executor Taipei Business Administration Office of Department of Economic Development, Taipei City Government
Co-Sponsor  Department of Cultural Affairs, Taipei City Government
Department of Transportation, Taipei City Government
Tourism Commission, Taipei City Government
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