Taiwanese Beef Noodles
Updated: Apr 12
The name says it all and people usually associate this beef noodle soup as a Taiwanese dish. The dish is not native to Taiwan, but the flavour was refined in-country that makes it unique. The reason that this dish is not native as traditionally local Taiwanese did not eat beef due to cultural reasons (not all people, but depending on family background), as cows were regarded as friends of the farmlands for their laborious work. It was believed when the KMT troops came to Taiwan, they brought the dish around 1949 and is influenced by Sichuan cuisine, which makes sense as Sichuan is also famous for their noodle soup. No matter how the dish came about, it is Asian fusion done right!
If you are lucky and currently in Taiwan, I highly recommend visiting the noodle shop in DongMen, the restaurant is called Yong Kang Beef Noodles (永康肉刀削麵) No. 5, Lane 10, Yong Kang Street (2-minute walk from the DongMen MRT station). It is an absolute favourite, but be prepared to stand in line or go just before the lunch run!
900g beef shank
6 stalks spring onion, halved
8 slices fresh ginger
6 pcs star anise
1/2 cup vegetable oil
8 cloves of garlic
2 red chillies, halved length way
1 onion, sliced
1 pc rock sugar (tablespoon size)
1 cup of soy sauce
1/2 cup rice wine
5 tomatoes, quarters
1 Tbsp white pepper
5 bay leaves
Salt to taste (approximate 1 tsp)
(You want to offer your guests the option to add more salt rather than be too salty)
Bring water to boil and add the whole beef shank into the water with 3 spring onion stalks, 4 pieces of ginger, 3 pieces of star anise. Cook for around 15 minutes (the objective is the cookout the blood and dirt)
Heat a wok and add in the vegetable oil. Ensure the oil is hot enough and add the beef shank, remaining spring onion, ginger, garlic, star anise, chillies, rock sugar, onion and stir fry for 10 minutes.
Further, add the soy sauce and rice wine for 5 minutes.
Add in the remaining ingredients (tomatoes, white pepper, salt and bay leaves) and continue to fry for another 5 minutes.
Transfer the beef and its ingredients into a pot.
The final step is to add water until the beef is covered. Bring the soup to boil and boil for 20 minutes and then lower the heat and simmer for 3-4 hours. (This would be dependent on the type of cookware you use, i.e. a cast iron pot retains heat more evenly and may not require as much time as a stainless steel pot).
In some cases, people do not like the texture of tomato skins. I would recommend to lightly slice the skin of the tomato (twice around) and place it in hot water for 10 minutes for an easy-peel.
The best way to serve the dish is with handmade wheat noodles, but if you can’t make it, I recommend that you visit the Asian supermarkets for frozen noodles. The noodle texture is different from the dry noodles. You want the chewy texture, as we call “QQ”, complementing your rich beef broth.