Beef Noodle Soup (牛肉麵)

*UPDATE: I made the noodle soup again! This time with a few twists, please see here for details.*

Winter isn't quite over yet. To warm us up, I made Taiwan-style Beef Noodle Soup (Niu Rou Mian).

It was my first time preparing Niu Rou Mian - I found the recipe on Tasty Meals At Home. They did not provide any measurements (just the ingredients), though. When I made mine, I made sure to use measuring cups/spoons so I could post them here. However, much like all other dishes, the measurements don't need to be precise.

I haven't had Niu Rou Mian in a while, but I think mine tastes very similar to the ones served at the restaurants. Spicy dark red broth, but at the same time fresh and sweet! Yum! As far as the flavoring part goes, I wouldn't change a thing about the recipe.

Next time though, I am using a different cut of meat. The best thing about Niu Rou Mian is the tender meat with fat and tendon. The Beef Round Top Round Roast cut I used had nearly no fat and no tendon, which resulted in tougher and chewier meat. Still good, but not great.

The Round Roast may be good in western beef noodle soup, though.

After more research, I found out the best cut to use is beef shank. And instead of cutting the shank into large cubes from the get-go, I will braise the whole piece of meat and slice it when it's time to serve. This way, the meat won't lose its shape and much of the fat/tendon content. Plus, the slices will make the dish more presentable, too.

Hubs loves Riu Rou Mein and I am happy that I can make it at home now. It's at least $8 or $9 for a bowl at the restaurant. At home, we can make several bowls for a lot less.

Will most definitely make it again!

Beef Noodle Soup:

- 1.5 pound Beef Round Top Round Roast, cut in chunks (recommend using beef shank or short ribs instead)
- 5-6 cloves garlic, smashed
- 3-4 ginger slices
- 1 large tomato, cut in wedges
- 1 large onion, cut in wedges
- 2 tbsp chili bean paste
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 3-4 star anise
- 1/2 cup regular soy sauce (for taste)
- 1/4 cup dark soy sauce (for color)
- 1/3 cup rice wine
- 6 cups water
- 2 stalks green onion, cut in 2" slices

1. Wash beef under cold water and removing any excess fat. Bring a big pot of water to a boil and flash boil your meat in order to remove any excess membranes/harmful/particles from your meat. Drain and set aside.
2. Heat up pot and add oil. Add garlic and ginger. Cook until fragrant.
3. Add tomato and onion wedges. Stir well.
4. Add beef, chili bean paste, sugar, regular soy sauce, dark soy sauce, and rice wine. Stir.
5. Add star anise, water, and green onions. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer.
6. Simmer for at least 2 hours. Longer (4-6 hours) for best results.
7. Serve over any variety of Chinese noodles! Enjoy!

Note: I like to cook the stew the night before actual serving so that all the flavors can come together overnight. On the day of serving, just simply bring the broth to a boil, cook some noodles and boy choy and assemble!

This picture is from our trip to Taiwan in 2005. This small restaurant in Taipei was especially busy. We tracked it down because of the great reviews in our Lonely Planet tour book. The line was out of the door!

I remember hubs sweating bullets while eating. Was it because the soup was spicy or was it because the restaurant had no air conditioning? I don't remember. It was scrumptious, though.


  1. That looks delicious! Is it possible to share the measurements you used for the ingredients posted at Tasty Meals? If not, no problem. That just means I get to play a little more messily in my kitchen. :)

  2. Sapuche,

    Thanks! The measurements I used are posted. You just need to click on the '[+/-] Extra Sugar!' link to read the entire post.

    Just remember to use a cut that has some fatty and tendon content!

  3. Looks delish! And so convenient that you can prep the night before.

  4. Ah, the advantages of being married to a wonderful and multi-talented Taiwan lady. Having the hardy smell of beef noodle soup straight from the streets of Taipei in our little apartment was wonderful! And yes, in this strangely cold and snowy March weekend, this warm and tasty soup definitely hit the spot.

  5. I'm back...Thanks for pointing me to your list of ingredients and directions. I gave your recipe a try tonight and it turned out great! I think I used a little too much star anise and not enough ginger, but overall this was REALLY wonderful. Thanks again for sharing it.

    I hope you get back to Taiwan soon! I may end up moving there later this year, as I'm being recruited for work in Hsinchu. Know anything about the place...for example, the food there? :)

  6. oh lord - seeing these photos have made me miss taiwan so :)

    You are so talented! Do you mind if I add you to my blogroll? I love your blog

  7. Culinarywannabe,

    I always find food tastes better the next day anyway!

    Another bowl please!,

    Thanks for eating all the "leather"! I like cooking because you eat all my stuff, good or bad.


    I am glad you tried it!

    Unfortunately, I left Taiwan when I was 10 and have only been back twice since then. Therefore, I have no recommendations. I definitely prefer street vendors over restaurants though!


    Welcome and I don't mind if you add me to your blogroll at all. Thanks!

  8. hai..
    i'm looking for the recipe for niuroumian, and i get your blog..
    do you mind if I add your blog into my blogroll?

    looks really delicious, and makes me miss taiwan.. T_T

    and i have to write some articles in english.. :D

    you have ai nice blog, wish mine also that beautiful.. ^^

  9. Ajeng Lembayung,

    Aww, thanks! Yup, feel free to add me to your blogroll!

  10. You could also use brisket.

    Thanks for adding us as a friend on Foodbuzz. We welcome you to come visit our site!

  11. Wootz.. thanks for sharing the recipe.. I'll try to do it at home during weekends for my family ;)

  12. Hi :)
    This looks great, but you don't mention when to return the meat to the heat?
    I also can't find chili bean paste. Is there another name I could find it under?


  13. i use this recipe all the time! i times the water, soy sauces, sugar, chili, and rice wine by 1.5 because i like having more broth! tastes just as good. i also add daikin and carrots which makes it amazinggg because it soaks up a lot of flsvor and becomes really tender. thank u so much!

  14. Awesome recipe. Just made it for the whole family. My Taiwanese mom and foodie brother both gave the big thumbs up!

    I threw in a few carrots and actual orange peels (lots of traditional recipes call for dried orange peels, but I couldn't find any), and that seemed to work ok.

  15. Just made this and it turned out amazing!

    We used beef shank, sriracha instead of chili bean paste, and we did not use the dark soy sauce. We also added chicken stock to replace some of the evaporated water and let it simmer for 6 hours.

  16. Made this for my husband, who is from Taiwan, added some orange peel, and he said it is the BEST! Even better than his Mother's BNS. Thank you for a SUPER Recipe!!!!!

  17. Thanks so much for the recipe !!!
    I just made another batch of this beef noodle soup. They are so good... I couldn't even had a chance to take a pic. The fragrance of the soup was making us so hungry to wait...
    Definitely a recipe to keep and will make it often.


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