(or as known in the US- A & J)
at Taipei 101 Mall foodcourt
45, ShihFu Rd., B1
website: www.banmuyuan.com.cn in chinese. There is an English option, but most of the links are "under building..."
date visited: 12/5/2006
A few weeks ago, I spotted a woman eating these delicious looking beef rolls at the food court... it definitely didn't look like mall food, but I had already ordered somewhere else. I finally got a chance to try it this week and it didn't disappoint! I am actually thinking about heading back to get some as a snack as I write this.
I asked a friend to help translate the name of the store into English and he said, "oh that's A&J" which is a popular noodle shop in California (OC and San Jose) where we would get our beef noodle fixes. According to AOL cityguide, they are all part of chain from Taiwan that now has six stores in Beijing that features traditional Chinese good eats such as handmade-style noodles, steamed dumplings, xien bing or "chinese hamburgers" and beef rolls.
Anyone who has been to the 101 food court (or maybe any food court in Asia) knows that (1) there are quite a few decent options as far as food courts go and (2) it can be overwhelmingly noisy, crowded and busy especially during lunch and dinner hours and weekends, so try and get a seat and not run into anyone carrying hot soup. There's a strategy, you know? Get one person to order and the other to claim your stake for your seats. The other funny thing to note is the strict efficiency of the ladies to bus the tables, almost to the point of amusement- you could not yet be done with your food and they swoop in to take away your tray until you protest.
I am quite behind on my food court reviews (Warner Village already turned over a couple shops that I had in my drafts folder).. so I am going to just get this online while I have a few spare minutes. This shop is all the way in one of the corners, near the entrance of the food court near Watson's. Look for this wall next to the shop has a large blown up photos of their offerings on the adjacent wall.
And though nothing in the menu is in English, there are lots of pictures and plastic models to point at.
For three people, we ended up getting 2 orders of the beef rolls (NT$100 each set) (which come 2 on a plate, each roll cut in half, so four pieces to one order), 1 ja jiang noodle set which came with soup and 1 pork xien bing at NT$178, and two additional pork xien bing (NT$73) which are like flat pan fried round dumplings (and you can choose either pork, beef or vegetable) and 2 side dishes (NT$50 each)- marinated eggplant and mustard greens with tofu skin. This was all about NT$551, or US$17, or US$5.50 a person.
Both the xien bing and the beef pancake roll had this pan fried look and taste that made it slightly crispy, yet not greasy. It was so good, I practically inhaled my portion. The beef pancake roll has slices of beef and a slightly sweet and salty touch from the sauce that is spread on the chinese pancake. The scallion was a bit hard and I ended up taking it out, otherwise it usually provides a nice crunch. The xien bing has ground beef and green onions inside and a dumpling like skin around the meat.
The ja jiang mien noodles was just okay, especially since I wish that they had given us more sauce. You mix the salty tofu, ground pork sauce with the sliced cucumbers and sprouts. Although the noodles themselves were really good, thick with a handmade texture, the dish over I probably wouldn't order again. Same with the side dishes- the eggplant was a tad bland and oily, but the mustard greens were good, which I ended up mixing in my bare-boned noodles.
Next time I'll try their dumplings and beef noodle soup to go along with my beef pancake roll. They also have a green bean porridge and other small dishes. If you want to look for it the next time you are at the 101 foodcourt, it's near the entrance by Watsons, to the right hand side- just watch out for the crowds when you're finding a seat during the lunch hour!
Apparently, there is a sit down restaurant location in Taipei, but I haven't translated the address yet: if you are desparate to go, here is the phone number