Chuan Wang Gourmet Beef Stew Noodle, Taipei
Taiwan is quite famous for its beef noodles, but admittedly I've never been that huge of a fan of it. So when I heard that this place (Zhongxiao East Road Section 4 Number 94 Second Floor, 02-2711-0388) had won some award for having the best beef noodles in town, I wanted to give it a shot to see how good it really was.
To my surprise, these guys had multiple variations available, a bit akin to a Japanese ramen shop offering varying broths and toppings (indeed, they even operated a bit like ramen shop with little trays and such). The signature version here came topped with tomatoes, which was quite unexpected, forcing it to deviate from the traditional Taiwanese beef noodle taste that I was used to. There was a condiment station with pickled veggies and a potent red chili oil that brought it closer to home once you added them though, and in the end, the tomatoes actually fit in quite well to the whole ensemble. Yes, the meat was very tender too.
That worked for me. Honestly, if this was how traditional Taiwanese beef noodle tasted, then I would eat a lot more of it. In the meantime, I guess I'll just come straight here (or get the mainland Chinese version in Chongqing). Another bonus for this place is that they offer three sizes, so you can pop over here for a small bowl and still have enough stomach space leftover for snacks across the street like Ay Chung's oyster noodle. :)