Friday, June 3, 2011

Taiwan Beef Noodle Soup Tour Stop #3: NRM-ing around YongHe - 台灣牛肉麵導遊之三: 永和的牛肉麵﹕鼎記和老黃牛肉麵 (Taipei, Taiwan)

鼎記 (Ding Ji)

Although I was born and raised in Taipei city, the area I've become quite familiar with has been 永和 (YongHe District), which is located outside the city limited in an area known as Taipei County. Since most of my family lives in this area (which means it's the area I tend stay at when I'm back in Taiwan), I've had opportunity to explore YongHe. For some that area familiar with YongHe, this is the area that's popular for its soymilk (永和豆漿) and the famous breakfast joint (永和豆漿王). This post however will visit two of the local Beef Noodle Soup shops I frequently visited during my trips back home to Taiwan.

Ding Ji (鼎記) as the sign on the door states on the first picture, are known for their 刀削麵 (knife cut noodles, dao xiao mian). I used to eat here quite frequently since my great-grandmother's care home was a few buildings down, which was the main reason I even noticed this shop in the first place. This time I made a special trip back to eat at Ding Ji.

小菜 (Side Dish)

At any beef noodle place, you're likely to find 5-10 different side dishes to choose from. They're usually priced around 30NT ($1) and goes great with the bowl of soup noodles. The one above shown above is my personal favorite, though the name in Chinese escapes me at this time. It's basically marinated tofu strips with celery strips and wood mushroom. It's simple, yet delicious.

炒刀削麵 (Stir Fried Knife Cut Noodles)
炒刀削麵 (Stir Fried Knife Cut Noodles)

This is something I've had at Ding Ji a few times. You can actually find this at a lot of noodle shops around the world, especially in the San Gabriel Valley area of Los Angeles. Although chow mein isn't something I'd usually order at a restaurant, I love the texture of the noodle here. Great texture and bite from the knife cut noodles were key parts to make this plate of noodles work.

清燉牛肉麵 (Clear Beef Noodle Soup - qing dun niu rou mian)

The clear beef noodle soup isn't my cup of tea, but my mom prefers this version as it's lighter and perhaps healthier. The version here is fine, but for me, I consider it a bit bland. Though I consider most clear beef noodle soup bland (except for one place, which I'll post later).

紅燒牛肉麵 (Beef Noodle Soup - hong shao niu rou mian)

This was more like it. I personally prefer a more bolder, "beefier" taste in my beef noodle soup. Although the broth and the beef itself were not my favorites compared to all the other places, I just love the noodles, which was probably the reason I've been eating here for the past 6-7 years. It's hard to go wrong with a great bite in your bowl of beef noodle soup.

Apparently Ding Ji is Strongly Recommended by These Publications

Although Ding Ji isn't my favorite place to get my bowl of Beef Noodle Soup, I personally love knife cut noodles and would probably return here on my next visit back to Taiwan. I guess over the years, I've had some good memories here.

老黃牛肉麵 (Lao Huang Niu Rou Mian)

Lao Huang NRM is probably my favorite place to get a bowl of beef noodle soup in YongHe these days. Conveniently located across the Ding Xi MRT Train Station, I seemingly always stop in when I'm in the area, which was quite often. As noted on the pictures above, the prices ranges between 90-110NT ($3-4) as the large bowl tops out at 110NT. There were 4 noodle choices, but I only get the 家常 (Jia Chang) option, which were the thickest noodle available, similar to the knife cut variety.

皮蛋豆腐 (Thousand Year Old Egg Tofu)
小菜 (Side Dishes)

As I mentioned earlier, these side dishes are usually great complements to a bowl of beef noodle soup. The ones we ordered on the top pictures were (from left): beef tripe, seaweed, and another one of my favorites, thousand year old egg tofu (皮蛋豆腐). I just love the bold flavors of the thousand year old egg, along with the silken tofu and the soy sauce paste, it's quite delicious.

紅燒牛肉麵 (Beef Noodle Soup)
紅燒牛肉麵 (Beef Noodle Soup)
紅燒牛肉麵 (Beef Noodle Soup - hong shao niu rou mian)

Now this is what I'm talking about! This bowl had great broth and noodles, and of course, tender pieces of beef, lots of it! Add some of the mustard greens provided 酸菜 (not pictured), you have yourself a fantastic bowl of Taiwanese Beef Noodle Soup!

Between the two shops in YongHe, I do prefer Old Huang a bit more, but both are great stops to fulfill your beef noodle soup cravings. Though in terms of location, price, flavors, I have to give my personally recommendation to Old Huang Beef Noodle Soup. Just watch out for the line during lunchtime! And to those that hate communal tables and sitting with strangers, good luck with Old Huang NRM. Just sit down with stranger next to you, don't mingle, just eat your delicious bowl of beef noodle soup!

Ding Ji (鼎記)

Rating 3.5 out of 5

台北縣永和市 (Taipei County, YounHe City)
中正路 576 號 (Zhong Zhen Road, #576)
Phone: (02)2923-2314

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Old Huang Beef Noodle Soup (老黃牛肉麵)

Rating 4 out of 5

台北縣永和市 (Taipei County, YongHe City)
信義路10號 (Xin Yi Road #10)
Phone: (02)2924-2781
Hours of Operation: 11:20AM - 7:30PM, Closed Sundays

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BigFire said...

Next time I go back to Taiwan for actual vacation (instead of attending funeral, sitting around getting documentation done), I'll try to hit my own beef noodles place.

Pinoy Panda said...

Wow!! Two reviews in one post. You've been a busy blogger KFP. I've come to appreciate knife cut noodles more and more lately. It's just too bad that the broth and beef didn't quite give the noodles justice at Ding Ji. The thousand year old egg tofu looks fantastic at Old Huang. I'm so looking forward to visiting Taiwan later this year. In the mean time, where can I get that here in SGV along with a delicious bowl of NRM?

Noelle said...

I'm wondering about a local place too! Where can we go get some? Besides that I haven't seen you or pinoy panda in ages!

Gastronomer said...

Oh Lord, these bowls of beef noodle soup look so delectable. And the side dishes ain't shabby either.

One of these days KFP, we're gonna eat it up in Taiwan. Can't wait :-)

bagnatic said...

hey what happened to the chinese paragraph?

man i wish i had your blog as reference when i had visited taiwan many, many years ago....

Pandalicious said...

yea, i'm not a fan of clear NRM soup either. the last 2 pictures made me drool. thanks. :)

Kung Food Panda said...

BigFire: Amen to that! My visit was actually for a funeral, so I know what you mean. Thx for stopping by!

Remil: Lots of place in SGV for NRM, stay tuned! There are some great stops in Taiwan.

Noelle: SGV my friend.

Cathy: Definitely, we both love Asia, don't we? :)

Amy: I got lazy with the Chinese part :P

Amy Cat: Some clear broth are just too bland.....

Beef No Guy said...

Thanks for the tip on Lao Huang, will check it out when I'm in the area again next time.

Kung Food Panda said...

Ken: Let me know what you think. There's also a good ba wan place right behind Ding Xi MRT station that I frequent.