For first-timers, a trip to Taiwan isn’t complete without a hearty bowl of beef noodle soup. A dish unique to the island, it was invented in the mid-20th century by refugees who had left the Chinese mainland for Taiwan during the Chinese civil war. Today, it’s become somewhat of the national dish of Taiwan. But with over 10,000 dedicated beef noodle soup shops on the island, narrowing down the options is a harrowing task.
Chef Hung Beef Noodle Soup is a great place to start. The eponymous owner Hung Ching-Lung is a five-time award-winning champion of the annual beef noodle soup competition in Taiwan—the most decorated winner in the event’s history.
The restaurant’s menu offers a diverse overview of the beef noodle soup options on the island, from a classic star-anise-heavy broth flavored with spicy bean paste to a minimally seasoned clear broth where delicate slices of beef are highlighted. A couple of Hung’s award-winning bowls are on the menu as well: there’s one topped with tripe, tendon, and shank and another with medium rare, paper-thin slices of beef overlaid on top.
For Chef Hung, beef noodle soup is much more than just a profession. It’s a passion. He has a cattle farm on the outlying island of Kinmen, where he raises his own cows for the restaurants. And he’s often tasked with training up-and-coming chefs on how to make a fantastic beef broth for their restaurants. He says the key is procuring a really high-quality cut of beef and making a flavorful broth. Everything else is just secondary.
Know Before You Go
While beef noodle soup is the pièce de résistance of the restaurant, the dumplings are equally as good.