Friday, August 3, 2012

[台北] - 牛爸爸牛肉麵 - Beef Daddy Beef Noodle$$$$$$....Who i$ Your Daddy?

Who's Yo Daddy? Why it's Beef Daddy (688 Noodle) of course. 牛爸爸牛肉麵

How much are you willing to pay for a bowl of Taiwanese beef noodles/niu rou mian 牛肉麵?

US$2? $5? $9? These are typical price ranges of bowls you can get in Taipei, night markets, casual eateries, sit down casual restaurants, and beef noodle specialist shops.

Too cheap for you? How about US$20 / NT$600 range? Whoa.... that is starting to get insane by local standards. But wait that's not just it!

Can you handle US$100 / ~ NT$3000 for one bowl of 牛肉麵? Damn dude, not even a plate of dry fried beef chow fun 干炒牛河 is worth that much (even if they use Japanese beef). Then again some people prefer Ferrari's over Honda Civics.
If you are a beef noodle fanatic, then 牛爸爸牛肉麵 will specifically cater to the beef noodle crazy in you.

About 5 min walk away from 忠孝敦化, is literally a temple of beef noodles.

Professor "Beef Daddy" Wang 王聰源 (owner and chef)

牛爸爸牛肉麵 certainly has an interesting story behind it. Mr Wang lived overseas in Vancouver for about 20 years. He gave up pursuing a career in architecture and decided to become an artisanal beef noodle 牛肉麵 maker.

After much careful research (and a lot of $ invested), he has come up with quite an award winning formula. The menu apparently sports multiple price levels of beef noodles, from cheap to crazy expensive. As you go higher up in price, the quality of goods used in the product increases exponentially. What is even more interesting is that Mr Wang originally had a few very affordable bowls of noodles, but business was not good. Contrary to common sense, which LOWERING the price would theoretically attract more customers, Mr Wang decided to go against the grain and RAISE the prices of his beef noodles...but at the same time invested more in quality.

About 8 years ago, Mr Wang came up with the NT$3000 (~US$100) bowl of beef noodles. The general blogosphere thought that was crazy and brave. But Tony stuck to his guns, and insisted on raising the price for this bowl, while being able to control quality with fewer crowds coming through the door.

They say that on most given days, the restaurant can be fairly empty, but Tony's restaurant does have some fiercely loyal fans.

For those who want the Rolls Royce, Lamborghini of beef noodles, professor Wang's has one for you. It costs NT$10,000 per bowl (~US$330)  called 元首牛肉麵. I couldn't afford the bowl, but at least here are the photos of others to give you a glimpse.

To say Mr Wang is a specialist or professor is an understatement.
This NT$10,0000 bowl allows you to customize the types of noodles you want (different thickness, width, and texture). I believe he has a special source for his noodles (similarly to how Ono Jiro of Sukiyabashi Jiro in Tokyo has a unique supplier for his rice).

The beef? Where do I begin? A medley of specific cuts from cows across the world....New Zealand, Australia, Brazil, and Japanese Matsuzaka beef.

The NT$10,000 bowl is served with a side of beef broth essence. Apparently this is pre-made in advance and kept in deep freeze, so that when a customer orders this, he just needs to reheat it. You've heard of stories like 72 beef noodles using 1.5 kilos of ox bones to make a serving of white ox bone broth that takes 72 hours to simmer....only one can guess how much labor and material went into making this beef broth essence here.

When this bowl was introduced around 2008 or so, the restaurant was immediately escalated to world gourmet status, maybe some Guiness world record, coverage on CNN and other business magazines, and a lot of super rich high profile locals and foreigners interested in seeing what the fuss was all about. It has also been said that Tony even said that the NT $10,000 tag is a suggested price, and he offered customers the option to pay what they think the bowl is worth. One Taiwanese executive loved the bowl so much he paid almost triple the amount...

Despite the sillyness, it is said that even the NT$300 and below bowls here are quite good, or the ~NT$600 tomato beef noodles. The varying price levels of this restaurant is one interesting aspect to this restaurant, in addition to Mr Wang winning various awards in the past in the annual Taipei Beef Noodle Festival.

This place is certainly not for the casual beef noodle fan, but for those who can appreciate subtleties and fine attention to detail (including the numerous available condiments/sauces), the fact that this is one of the cleanest beef noodle restaurants around with an almost immaculate kitchen that would make the health department proud), make this place stand out. 

Have you tried the NT$10,000 beef noodle bowl yet? If you have, consider yourself lucky!

牛爸爸牛肉麵 (688 Noodle / "Beef Daddy")
台北市忠孝東路四段216巷27弄16號 Taipei City Zhongxia E Rd 4th portion, Alley 216, 27 / #16