Taiwanese Beef Noodle Soup

There are many variations of beef noodle soup all throughout asia, niu rou mien, some places with tons of chili spice, clear broth, red broth, different meats used, different noodles, you name it, it probably exists.  My favorite type is the Taiwanese version.  Whenever anyone mentions it, I recall trips I’ve taken to visit relatives in Taiwan, and I think pretty much every time we go, my aunt takes me and my sister to the best beef noodle joint, a small 6 table hole-in-the-wall, with a table of laid out pickled vegetables at the entrance. 

So with another temperature drop in Ottawa and a blustery snow storm outside, I decided to try to bring back memories of hot, humid, sticky Taiwan and those spicy, rich tear-inducing beef noodles.



2-3 lbs of beef shank

water to cover

4-5 stalks of green onion

4-5 slices of ginger

soy sauce/salt to taste

seasoning paste

2 tbsp canola oil

2 teaspoons sugar

2-3 tbsp minced ginger

1 head of garlic cloves peeled and minced

4 star anise

2 tbsp of spicy chili sauce

other soup ingredients

northern style noodles

1/2 lb shanghai bok choi (braised with garlic an halved)


  1. place the whole beef shank in a heavy bottomed pot and cover with water.  Add the green onion and ginger and cover.  Bring to a boil then turn down to a strong simmer for about half an hour. 
  2. remove scum, green onion and ginger.  Take shank out, and let it cool for a bit before handling.  Cut the shank into large chunks and put this and any juices back into the pot.
  3. While the soup is simmering, heat the oil for the seasoning paste in a pan. 
  4. Add sugar and stir until completely dissolved and beginning to caramelize.  Add the rest of the seasoning paste ingredients and stir fry for about a minute and a half and add it all to the pot.
  5. Simmer for about 4 hours or until the beef is basically falling apart tender.
  6. about 15 minutes before serving, add soy sauce and salt to taste.  Skim off the pepercorns and star anise.
  7. prepare the noodles and pour soup and meat into a serving bowl with the noodles.
  8. top with bok choy plus other typical toppings and serve.

pretty straight forward, just a bit time consuming with the waiting, but the reward is worth it!  A hot bowl of tummy warming beef noodles that reminded me of warmer climes.


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