(1) Best Value: He Huan Dao Xiao Mian 合歡刀削麵
Located in the second floor food court of Nanmen Market (南門市場), this stall’s braised beef noodle soup (紅燒牛肉麵) with knife-shaved noodles got high marks from our reviewer. At only NT110 (~USD$3.60) a bowl, it won Best Value in our book.
Note that the market is closed on Mondays and the food court gets very busy during the weekday lunch rush, so come on the off-hours to avoid the crowds.
Nanmen Market, No. 8, Section 1, Roosevelt Rd, Zhongzheng District, Taipei City, Taiwan 100, Stall No. 206. Nearest MRT Station: CKS Memorial Hall
(2) Perennial Award Winner: Yong-Kang Beef Noodle 永康牛肉麵
There’s always a line at Yong-Kang Beef Noodle, one of Taipei’s most famous beef noodle soup restaurants, but our reviewer doesn’t mind the wait, and it’s a must-visit every time he’s in Taipei. At NT240 (USD$8.00) for a small bowl of half-tendon, half-meat braised beef noodle soup (半筋半肉紅燒牛肉麵), it’s the most expensive bowl on our list.
It’s located in the famed Yong Kang Street food area, so be sure to save room for other snacks after your meal.
No. 17, Lane 31, Section 2, Jinshan South Road, Da’an District, Taipei City, Taiwan 106. Nearest MRT Station: Dongmen
(3) Personal Favorite: Chuan Wei Zhang Mama Niu Rou Mian 川味張媽媽牛肉麵
Brightly lit with a large, communal table in the center and counter seats around the edge of the restaurant, Zhang Mama was our reviewer’s personal favorite in the area. Noodles were chewy (“QQ,” as they say), the beef and tendon tender, and the spicy, Sichuan-style soup was so flavorful that he packed it up and had another bowl the following day.
Only downside is that pricing is a bit steep at NT230 (USD$7.60).
No. 18, Section 1, Heping East Road, Da’an District, Taipei City, Taiwan 106. Nearest MRT Station: Guting
(4) Best Din Tai Fung Alternative: Su Hang Dian Xin Dian 蘇杭點心店
With a large storefront right on Roosevelt Rd., this two-story restaurant is good choice if you’re dining with someone who doesn’t want to eat beef noodle soup for the fifth day in a row. At NT160 (USD$5.30) for a small bowl of tasty braised beef noodle soup and excellent soup dumplings (小籠包), we rate it highest for an all-around great meal.
A variety of sweet and salty flaky pastries (酥餅) is also available at the take-away counter with direct street access.
No. 14, Section 2, Roosevelt Rd, Zhongzheng District, Taipei City, Taiwan 100. Nearest MRT Station: Guting
(5) Cool Night Market Vibe: Niu Lao Da Dao Xiao Mian 牛老大刀削麵
Located in the middle of Shida Night Market (師大夜市), this restaurant is open until 11 p.m. and offers a choice of regular or knife-shaved noodles. Large photo menu and tourist-friendly staff make it a great choice for those of us that don’t read Chinese that well.
Good value at NT130 (USD$4.30) for a small bowl. Self-serve, sweet iced tea is also available at no extra charge.
No. 19-2, Longquan Street, Da’an District, Taipei City, Taiwan 106. Nearest MRT: Guting and Taipower Building
(6) Most Noticeable Signage: Qing Zang Lao Pai Niu Rou Mian 青藏老牌牛肉麵
It’s hard to miss this Qinghai-Tibetan beef noodle soup restaurant, with its bright orange storefront and large signs boasting of its award-winning beef noodle soup.
Prices are reasonable at NT140 (USD$4.60) for a small bowl, but the “healthy” style (養生) has a strong traditional Chinese herb flavor that was slightly off-putting to our reviewer.
No. 127, Section 1, Nanchang Road, Zhongzheng District, Taipei City, Taiwan 10078. Nearest MRT: CKS Memorial Hall and Guting
(7) Alley location: Pin Tai Dao Xiao Mian Guan 品泰刀削麵館
Despite the address listed below, the entrance to this restaurant is actually in the small alley located just past the Guting temple off Roosevelt Rd., next to the back entrance of the hip Wilbeck Café bar. Several kinds of noodles are available, including knife-shaved (刀削), thin noodles (细麵), flat noodles (板條), and thin vermicelli (细粉).
NT130 (USD$4.30) for a small bowl of braised beef noodle soup. Closed on weekends.
No. 126-1, Section 2, Roosevelt Rd, Zhongzheng District, Taipei City, 100. Nearest MRT: Guting
(8) Dine with the Locals: Lao Wang Hongshao Beef Noodle Restaurant 老王紅燒牛肉麵
No menus here; order off the vertically-written, Chinese signs and grab a seat at one of the round tables. NT130 (USD$4.30) for a small bowl.
No. 82, Chaozhou Street, Da’an District, Taipei City, Taiwan 106. Nearest MRT: CKS Memorial Hall and Guting
(9) Quick take-away: Xiong Ji Mian Shi 熊記麵食
Located near Exit 1 of the Guting MRT Station, this no-frills joint has a few small tables but does mostly take-away business. NT130 (USD$4.30) for a small bowl.
No. 126, Section 2, Roosevelt Rd, Zhongzheng District, Taipei City, Taiwan 100. Nearest MRT: Guting