Tuesday, July 27, 2010
[TAIWAN] Jiu Dao Kou: Chiu Fen For a Day
After what I thought was a disappointing bowl of braised beef noodles from Liang Pin, I gave my usually favorite form of carb another shot. This time, it was during our day trip to Chiu Fen where we made a lunch stop at the area’s famed Jiu Dao Kou Niu Rou Mian / 舊道口牛肉麵.
We started with two snacks for appetizers—soy braised tofu and eggs and pickled vegetables (both NT30). Not really in the mood for another bowl of beef noodles, I opted instead, this time, for the plain yang chun mian / 陽春麵 (a ridiculously cheap NT35). Don’t underestimate the simple bowl of plain soup noodles; it’s when you strip the dish bare of its toppings and over-cumbersome flavors that you can really tell how good the actual noodles are. And the ones are Jiu Dao Kou aren’t bad. The noodles are more delicate than the thick knife-cut ones at Liang Pin. They’re less al dente but nowhere near mushy. They’re still thick and flat enough to pick up the delicately savory broth, flecked with bits of chopped scallions. Just goes to show that sometimes, less really is more.
And after polishing off the noodles, we picked up a bowl of chilled beancurd pudding in ginger syrup, topped off with glutinous taro and sweet potato dumplings and finely shaved ice. It’s an interesting mishmash of textures (the fine crunch of the ice works particularly well with the chewy, squidgy dumplings) and a refreshing (if still a little filling) way to end a meal.
Jiu Dao Kou Niu Rou Mian / 舊道口牛肉麵 ($)
4 JīShān Street
Taipei City, Taiwan