Thursday, November 21, 2013

taiwanese/beef noodle soup: LAO WANG JI BEEF NOODLE SOUP

No. 15, TaoYuan Street
(02) 2375-8973

MRT: Ximen

hours: 10am-9pm

$ (about NT$180/person)

Kid friendliness: old school two story noodle shop, no high chairs spotted

Visit reviewed:10/2/2013

Finally got a chance to try the infamous Lao Wang beef noodle soup, although it was by accident. I was with some out of town friends in Ximending and we lost half our group who were off to "that famous beef noodle place on Tao Yuan Jie" when they turned a corner. So we hopped in a taxi, exclaimed our destination and he drove half a block and stopped at this signless shop. Doh! 

From the outside, the shop looks like it's been here forever (ok, over 50 years). It doesn't have any fancy signage, much less signage at all to signal that it's a beef noodle shop. Once you step closer you can see the front of the house kitchen dishing up bowls to serve (with a giant no photos allowed sign) and inside is packed despite it being past the prime lunch hour (which I hear there is often a line). 

We make our way upstairs where everyone is busy eating, hunched over on stools. When the staff takes our order, we have the choice of ordering the braised beef noodle soup or the clear broth beef noodle soup- I opt for the classic braised beef broth (NT$180). The pickled vegetables, self serve chopsticks and condiments are already on the table, although the owner might grab the vegetables once you're done to share with another table. 

We also try to order the steamed pork rib (NT$110), but they've run out, so we share with our friends who've gotten the last order. (Yong Kang St Beef Noodle Shop's steamed pork ribs and intestines are more memorable as it also comes with sweet potatoes)

The braised beef noodle soup (NT$180) is impressive looking when it comes to the table, with several thick slices of beef piled atop the huge bowl of noodles and soup.  Because I had heard how amazing the beef noodles were here, I wanted to love it. While the beef was tender and plentiful, I found the soup to be on the salty side for me so I couldn't drink more than a few spoonfuls with the noodles. But Lao Wang is the favorite of quite a few people, so if you're in the Ximen area, you could give it a try.

The search for my favorite beef noodle soup in Taipei continues! So far my favorites are still Shan Xi Dao Xiao Mian (knife shaved noodles, get the broth with tomato!) and Little Shanghai (half tendon, half beef). Where should I try next?


Anonymous said...

You should of tried their clear broth beef noodle soup. It is not as salty.

Andy said...

Hey, I think you can try the 'Niu Lao Da'牛老大 at ShiDa YeShi. It cost around 120NT for a beef noodle soup. Located near the La Pizza, I think..

Anonymous said...

LinDongFang on BaDe rd near Fuxing is the best i've had.

Faye said...

I wasn't a fan of their short rib rice either - it tasted really gummy and strange to me.

Great pics of the food!

Ken said...

It seems like you like the lighter style of soup - in that case, I recommend (JianGuo & ChangChun) 洪師父麵食棧 No. 72, 建國北路二段 or if you are in Nangang, this tiny shop 國王牛肉麵 No. 9之3號, Section 2, Yánjiùyuàn Rd . Both have lighter, distinctly flavored soups (you can order the standard 紅燒牛肉麵).

Bob said...

I second what Ken said and close by there is the best tomato noodle shop:

maoman said...

You must try Lin Dongfang Beef Noodles. They're my hands-down favourite in Taipei. I keep on searching for beef noodles that I might like better, but it hasn't happened yet.

Jean said...


Anonymous said...

I was in Taipei 4 weeks ago and also tried Lao Wang's at Tao Yuan Jie. It was a major disappointment for me, too. I agree the braised broth was salty, yet flat and flavorless. The clear broth was a little better, yet really nothing special at all. In recent times, I've also tried several of the more famous shops (永康, 艾家). None were any good at all.

Fortunately, I did come across a very decent bowl of braised tomato beef noodle soup at 田園 and simply THE BEST BEEF NOODLE SOUP EVER at 牛店. Have you tried either of these shops? The first is located at 中正區/重慶南路一段5巷1 號 and the 2nd at 萬華區/西門町昆明街91號.

A lot has been written about 牛店's gourmet & modern standards, both in terms of ingredients and cooking techniques. They're heavily featured on TW food blogs and ipeen. For once, the hype is all true. The broth (I've only had the clear), the beef, the bone marrow chili sauce, even the small dishes (with the exception of the boiled peanuts) are all to die for, they are that good! The chef/owner's love of 牛肉麵 and pride in his trade are obvious and admirable. Once you've eaten here, you won't want to go elsewhere. I still dream about this place.

Syl n0 said...

you should try this one:

中央北路一段222號, Beitou District, Taipei City

and this one (next door):

No. 3號, Lane 228, Section 1, Zhōngyāng North Rd, Beitou District, Taipei City

Both are my favorite 牛肉麵 in taipei.

Anonymous said...

You should try this one: the best beef tomato noodle in town (although I prefer the Zhupai)


Anonymous said...

I lived in Taipei for many years, and Lao Wang was one of my favorites. I found the noodles pleasantly firm and chewy, the beef tender and flavorful, and the broth rich and quite spicy.

I don't really like the clear broth or tomato soup versions, so Lao Wang is still my go to place for the traditional beef noodle soup when I go back to Taipei.

Anonymous said...

If ever you should come to Malaysia, you must try PUCHONG KB BEEF NOODLES (林祥记). I recommended to the STAR newspaper and they rated KB Beef Noodles No.1 (top) in year 2013. the FB address is

joanh said...

Yes I finalky tried Lin Dong Fang. Loved it! Thx for rec

joanh said...

Sounds good!! Thanks for sharing!

joanh said...

Thanks for commenting! Yes I liked the beef and thought the portion is generous-- worth a try for those who like traditional

joanh said...

Yes! I tried it and loved it. As for s worthy competitor, try 72 Niu Rou mian.. I thought they were similar, down to the beef butter

joanh said...

Ooh ok! Thanks for sharing!!

joanh said...

Haha!! Ok

joanh said...

Thanks for the recs!! I will have to give them a try

joanh said...

Thanks for sharing!! I gotta make a list!!!

joanh said...

So many places to try, thanks for commenting!!

joanh said...

Yea it wasn't as excellent as other places I've tried

joanh said...

Good to know. I'll give it a try if I ever go back. I usually like the braised beef noodle soup over the clear but seems like a lot of the old school places are too strong for me

joanh said...

Andy- thanks for the rec! Haven't been to shida in years! I'll add it to my list

joanh said...

I've heard about Niu for awhile but haven't tried it! Your strong recommendation is moving it to the top of my to eat list!! Thanks for sharing


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