Beef noodles are a humble and popular Asian dish. At first glance it’s a simple bowl of broth, noodles and stewed beef, but the quality of each is what sets amazing beef noodles apart from the rest.
Chef Hung Beef Noodle has lots of locations in Taiwan, with its first restaurant in Canada at Aberdeen Centre (which seems to be the first place to set up in North America for Asian chains).
It was a big deal with it first opened last year attracting unheard-of lineups.
Reviews were mixed with negative comments about the high price point ($10.95), small portions and bland soup. I didn’t find the latter two problems on my visits, so perhaps they have fixed them, or I have lower standards.
My champion beef shank noodle (红烧冠军牛肉面 – $10.95) was huge, with five large pieces of extremely tender shank, and three delicious slices of beef. You get your noodle choice of flat/thick, thin, rice noodles or vermicelli. The consensus is the thin ones are the best so that’s what I got.
The noodles were perfect: firm, slightly chewy to the bite and each nicely separate from the rest. There was a slight spiciness to the broth which was full of flavour, a sure sign of being simmered for days.
A small dish of what I think is a variation of suen cai came with the noodles. The finely chopped pickled cabbage had a very nice garlic flavour to it.
While Chef Hung may be best known for the beef noodles, it also does a lot of Taiwanese dishes very well, like the marinated beef wrapped in crispy pancake ($5.95). I love this and don’t get to eat it very often. Thin slices of beef are rolled with cool cucumbers, green onion and hoisin sauce in a crunchy pancake. Sooo yum.
The terribly translated chicken nuggets (鹹酥雞 – $4.95) are also worth getting. The popular street food is seasoned with a Taiwanese five-spice powder and has an addictive salt and pepper batter.
Not for everyone, the marinated pork ear (滷猪耳 – $4.95) is good here because they’re so thinly sliced. If you’re wondering, pig’s ears are eaten more for the texture (gelatinous exterior and a crunchy cartilage interior) than the taste (generally a soy sauce marinade).
The lineups have now subsided now that the curious have had their taste of the award-winning noodles. My mom says even if they liked it, many people have returned to their favourite places where noodles are cheaper. When we were there, Chef Hung was promoting an HST discount which amounts to 12 per cent off.
Chef Hung Beef Noodle, 2nd floor, 4151 Hazelbridge Way, Richmond, B.C., (604) 295-9357.