Taiwanese beef noodle soup


  • Beef, 2 pounds. Fatty beef shank works best, but any large cut with some fat and marbling would do.

  • Onion, 1 large, cut into slices

  • Tomatoes, 2 large, cut into wedges

  • Scallions, 3-4 stalks, sliced into 1 inch lengths

  • More scallions, sliced for garnish (optional)

  • Cilantro for garnish

  • Ginger slices

  • Garlic, 5 cloves

  • Red chili pepper (optional)

  • Chinese bean paste, 3 tbsp

  • Star anise, 5 pieces

  • Bay leaves, 3

  • Brown sugar, 3 tbsp

  • Dark soy sauce, 1/2 cup

  • Soy sauce, 1/2 cup

  • Xiaoxing cooking wine, 1/2 cup

  • Chinese vegetables for blanching and garnishing. I prefer boy choy and other green vegetables.

  • Noodles. Any noodles work, though I prefer udon or Chinese flour noodles.


  • Slow-cooking vessel. I like to use an enameled dutch oven, but anything that is non-reactive and can be covered and used to simmer for a while would work.

  • Pot to separately boil noodles and blanch vegetables.

  • Wok or some other large sautee pan.


  1. Fill the pot with water and bring it to a boil, just enough to fully submerge the beef. Drop in the beef and boil for about 5 minutes until the outside is firmed, but the beef isn’t fully cooked all the way through.

  2. Turn off heat, remove beef, and drop it in some cold water to cool down. Reserve the beef boiling water, it should be fatty and flavorful at this point.

  3. While the beef is cooling, cut all the other vegetable ingredients and set them aside.

  4. Once the beef cools to the touch, cut it into slices, cutting across the grain.

  5. Heat up the dutch oven with some cooking oil.

  6. Add in the onion, tomato, long scallions, ginger, garlic, red chili pepper, and sautee everything. Add in the beef and stir. Add in the bean paste and sautee some more.

  7. Now add broth seasonings to the dutch oven – the soy sauces, cooking wine, sugar, star anise, bay leaves. Pour in the beefy water from the other pot into the dutch oven.

  8. Simmer for about 2 hours on low heat. Stir occasionally.

  9. When the soup is about ready, boil the noodles until cooked, then transfer to a serving boil.

  10. Blanch the vegetables then top the noodles.

  11. Put some slices of beef from the soup over the noodles, and scoop in some of the soup. Garnish with scallions and cilantro and serve.