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- [Iz Harris] Meat, noodles,
broth, and veggies:
a combination of elements
featured in many different cuisines.
But Taiwan has somehow taken this combination
and made it their own, laying claim to a dish
that is seemingly simple on the surface, but in actuality,
is a deep symbol of the national pride here.
You see beef noodle everywhere.
Walk into a 7-11, beef noodle-flavored potato chips.
There's even an international beef noodle competition.
- [Reporter] The international beef noodle festival...
- [Reporter] How tasty are Taipei's famous beef noodles?
- [Iz Harris] What is it about this dish,
and how do I get some?
Taipei knows how to do a savory breakfast.
We're here at this restaurant
which is like an institution in Taipei.
It's open 24 hours.
We have a bunch of different savory pastries,
dumplings, bao, omelets, all sorts of stuff,
and then then it's all balanced out by this sweet soy soup.
They make their own soy products in house,
so there's the soy soup,
and then they have sweetened
and salty soy milk as well.
That's a big part of Taiwanese food,
and we are loving it.
Is that yummy?
- Yes.
- Yes?
Everything is made very fresh,
in fact they don't even freeze the meat.
Outside, we saw them frying these pastries.
They fry them up, and then they put them inside
with pickled vegetables.
The outside of it is like a fried steam bun
that they wrap it in.
I'm going to try it.
Oh, it's spicy, woo!
It's definitely spicy.
It was such a family-centered restaurant.
They couldn't have been kinder.
The food was made fresh, and was delicious and flavorful.
We're heading out today to a town called Jiufen,
which is good, because I seriously need to digest
as I prepare for beef noodle tonight.
- [Johnny Harris] Wow.
- This place is called Jiufen.
Every local I spoke to made it clear
that I should not miss it.
One of the really cool things about this area
is that it has a street that just winds
through the mountain village,
and it's just covered with different street food options.
We're going to go through and try a few things,
explore the different food options, but pace ourselves,
because we have beef noodle coming up tonight,
and I know I don't want to be too full.
Okay, we're all suited up.
Ready to go.
It is absolutely stunning and pouring.
We're not mad though, right?
- Yeah.
- (laughs) Right.
It has a lot of Japanese influence,
and it was actually said that it was part of
the inspiration for some of Miyazaki's films,
specifically "Spirited Away,"
so I'm pretty excited about that.
It's still raining super hard,
so we're going to go find some cover,
get some street food, and explore the main market strip.
Street food here is the name of the game.
I was told I have to try the taro ball soup,
deep-fried fish, and Taiwanese sausage,
but honestly, I'll try whatever.
We're here at Grandma Lai's Taro Balls.
This is one of the most popular places here.
These are sweet taro balls
that can be served cold or hot.
We decided to go with hot.
They come in a variety of flavors,
so there's taro, sweet potato, pumpkin,
and a few others.
We're going to try it.
- Yes.
- I'm starting to like these. - Mmm.
- That's good.
Has a really starch, chewy texture,
which makes sense, with it being a rice ball,
but it almost tastes slightly like a marshmallow,
like it has that creamy, sweet flavor too.
It's really good.
Taiwanese sausage is a very specific thing,
and it was on, like, the top 10 list of things
to try when in Taiwan,
so I'm excited.
Here goes it.
It's like, smoky and sweet.
It's a little too fatty for me,
but I could see how this,
because of the distinctness of the flavor and the texture,
could be someone's favorite.
Uh, yeah, let's try one. - Okay.
- You're going to try it first.
That was the biggest mushroom I've ever seen in my life.
- Yes.
Oh, yeah.
- [Iz] Yeah?
- It's so meaty. - Mmm.
- Super-spicy. - The oyster sauce is great.
We made it through the market,
and this is easily one of the most beautiful cities
I've ever been to.
The views, the vendors, the temples.
It has such a unique feel to it.
That being said, we're all freezing cold and drenched,
so we're really looking forward to
getting a big, hot, steaming bowl of beef noodle.
I think jet lag is catching up with us,
because both the boys are asleep.
We're trying to wake them up.
We're at the beef noodle restaurant.
This one was mentioned in the Taipei Eater Guide,
they went on and on and on about how amazing it is.
The broth is supposed to be seasoned perfectly,
the meat is supposed to just melt in your mouth,
and the noodles are supposed to have
that firm, perfect, chewy quality,
so I'm really, really excited.
It's been a long day, I've been looking forward to this.
I've been thinking about it.
Let's do it.
From a glance, it doesn't look like anything special.
In fact, it's a bit of a hole in the wall,
but the second you walk in,
flooded with the sights, smells, and sounds,
you understand what sets this place apart.
So the lifeblood of beef noodle is the broth,
and this place is supposed to have
some of the best broth in the city.
It's supposed to be thicker, more flavorful,
and that's kind of what sets Taiwanese beef noodle
apart from the traditional Chinese beef noodle.
Your bowl is assembled with noodles,
broth, beef, and greens,
and then you can choose to have spicy, not-spicy,
beef, or also tendon.
We're trying all of them.
All of them.
That is spicy.
Wow, it is delicious though.
The broth is just packed with flavor,
but it's not too salty.
You can really taste the depth of the flavor in the broth.
It's not overwhelming, but it is very flavorful.
- Wow.
It's like butter.
The meat is like butter.
- I'm going to try the tendon,
which is a bit more of a delicacy here.
Here we go.
(guests chatting)
It's really good.
That was an experience to be had,
and I can honestly say I've never had anything like it.
It's extremely comforting and hearty at the same time,
and it was the perfect thing to follow up
a super, super-rainy, obviously exhausting day.
So we've taken on night markets and beef noodle,
and next, we're going to do hot pot.
Make sure to tune into the next episode,
so you can see how Taiwan has taken this dish
that's popular throughout the region,
and made it their own.
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Why Taiwan Claims Beef Noodle Soup as Its Signature Dish Travel, Eat, Repeat

549 Folder Collection
Pedroli Li published on August 2, 2019
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