Monday, October 16, 2017

永康牛肉麵 (Yong Kang Beef Noodle in Taipei)

永康牛肉麵

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I had about 10 days in Taipei, and the second beef noodle spot I tried was the famous Yong Kang. This place is ranked #1 by most people and articles, and their line reflects this. Like all beef noodle spots, though, the line moves quickly.

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I'd read that they choose to be left out of any annual beef noodle ranking competitions, so as to let the underdogs have a chance. How kind.

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Yong Kang was founded in 1963, by Mr. Cheung, who followed the retreat of Chiang Kai Shek’s Kuo Min Tang army to Taiwan in the 40s. This area was a sort of refugee camp back in the day, and his spicy beef noodle was a welcome comfort food for the masses.

The menu has all of your favorites. I had to try both the light and dark soup. First up, the hongshao (紅燒).

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To be honest, I wouldn't come here again. I found the noodles to be overly mushy, the beef a bit tough, and the soup on the salty side.

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The lighter salt bowl wasn't much better, though I prefer it to the darker bowl. Maybe I've just been in Japan too long and have lost my appreciation for spicy.

Looking back on my experience, I realize that I have become very critical of noodles, and this has marred my experiences in both Taiwan and mainland China. I could forgive it on the mainland, where a bowl of soup noodles was about a dollar. Here in Taiwan, the food isn't as cheap as I thought it would be. A small bowl here runs 220 Taiwan dollars, about $7 US. 

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Here's the cool thing about the food in Taipei. There is so much of it, that a bad meal is quickly forgotten. Many of the popular beef noodle restaurants have a choice of large (大) or small (小). Go 小 and you can go somewhere else.

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Shaved ice, for instance.

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The mango and the five-treasures from 龍都冰果専業家 were pretty good, but my favorite was the simple almond milk shaved ice from Yu's ALMOND DESSERT.

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For those who value my opinion, here is my ranking of beef noodle shops I visited, with only the top three being ones I would actually recommend:
  1. 桃源街牛肉麵 (Taoyuan Street Authentic Shandong Beef Noodle in Taipei)
  2. 林東芳牛肉麵 (Lin Dong Fang Beef Noodle in Taipei)
  3. 故宮晶華 (Silks Palace Noodle Beef Noodle in Taipei)
  4. 永康牛肉麵 (Yong Kang Beef Noodle in Taipei)
  5. 牛爸爸 (Niu Baba Beef Noodle in Taipei)
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金山南路二段31巷17號, Taipei
Noodle House · Dà'ān Qū

Open 11:00-9:00pm

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