Header image courtesy of Jiu-Wu Beef Noodles
Hong Kong’s recent dip in temperatures means it’s time we dip our spoons in hearty soups! This time, we have our eyes set on something comforting, savoury, and Taiwanese. Also known as niu rou mian (牛肉麵), this toothsome dish of Taiwanese beef noodles, served in a rich broth, actually originated in Sichuan. During the Chinese Civil War, some two million civilians moved across what used to be called the Formosa Strait to Taiwan, where nostalgic immigrants preserved memories of home by cooking their native recipes.
Of course, the dish has undergone several transformations since then, and the current take on Taiwanese beef noodles does have some variations. Mostly, the bean paste broth is served with beef cuts, spring onions, and garnished with coriander, and it is much milder than its Sichuanese predecessor. Restaurants typically serve this dish with pickled mustard greens. It does, however, take some expertise to get this dish just right.
For your dining pleasure, we have compiled a list of the best places in Hong Kong to get a bowl of authentic Taiwanese beef noodles—your belly-warming, meaty companion this winter!
Owner Marco Hon Mo-yuen opened this restaurant that specialises in Taiwanese beef noodles some six years ago and has since expanded to a total of four branches across Hong Kong. Fueled by passion and a love for cooking, the restaurant patrons are made sure they feel at home. His family recipe’s broth consists of radishes, carrots, leafy greens, pears, and apples, offering a refreshing taste that’s also unique.
From the lunch menu, opt for the Taiwanese braised beef noodle soup ($60) and Taiwanese spicy beef tripe & tendon noodle soup ($65), which can come with side dishes for an additional $22, such as pickled cucumbers, eggplant with sweet sauce, or deep-fried yam with plum powder.
A 50-year-old family-run restaurant called Jiu-Wu expanded straight from Taiwan into Hong Kong—all because of late casino mogul Stanley Ho’s daughter, Laurinda Ho, after she stumbled upon this hidden gem during her travels. At Jiu-Wu’s Hong Kong outpost, premium beef is imported from the US and beef bones are boiled for about eight hours before being infused with a (secret) mixture of herbs. A certain amount of old broth is then mixed with new broth for a dash of extra flavour. What’s more, the noodles are specially made to be bouncy and chewy (popularly referred to as “Q” texture, the Taiwanese answer to Italy’s al dente) whilst making sure that some soup remains on the noodles when picked up with chopsticks.
Don’t miss out on the in-demand beef noodles with tendons ($98) and the restaurant’s signature three-in-one beef noodle with tendons, meat & honeycomb tripe ($109), both of which are popular must-tries. Jiu-Wu also takes pride in serving a wide range of authentic Taiwanese staples—braised pig blood pudding ($45), spicy fermented tofu ($38), and spicy duck blood jelly ($38), to name but a few.
Jiu-Wu Beef Noodles, G/F, Golden Jubilee House, 399 Lockhart Road, Causeway Bay | (+852) 2892 0320
The term “gu zao” holds nostalgic value to the Taiwanese, especially the younger generation, as the term roughly refers to “grandparent’s food.” Many youngsters crave “gu zao” food to relate better to their roots. Upon some trials, tribulations, and experimentations, owner Sasson Wong and his team of chefs mastered the authenticity of Taiwanese beef noodles. The stock is simply tingling with spices—from star aniseeds and cinnamon to liquorice and bay leaves, which are simmered with cuts of beef tendon for at least four hours.
The restaurant’s signature dish, of course, has to be the stewed beef noodle soup ($67), but the noodle soup with beef tendon and an assortment option ($79) are also highly recommended. Do not miss out on their oyster omelette ($53) and cheese and egg Taiwanese pancake rolls ($40)!
Gu Zao Beef Noodles, 116 Fuk Wing Street, Sham Shui Po | (+852) 2956 1116
Nestled inside an industrial building, Cheng Banzhang is not easy to find (there are also no signs to indicate the presence of it), so the only way to find the resto is to spot the long line of hungry visitors. Owner Mr Ching operates the restaurant with fellow Taiwanese chefs for the most authentic flavours possible. Prices are affordable and this is a great eatery to head to for lunch if you work in the area—you can thank us later for getting your coworkers introduced to this gem!
There won’t be any beef about the beef here! You can pick between stewed beef noodles ($53) or braised beef noodles ($53), and if you have a hankering for all things spicy, challenge your palates with the extra spicy braised beef noodles ($53). Other signature dishes include oyster pancakes and Taiwanese “bento”—metal tins serving rice, meat, and veggies.
Cheng Banzhang Taiwan Delicacy, Flat 02, 1/F, Elite Industrial Centre, 883 Cheung Sha Wan Road, Lai Chi Kok | (+852) 2576 1199
Joining the list of one of the largest Taiwanese beef noodle chains, Xiao Wang has a total of three branches in Hong Kong till date, all of which are located in busy shopping centres. The menu offers a large variety of beloved Taiwanese dishes and the affordable prices will have you loading your tables with multiple staples! Must-tries include the marinated beef tripe & rice sheet in spicy sauce ($36) to start your meal. Pork dumpling in chilli oil ($32) will sure keep you cosied up, too.
And, of course, the highlight is the beef tendon, stomach & beef shank soup noodle ($70). There are also various rice and dry noodle dishes to feast on. Pair your meal with tapioca milk tea ($21) or end your meal with some Italian dessert—the blueberry panna cotta ($30).