Monday, July 26, 2010

Knife cut beef noodle soup (良品牛肉麵)

良品牛肉麵 (Liang Pin Beef Noodles)

If I committed some God awful crime, was sent to jail, sentenced to death, and asked what my last meal would be... it would be a bowl of beef noodle soup from here. Yeah, it's just that good. Sure, Taiwan is a land chock full of 牛肉麵 joints... in fact, I don't think you can actually walk more than a block before seeing another noodle place, but there's something special about the noodles at Liang Pin that keeps me going back. Whether it's the spicy beef broth, the quality of the noodles, or the tenderness of the beef, this is the golden standard for beef noodles in my opinion.

Their spicy beef broth is stewed continuously for hours on end in a giant vat at the front of the store... I'm pretty sure this is done purposely to attract people in with the smell of beef, because the scent is spectacular. In what I can only describe as... sweet and rich, even the smell is oddly intoxicating. The beef? Just as good. While they don't give you the choice of tendons or not, theirs is always striped with tendons anyway, so all is good in the world. The meat gets simmered in the same pot of broth until it's just short of falling apart. In this jacuzzi of meat and soup, each lends the other flavor, almost to the point where both are identical in taste. It's a wonderful thing. When you couple that with this...

Knife cut noodle

You get the perfect bowl of beef noodles. Yeah yeah... I know there's people that don't like thick knife cut noodles (and maybe you would after you tried these), but I absolutely adore them. Theirs are just the perfect thickness, just enough so the textural nuances of the noodles can be appreciated. They're chewy and springy, but at the same time, incredibly soft (if it makes sense, they kind of possess the characteristics of knife cut noodles and rice noodles). That's the only way I can describe it.

With every bite (and accompanying sip of soup), your mouth'll be confused on what to focus on. Is it the spiciness of the broth... the delicate texture of the noodles... or the rich flavor of the beef? It doesn't really matter, since everything melds together so well. Before you know it, you'll be left with an empty bowl of sadness. Sadness that you couldn't even really enjoy it, because you were trying to figure out what part was the best. Sadness that you have a ring of spicy beef oil on your lips and no more noodles. It's okay though, it's only 100 NT ($3). You can always buy more happiness.


Anonymous said...

You sure know how to make us salivate!

Anonymous said...

Dude...that looks totally AWESOME! Getting mighty hungry now!

Danny said...

goddamn that looks good. And cheap... $3?! That's insane... It's hard to find spicy beef noodle soup that's awesome here in NY. I like Super Taste, but the beef that comes with the spicy beef noodle soup isn't good. And damn again, $3?! Can't get over that.

Anonymous said...

There are some ghetto holes in the wall places in NYC that make these noodles as well. I used to love ho fun, but now find them a bit too greasy, so I actually prefer these hand pulled noodles now.

Nicholas said...

@Anonymous haha... I try ;)

@Danny I've found cheaper, but it's not about the cost here. Even if it cost $6, it still wouldn't put me off. But yeah, the preparation for the beef and soup is beyond compare. It's like every aspect is done considering the other elements. UGH~

@thoughtfulplate but it's just not the sameeee! I went through a phase where I had beef noodles in Chinatown and Flushing like 3x a week, and none of them were remarkable... just acceptable. At their best, I would only say some would rank as slightly above Taiwan's average bowl. Liang Pin literally blows all of them out of the water. I really don't revisit places here unless they're ridiculously good, and I've gone here countless times... said...

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