Taiwanese Beef Noodle Soup [NiuRouMian|牛肉麵]

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My favorite comfort food is beef noodle soup. It can be found all over Taiwan and is a staple of the street food scene. So many vendors make this dish in Taiwan that there is an annual competition to see who can make it the best. I use beef brisket to make this dish but you can also use beef shank. Pickled mustard green, cilantro, the beefy juices from the brisket, and white noodles will make this a go-to comfort food for you, too.


Prep Time: 15 mins
Cooking Time:  2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours and 30 mins
Servings: 10
Course: Lunch, Dinner



  • 2 1/2 pounds (1.14 kilograms) fresh beef brisket, cut into 2″ cubes
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup (118 milliliters) dark soy sauce, Chinese soy sauce preferrable
  • 6 cloves garlic, smashed
  • One 2 inch ginger, sliced
  • 2 stalks scallions, roughly chopped into about 2″ segments
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 medium tomato, halved (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon spicy bean paste
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 dried/fresh Thai chili
  • 5 cups (1.18 liters) of water
  • 1/2 cup (118 milliliters) Chinese rice wine or sake
  • 1 Chinese spice packet (See recipe below or Store bought) or 1 teaspoon Chinese five spice powder
  • 6 whole star anise
  • 1 tablespoon Sichuan peppercorn
  • 2 pounds (907 grams) any Asian white noodles
  • Fresh green vegetables such as bok choy, Spinach, Taiwanese bok choy
  • Scallion and/or cilantro, for garnish

Chinese Spice Packet

  • 1 package of pickled sour mustard green (~250 grams), finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 Thai chili
  • 2 teaspoons sugar

Chinese Pickled Mustard Green

  • 8 star anise
  • 1 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorn
  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorn
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • spice packet or cheese cloth


Chinese Spice Packet

  1. Put all ingredients in a packet. Alternatively, blend all ingredients with a food processor and store in a jar. Prepare the packet when it is called upon in a recipe.

Chinese Pickled Mustard Green

  1. In a pan or small pot, heat the oil.
  2. Add garlic to stir until fragrant, 1 min.
  3. Add the chopped mustard green, sugar and chili and stir fry until thoroughly mixed. Place in a bowl until cool down to room temperature.
  4. The prepared mustard green can be stored in the fridge for upto 2 weeks.

Beef Noodle Soup

  1. Marinate the beef and soy sauce in a medium bowl for 10 mins.
  2. In a large pot, add oil, ginger, garlic, scallion to cook and stir until fragrant, 30 seconds.
  3. Add the beef to the pot, cook and sear the meat, 5 mins.
  4. Add onion, tomato, spicy bean paste, sugar, chili and sugar and stir until coated evenly, 2 mins.
  5. Add water, rice wine, star anise, Sichuan peppercorn and the spice packet to the pot. Bring to a boil on high heat and then reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook for at least 2 hours until the beef is tender.
  6. Use a sieve or a tong to remove the beef and set aside. Strain the broth over a fine sieve. Return the broth and beef to the pot and boil. Taste and season with soy sauce to desired saltiness.
  7. In another pot, bring water to boil and cook the noodles according to the instructions. Once cooked, divide them into serving bowls. In the same pot with hot water, blanch the vegetables and place them over the noodles in the serving bowls.
  8. Ladle the broth and beef into each bowl.
  9. Garnish with chopped scallion or/and cilantro or/and picked mustard green, and serve.


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