Adventures written by the VAMONDE Team
Just like chicken noodle soup in the West, niu rou mian (beef noodle soup) is regarded as the most comforting dish in Taipei. The city is full of restaurants offering piping hot bowls of tender beef and noodles in a flavorful, sometimes spicy, beef and soy sauce broth.
Beef noodle soup first originated in China, with the Sichuan version traveling to Taipei during the 1920s-1940s. Beef noodle soup didn’t become popular until the latter half of the 20th Century. Today, however, you can easily find beef noodle soup in every Taipei neighborhood. If you want the absolute best, you must visit Yongkang.
Yongkang Beef Noodle was created in 1963 by Lao Zheng, who was from Sichuan. The dishes served at the original noodle stall were made with a homemade soy sauce that reflected flavors from his home region, which is known for deep rich flavors that highlight the Sichuan pepper. The stall quickly became a hit with locals and recent migrants from China. When Zheng retired in the 1970s, Mr. Luo, his mentee, took over and has been running the business ever since.
Today, YongKang Beef Noodle is a two-story restaurant which frequently has a line going out the front. You can order beef noodle soup in a spicy, plain, or clear broth that doesn’t contain the traditional soy sauce. Curious foodies take note— soy sauce in Asia can differ vastly from soy sauce in the West, just like boxed wine differs from a bottled vintage. YongKang also serves other dishes, such as dry dan dan noodles, steamed pork ribs, and spicy dumplings. Guests with health concerns can specify if they prefer less oil or salt in their dish.
Don’t be intimidated by the line! Even a 12-person line can be served within 5-15 minutes. Since other businesses are similarly named, look for the large yellow signs (and likely a line of folks out front). Take a peek at the restaurant through the video below:
Cover image by CHEN_victor made available on Pixabay.