Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Taiwan Beef Noodle Soup Tour Stop #4: Yong Kang Beef Noodle - 台灣牛肉麵導遊之四: 永康牛肉麵 (Taipei, Taiwan)

永康牛肉麵
永康牛肉麵 (Yong Kang Beef Noodle)

As I start on the fourth installment of my beef noodle tour of Taipei, no trip is complete without dining at the famous Yong Kang Beef Noodle. While Din Tai Fung lay claim to the soup dumplings, around the corner, Yong Kang Beef Noodle has been serving patrons since 1963. I've eaten at Yong Kang Beef Noodle on my previous trips to Taiwan, and while I left unimpressed, I'm hoping this trip would change my tune about this tourist institution.

永康牛肉麵
永康牛肉麵 (Yong Kang Beef Noodle)

Like with Din Tai Fung,the menu posted outside are also in English and Japanese. Taiwan generally attracts a good number of Japanese tourists, thus it's not surprising to have the menu in all three languages.

皮蛋豆腐
皮蛋豆腐 (Thousand Year Old Egg Tofu - Pi Dan Dofu)

Again, I had to order the Thousand year old egg tofu (皮蛋豆腐). Since it's something I make for myself here in the States, it's pretty hard to mess this one up. Let's move on to the main attraction, the beef noodle soup.

酸菜
酸菜 (Sour Mustard Greens - Suan Cai)

The sour mustard greens are an essential part of any beef noodle soup in Taiwan. You always put it in your bowl to taste, I generally put at least 2-3 spoonful of this stuff.

紅燒牛肉麵
紅燒牛肉麵
紅燒半筋半肉牛肉麵 (Half Tendon Half Beef Noodle Soup - Ban Jin Ban Rou Niu Rou Mian)

Finally, the main attraction, the beef noodle soup. This time I went with the half tendon, half meat beef noodle soup. The beefy, oily, and spicy bowl was just okay, it definitely not my favorite. The noodle to me was a bit lacking and the portion size was fairly small for what we were served. In fact, none of us at the table were that impressed by it. At 200 NT ($6-7) for a large bowl of beef noodle soup, I just expected more. Sadly, what I received was the worst bowl of beef noodle soup I've had in Taiwan.

永康牛肉麵
永康牛肉麵

Like with the other tourist trap around the corner (Din Tai Fung), it's safe to say I won't bother with either restaurants in Taiwan and in the case of Din Tai Fung, in Arcadia. At Yong Kang, there's a steady wait, even on this rainy night in Taipei. The food in general was quite average, the prices were high. In the end, it's just not worth a return visit for me. Like with DTF Yong Kang only attracts suckers who were willing to pay a premium for an old namesake. In the case of this particular night, I was that sucker. Now I really know why I didn't care for this place years ago. Skip this place, skip the line, you're better off eating a bowl of instant beef noodle soup.

Yong Kang Beef Noodle = Fail
And my last dig at Din Tai Fung: DTF = Double Fail!

Rating: 2.5 out of 5

台北市 (Taipei City)
金山南路二段31巷17號 (Jin San Road S, No.17, Lane 31, Section 2)
Phone: (02)2351-1051


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7 comments:

joanh said...

yup, i didn't care for it either though the clear broth noodles and beef were better. the steamed rice & intestines are good too

Gastronomer said...

Glad you got that out of your system! Now, onto beef noodle soups worthy of your time and money :-) Panda Power!

Pandalicious said...

still looks good tho! and i want mustard greens.. so hard to find here!

Kung Food Panda said...

Joan: Maybe I was a bit harsh, but I just think Yong Kang is a bit overrated. I doubt I'll be going back, especially with all the other places to eat in town.

Cathy: Amen!!

Amy: I know, what's your fav NRM in town?

Beef No Guy said...

My inlaws ate here a few months ago and thought this 50+ year old instution was a joke. Greasy, oily, and not good at all. Lao Zhang is not too far away, and is a much better choice. But I'd rather go to Niu Baba, that 100 year old beef parts shop, 72, or Hsu's near baby boss for some killer broth (or Lin Tung Fong if after midnight).

Kung Food Panda said...

Ken: I want to try Niu Baba. I've heard about it! You have some awesome recs. Thanks!

Ken said...

The beef was good, the noodles were ok, but the soup was subpar. I agree with Beef No Guy: Lao Zhang is far superior and there is no wait-in-line.