taiwanese: zhang mama’s beef noodle (張媽媽牛肉麵)

date 11.18.09

contact He-Ping East Road, Sec. 1, No. 18, Da-An District, Taipei/02.2366.1125/台北市大安區和平東路一段18號

hours not listed

price 150-250NT

rating ♥♥♥ (3 out of 5 hearts)

When I try a new beef noodle soup place I have high expectations. Zhang Mama’s Beef Noodle is not bad. I pass by it every day on my way to class and a few weeks ago we decided we should give it a try. Tonight was our second time at Zhang Mama’s and tonight’s food was better than the first time.

inside zhang mama's.

Zhang Mama’s is a small shop. Probably seats around 20. It just recently was remodeled (it was completely torn out and redone in like a week. Have to love Taiwanese work ethic.) and looks pretty nice inside.

signature cucumbers (35NT)

My favorite thing here, and probably the reason I went back, was for their cucumber side dish (35NT). I went in another time and they were out of the cucumbers, so I left. Today, we went in around 5:30pm for dinner and we got the last one. Their cucumbers are a “signature” dish on the menu. They’re really crispy, garlicy, and perfectly seasoned, not too salty, not too sweet, and not too vinegary. They are my favorite in Taipei so far.

bean sprouts (35NT)

The bean sprouts here are pretty good. There is a lot of oil, so that’s kind of annoying, but the flavor is good. It’s not spicy, even though there are peppers in it.

small bowl tomato beef noodle (170NT)

I like the tomato based beef noodle soup here the best. They also have Zhang Mama’s beef noodle soup which I have not tried, but it looks like it’s braised and has tripe in it, which I don’t like. I’ve had the braised beef noodle soup (紅燒牛肉麵) and thought the soup was too salty and the beef flavor was drown out. The tomato beef noodle, however, has a good flavorful broth: not too salty and tastes like tomato without being overpowering. One of my favorite parts is that there are actually chunks of tomato that have soaked up the broth. The noodles are okay, I prefer noodles that are thinner and less chewy, even so, these noodles are pretty good. The first time we came to Zhang Mama’s the beef was not good; it was tough, dry, and chewy. Today the beef was much better, more tender, and less chewy. Still the beef was not that great which makes me sad.

Overall I think that Zhang Mama’s is okay. I like it for it’s proximity to my house and for the cucumbers. It’s not a bad bowl of beef noodle soup, but there are plenty more in Taipei that are much better. Despite that, if I’m hungry and wanting beef noodle soup that’s close by, Zhang Mama’s isn’t a bad option.

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