The Most Famous Taiwanese Cuisine
Some of you might heard of some festivals in Asian countries. In Taiwan for example, the main festivals are Chinese new year, moon festival, and dragon boat festival. However, have you ever heard of “Taipei Beef Noodle Festival”? Yes! There is such festival in Taiwan. It is to award to the city’s best beef noodles of the year. There are award categories including best traditional spicy broth, best clear broth soup and most creative beef noodle soup.
You know a dish is an obsession when it has its own festival. But what exactly is beef noodle? It is basically noodle soup made of stewed beef, beef broth, vegetables and noodles. There are many kinds of beef noodles mainly differ from the beef broth (soup).
Here are two main kinds of beef noodles:
For ones who prefer lighter flavor, the taste of clear broth soup is mainly from the long stewed broth and sweetness of radish.
This is the most common and traditional beef noodle soup. The broth is made of many different kinds of species for example, five-spice powder, peppercorn, and sometimes Chinese medicine. Different vendors have different secret ingredients to add in their beef noodles.
Annually, every beef noodle chef from restaurant /vendors want to claim the “beef noodle king” title in the Taipei beef noodle festival. Some call beef noodle Taiwan’s “national dish”. I would say beef noodle is a must-eat when visiting Taiwan, especially in Taipei, as that is where the festival is from. It is almost impossible to have a bad beef noodle experience in Taipei. For tourists, a bowl of beef noodles is the best way to dive into food culture in Taipei.
So, I have never won an award of “beef noodle king”, but as much as I have loved this Taiwanese cuisine, I learned to make beef noodle soup from my mother’s recipe(traditional spicy broth). I am sharing this amazing recipe, so for those who are interested in being the next beef noodle king, here is your chance 😉
Taiwanese Beef Noodle Soup
Makes about 6 servings
- 3 – 4 tablespoons of oil (vegetable or peanut oil)
- 1 kg of beef stew meat (preferably boneless beef shanks, if not, beef brisket), cut into cubes ( not too small, about 2 inches a piece)
- 5 thick slices of ginger
- 5 heads of garlic, smashed
- 2 fresh red chilies
- 4 large tomato
- 1 whole radish, chopped in to big pieces
- 1 cup of rice wine
- 1 cup of soy sauce
- 1 table spoon of peppercorns
- ½ teaspoons of five-spice powder
- 2 star anise
- 1 tablespoon of chili bean sauce
- 2 whole scallion
- Asian noodles depending on how much you want to eat
- Heat the oil in a large soup pot. Add beef to the pot, cook and flip until both sides of the beef are browned; set the meat aside in a plate.
- Use the same pot, add another tablespoon of oil. Add ginger, garlic, chilies, stir and fry for about 3 minutes.
- Place the meat back into the pot with step 2 ingredients. Add sugar and chili bean sauce, stir well with the meat. Add rice wine and bring to boil. Stir or mix constantly to avoid the bottom part to burn.
- Let step 3’s ingredients in the pot to boil for a minute, then add soy sauce, peppercorns, five spice powder, scallions, tomato, radish and star anise, also, add water as much that it covers everything in the pot. Bring to boil then reduce the heat to low simmer.
- Cover the pot with a lid, let it stew with a low heat for 2-3 hours.
- Once the broth is done, cook the noodle according with the package instructions. Serve the noodle with beef soup.
- It is recommended to add some chopped scallions on the top of beef noodle soup. It will add some fresh flavor to the dish.
So guys, màn màn chī! (This is how we say enjoy your meal/bon appetite in Taiwan)
See you next week!
To read more about food culture of Taiwan and recipes, please read: