Oh, how I wish they did mushu remotely close to resembling this stateside. In the traditional meaning of the word, 'mushu' is nothing more than the combination of thinly sliced pork, wood ear mushrooms, and scrambled eggs, stir fried together. Sometimes they add in other greens for color or things like bean sprouts for sheer volume, but the basic premise stays the same... pork + fungus + eggs = happiness. When you cook it with noodles it becomes 木須炒麵, and when you make it with knife cut noodles, well then it becomes something of a culinary masterpiece... sort of.
Located on 永康街 (Yong Kang Street), there's a corner shop called 一品山西刀削 or 'Yi Pin Shanxi Knife Cut Noodles.' Barely larger than a studio apartment, this little shop is apparently pretty damn famous (LOOK AT ALL THE AWARDS THEY HAVE!). Having claimed several of the top awards during Taipei food festivals, I'm pretty sure they're most well known for their beef noodles, but hey, no one (not even me) wants to have that every day.
Their take on mushu knife cut noodles was pretty good. The flavors were all there... even the smokiness that stir fried oil needs to have. Egg and pork were perfectly balanced by the mushrooms, and even though they added in cabbage and carrots, nothing seemed inappropriate. The noodles were spot on, which is to be expected from a place specializing in knife cut noodles... thick and chewy, but not overbearing. All things considered, I would've loved this dish even more had they not also served this...
In one of those moments where you actually want to cry tears of joy because of food, you're greeted with a plate of mushu scallion pancakes... where the pancakes are cut up into strips of instead of noodles. This is actually all the proof I need that there's a higher order. You might be thinking, "Man that sounds dumb, who would want fried pancakes as a substitute for noodles?" First of all, me. Second of all, the 蔥油餅 is freshly fried, and is texturally sound. It's chewy, yet it peels apart into layers. It possesses the subtle scent of sesame oil, yet is flavorful because of the scallions. When mixed with that very same mushu... well, that doesn't sound so stupid after all eh? For 85 NT ($2.50), you can buy true happiness... so there.