Tuesday, December 05, 2006

chinese/mall food: i strongly recommend BAN MU YUAN

(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

beef rolls: thin slices of beef wrapped in chinese pancake with scallion and sauce

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.

the sign/storefront you should look for

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.

xien bing aka chinese hamburger

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

(02) 2700-5326


Chubbypanda said...

Word, girl. I'm a frequent visitor to the San Jose (NorCal) and Irvine (SoCal) locations. I'm glad you liked the food. One of these days, I'll get around to reviewing the Irvine location.

You should try their hong shao niu jing mian. They're pretty well known for it.

- Chubbypanda

joanh said...

hey chubbypanda!

yeah i've had their hong shao beef noodle soup in Nor Cal and So Cal and yup it's really good.. but i'm not sure if it was at this mall location... it might at their situation location

Jean said...

looks so yummy! i love those beef rolls.. i'm sad we went to the mitsukoshi food court instead of this place!

e d b m said...

i love A&J. this was a staple during my college life. i always got their nu ro mian, tong you bing, guo tieh and hai dai (seaweed). the irvine location is definitely better than the old alhambra location.

i am definitely going here when i come to taiwan (next week!). thanks for the posting.

Anonymous said...

there's a similar place in mitsukoshi zhongshan food court - just opened a couple of months ago. i'm unsure whether it's actually of the same chain. very similar food. :)

joanh said...

jean: yeah! they are pretty addicting.. i didn't find them until very recently.

eatdrinknbmerry: cool! have a good trip in taiwan.. let me know if you eat at any other places i've talked about. i'm still catching up on my posts. *sigh

anonymous: probably is.. i haven't seen it yet, but they seem to have a lot of similar restaurants

Anonymous said...

We enjoyed eating at A&J in SJ. Hubby's favorite place to get beef noodle. And nowhere else (restaurant or grocers) have I been able to find the chinese hamburgers...I love them.

They (at least the Nor Cal locations) also serve chinese breakfast on weekends. Yum!

We recently tried a beef noodle place on Zhongxiao E Rd. Sorry I don't remember the name and I forgot to pick up a business card. Just across the street from, but same side as, Bistro 98. Does that make sense? It's on the second floor. And you'll see their sign from the street and seating by the windows. (You'll also see signs for a tonkatsu place that's on the same floor.) Their claim to fame is using no msg and soup with little oil. They have quite a selection of beef noodles: soupy, dry, curry, etc.

We tried a few of their little side dishes. They were good. Hubby ordered regular bns. Soup *was* tasty. I ordered the dry version of bns. Sorry I can't remember the details, but it, too, was good.

Give them a try!

joanh said...

mamamoon: i think i HAVE seen that beef noodle place. it's on the 2nd floor and you can see it from the street? good to hear it was tasty. will try it next time!

Anonymous said...

Yes, I think we're talking about the same one. You can see it from the street. I hope you like it!