Friday, February 19, 2010

[台北] 七十二牛肉麵 - 72 Beef Noodles Taipei - I'm so happy I could die now

The best beef noodle soup in Northern California, whether it be A&J's version or San Tung's 5 spice beef noodle soup, cannot hold a candle to the clear white broth stewed beef noodles soup at 72 Beef Noodles in Taipei 七十二牛肉麵.

72 is the new kid on the block in terms of beef noodle soup, carving a niche of new school in a sea of old schools (like the 50+ year old Yong Kang or Lao Zhang on Yong Kang street), yet is using a great Shandong old school ancestral family culinary secret of making baitang 白湯 (baitan in Japanese), and that is using pure ox bones to stew a thick delicious creamy fulfilling healthy broth, without adding M$G (cough cough $anta Ramen $an Mateo), milk powder, or even ox bone powder. While they offer the red stewed spicy version of the beef noodles (infused with upwards of 12 kinds of herbs and spices), the one you want to get is the clear broth stew 清燉牛肉麵.

The vats of broth, note the sets of ox bones hanging on the side, with each set being about 1.5 kilos to make one serving of soup.

View of the kitchen as seen from the street. Shows you they have nothing to hide.

Sure, these guys didn't win anything within top 3 of Beef Noodle Soup Festival 2009, but they earned the highest marks across the board by the self proclaimed Taiwan Michelin guide (all beef noodles lovers, no snobby posh overinflated French creamy butter fatty eating folk), and that says a lot.

Why the name 72? Well that's because it takes a full three days to prepare the broth! 1.5 kilos of pure ox bones make one serving of soup. These guys are freakin serious, and Mr Liu who is Shandongnese in origin, is the General Patton behind the operation.

Day 1 - ox leg bones are immersed in cold water.
Day 2 - ox leg bones in the pot set to medium heat, mostly to remove excess fat
Day 3 - continue stewing until it is done, all under carefully controlled conditions.

The obligatory condiment of choice, pickled sour chopped mustard greens 酸菜

Media coverage

The philsophy of 72 beef noodles and the cooking process

Various side dish ingredients

The menu

As you know a good bone soup, if done right, is extremely nourishing. We're not just talking proteins, calcium, but also collagen. Mr Liu assures (and has been proven by yours truly) that this broth will surely delight, and you will feel very blessed and lucky having it. You want to consume this broth, if you are pregnant, or a slave in the corporate world, member of the eldery, or just feel weak all over. It is like a rejuvenating potion.

Dedicating two pages worth to the broth alone

Gotta have a page about the noodles too (didn't take one about the beef)

喜瑪拉雅山玫瑰鹽 (Himalayan Rose Salt)

You REALLY want to enhance the bowl of broth with a little bit of Himalayan Rose (Pink) salt, with a shaker available at each table. Apparently this is the stuff the chef adds to the broth during the cooking process, but you want to season it a little more to give it the necessary OO-MOMMY.

What to expect

眷村炒滷味 (mixed soya stir fry)

Ahhh appetizer....decisions decisions. Why not just go straight in for the kill for their specialty. NT$100 gets you a very decent sized portion of what is called Juen Chuan Tsao Lu Wei 眷村炒滷味, or Military Village style stir fried soy sauce marinated eats. There's seaweed, tofu strips, bits of soy sauce marinated egg, garlic, garlic sprout, a sauce that contains upwards of 12 secret ingredients, and this whole thing is extremely appetizing.

Clear Broth Stewed Beef Noodles - 清燉牛肉麵

72 knows you cannot just have a sexcellent broth. The noodles are actually quite good too. I'm sure the Taiwanese version of al dente (aka QQ) has been overused, but al QQ or Q dente these noodles definitely are. Brilliant pairing.

And last but not least...DA BEEF. Dunno what the hell is up with numerous Taiwan beef noodle joints refusing US beef...but no matter, because they've found a fantastic replacement.... Australian calf shank. For some reason each calf only produces a certain amount of the cut of shank 72 needs to use, but it is a marvel to behold in yo mouth. Giant slices accompany each bowl, cut to the right thickness (not thin but not thick), soft enough with a mild chew, and the tendons....damn.

Still hungry after eating the two items? Ask for a FREE refill of broth.

That will send you home happy.

七十二牛肉麵 - 72 Beef Noodles
台北市大安區建國南路一段188號‎ - Taipei City, Da An District, Jin Guo S. Rd, 1st Portion #188
Tel: 02-2752-5970‎
營業時間:11 am - 9:00 pm


  1. I love this place! Just love it.

    Also, I didn't know you could get refills on the broth! Thx for the tip.

  2. The idea of free broth refill came to me from going to Lin Tung Fong. I think if you ask nicely, most places will accomodate. But if you are say at Kau Kee beef brisket noodle shop in Hong Kong, they charge additional for another bowl or refill of broth...