These five spots for Taiwanese beef noodle soup showcase how one seemingly simple comfort dish can be interpreted in a variety of ways by chefs around Richmond. Regardless of the version you choose, you’ll leave very satisfied.
Joy’s Taiwanese Food
Parker Place, 4380 No 3 Road, Richmond BC
At first glance, the food court at Parker Place doesn’t seem like the place to find mind-blowing eating experiences. Vendor stalls are basic, with the kind of efficient service and plating you’d expect of mall dining.
However, a stall like Joy’s Taiwanese Food with its elevated beef noodle soup embodies much of the spirit of Richmond eating: unassuming cooking that is affordable and deliciously authentic.
The menu includes all sorts of Taiwanese classics like marinated tripe. Being an island nation, Taiwanese cuisine represents a confluence of culinary influences, as well as resourcefulness due to limited ingredients. Its food is superficially simple and rustic while being incredibly complex in flavour.
Case in point is Taiwanese beef noodle soup (niu rou mian); it’s Sichuan in origin and purported to have been brought to Taiwan during China’s Civil War. At Joy’s, the first spoonful of the broth, the litmus test of the dish, is revelatory, evidencing a deep leveraging of ingredients, like star anise, garlic, ginger, soy, bean paste, peppercorns, and garlic. The soup has a beefy cloudiness to it, which gives a pleasurable unctuousness. Meanwhile, the noodles have a good chew, and the beef shank is wonderfully tender.
The many other customers you’ll see hunched over bowls of noodle soup nearby, attests to the popularity of this dish. It’s the ultimate in comfort food, with standout versions to be found all around Richmond.
Chef Hung Taiwanese Beef Noodle
Aberdeen Centre, 2800-4151 Hazelbridge Way, Richmond BC
The “king of Taiwanese beef noodle,” Chef Hung Ching-Lung has extended his empire to a location in Richmond’s Aberdeen Centre. His signature beef noodles have won numerous awards, including the Taipei International Beef Noodle Awards and, more locally, Best Noodle House at the Vancouver Magazine Restaurant Awards. For pure consistency and breadth of options, Chef Hung definitely pulls ahead of the competition.
The menu allows patrons to customize their noodle soup, with a variety of broths (regular, clear, tomato, fire chili), noodles (flat noodle, thin noodle, rice noodle, vermicelli), and beef options (beef shank, brisket, tendon, tripe, sliced fatty beef). If you want to feel more virtuous, there’s also a version with five kinds of vegetables. Each iteration of Taiwan’s unofficial national dish is deeply enjoyable here, whether you want to go for the protein works, max the thickness of your noodles, or add a bit of contrasting tomato acidity to your beef broth.
Aberdeen Centre, 3260-4151 Hazelbridge Way, Richmond, BC
120-4751 Garden City Road, Richmond, BC
If you’re in the mood (and have the stomach room) for a beef noodle soup showdown, you can wander over to Strike, located in the food court of Aberdeen Centre, for comparison. While the stall has a limited menu for expedient chowing down, the full restaurant on Garden City Road has more extensive options (like Taiwanese three cup chicken or octopus pancake). And of course, there are plenty of bubble tea options, like passion fruit black tea, for refreshing sips.
Strike’s beef noodle soup can’t be customized, but what you get is phenomenal. After all, who needs choices when the chefs have crafted the ultimate bowl? The sliced beef shank is tender and flavourful, while the abundant noodles are perfectly al dente. The broth also doesn’t stint on taste, with a dark flavour profile that embodies the robust nature of homestyle Taiwanese cooking.
Newton Beef Noodle House
150-8191 Saba Road, Richmond BC
With “beef noodle” in their restaurant name, Newton is intent on winning the stomachs of niu rou mian devotees. And indeed they are, one bowl-full at a time. Once you enter, you’ll be greeted by sleek dark interiors and by staff who are helpful and quick on their feet.
While the menu is primarily noodle focused, you can also order appetizers, like deep fried squid tentacles and as rice dishes. Non-soup noodle selections include homemade sesame sauce on noodles, as well as cumin beef stir-fried noodles. A range of teas, slushies, and fresh juices round out the offerings.
As for the beef noodle soup, customers can choose from the regular or spicy broth, as well as versions that include various combinations of beef shank, brisket, tendon, and tripe. Thin, thick, green bean, and rice noodles are available, depending on your carb preference. What arrives in front of you will not disappoint: the broth has an intense savoury, sweet, spicy, and slightly aromatic quality to it – all offset by the pickled mustard greens. The braised beef shank is toothsome and the noodles springy.
Pearl Castle Café
1128-3779 Sexsmith Road, Richmond, BC
Richmond Centre, 1782-6060 Minoru Boulevard, Richmond, BC
This hip Taiwanese establishment began over two decades ago as a food court stand at Parker Place before morphing into a fixture of Richmond’s vibrant eating scene. Their winning formula (evidenced by four consecutive wins as Best Taiwanese Café for the Chinese Restaurant Awards Diners’Choice Awards) boils down to the modern décor, lively vibe, and impressively diverse menu. Snacks like fried chicken nuggets are addictively good, while the beef noodle soup is satisfying.
Versions here include house special beef noodle soup, tomato beef noodle soup, and, for those wanting real heat, extreme spicy beef noodle soup. Noodle selections consist of thin or thick noodles and vermicelli. With Pearl Castle open late on Fridays and Saturdays, it’s the perfect spot for a late night snack, especially if you’re craving a piping hot, generously portioned bowl of niu rou mian before braving the cold weather again.