Category Archives: ximen (西門)

taiwanese: old wangji beef noodle king aka taoyuan st. beef noodle (老王記牛肉麵大王 aka 桃源街牛肉麵)

date september 01, 2012

contact No. 15, Taoyuan St., Zhongzheng District, Taipei City/台北市中正區桃源街15號/02.2375.8973

hours 7 days a week 10:00-21:00

price 180NT per bowl

rating ♥♥♥ (4 out of 5 hearts)

nearest mrt MRT Ximen Station Exit 4 (捷運西門站4號出口)

All photos were taken with my iPhone 4s.

Sorry for the lack of posts in 2012. Overall, 2012 was a tough year for me: several family deaths and a lot of change. Hopefully 2013 has better things in store, including food! I’ll try to be better this year.

Onto the food.

My friend and her boyfriend wanted to take me to their favorite place in Taipei for beef noodle soup (牛肉麵). Everyone knows about the famous beef noodle shops located on Yong Kang St. (永康街), but this shop is a favorite among local Taipei residents and not at all touristy. From what I’ve heard, this shop has been around for over 50 years. This super busy beef noodle shop doesn’t have a sign or any indicators identifying it as a beef noodle shop, just an open kitchen with bowls of beef noodle soup being ladled out.

Located near Ximending (西門町), the shop’s official name is Old Wangji Beef Noodle King  (老王記牛肉麵大王); however, is known more commonly known as Taoyuan St. Beef Noodle (桃源街牛肉麵), as it is located on Taoyuan St. The shop is only a short walk from exit 4 of MRT Ximen station stop, located on Taoyuan St. (桃源街) between Hengyang Rd. (衡陽路) and Baoqing Rd. (寶慶路). Easiest way to find it is to walk down Baoqing Rd. (the street the Far East Department Store [遠東百貨]) until you hit Taoyuan St., make a left on Taoyuan and you’ll see the signless shop on the right.

The store itself looks kind of ghetto from the outside, but the two-story interior is clean enough, very Taiwanese mom and pop shop-like.

According to my friends, there is often a long line vying for a seat and a delicious bowl of beef noodle soup. Luckily the night we went the line wasn’t too long. Regardless, the line went pretty quick.

One of the first things I noticed, no tourists. Unlike places like Lao Zhang and Yong Kang Beef Noodle I saw no tourists while I was waiting, eating, or exiting. This place is a local spot all the way.

The menu, which can be found on the wall in Chinese only, consists of only 7 items:
1. Taiwanese-style Kimchi (泡菜) – 30NT
2. Pig’s Feet (豬腳) – 110NT
3. Steamed Spareribs with Rice Flour (粉蒸排骨) – 110NT
4. Pig’s Feet Noodles (豬腳麵) – 150NT
5. Soup Noodles (湯麵) – 120NT
6. Beef Soup (牛肉湯) – 180NT
7. Beef Noodle Soup (牛肉麵) [clear or braised broth] – 180NT

We each ordered our own bowl of noodles (I ordered the braised broth [紅燒] beef noodle soup) and a steamed spareribs with rice flour to split.

Note that each table is equipped with a bowl of pickled mustard greens (酸菜) to add to your own taste.

My order of the braised beef noodle soup (紅燒牛肉麵) was pretty standard in size. I thought the broth was pretty tasty. It wasn’t as rich as other braised broths and not spicy at all like other establishments are said to be, such as Yong Kang Beef Noodle, but it was pretty good, a tad oily, but good. The noodles were pretty average: chewy enough, but could be chewier (for me at least). I was a little let down by the beef. It wasn’t as melt-in-your-mouth tender as I’m used to; however, my friends said that it usually is. Either way, the beef was good, just not as tender as I would have hoped. 

Val ordered the clear broth beef noodle soup (清燉牛肉麵). I had a taste and thought the broth was pretty good: rich in beef flavor, but still subtle enough to not be too salty . She was fighting off a cold so the clear broth was perfect for her. Again, the beef wasn’t as tender as I would have wanted, but still not bad.

When our order of steamed sparerib with rice flour (粉蒸排骨) came out the first thing I noticed was that it looked a little mushy…Unfortunately, the look was indicative of the taste. I’m used a little more texture in this dish, but this one was just a little mushy. The flavor, however, was pretty good. The best part was the hidden sweet potato at the bottom of the bamboo basket. The sweet potato had become infused with the pork flavor and spices used to flavor dish.

Overall, I liked Taoyuan St. Beef Noodle. In reality, there are so many beef noodle shops in Taiwan that picking the best is impossible. Like all food, “best” is subjective. Favorites are dependent on personal preference and taste. Would I say Taoyuan St. Beef Noodle is my favorite? No. But do I think it’s worth a try? Definitely.

Oh, random note. Since entering the smartphone world I’ve started foodspotting. Want to know what I’m eating on a daily basis? Follow me on foodspotting!

western: modern toilet.

date january 19, 2010

contact 2F, No. 7, Lane 50, Xi Ning South Road, Wan Hua District, Taipei/02.2311.8822/台北市萬華區西寧南路50巷7號2樓

hours Monday-Friday 11:30am-10pm/Saturday-Sunday 11am-10:30pm

price 200-250NT

rating (3 out of 5 hearts)

website www.moderntoilet.com.tw

nearest mrt ximen(西門捷運站)

I’d seen the pictures of food that comes in brightly colored toilets and decided that for the novelty of it I wanted to try it out. Since I had friends in town from California, figured now would be as good a time as any to try it.

inside modern toilet.

The inside of modern toilet is definitely unique: you sit on toilet seats and eat on bathtub tables. It’s really cute and kind of cool, but definitely not something I’d do on a regular basis.

the menu.

The menu is pretty eclectic. They have all kinds of things from pastas to curry, from gratin to steaks. Their most popular dishes are marked with a little poop on the menu. All pastas, gratins, hot plates, and meals come with soup, a side dish, and a drink that can be substituted at a 1/2 off discount. I decided to go with their signature curry chicken (190NT).

signature curry chicken meal 190NT (招牌馬桶咖哩雞)

According to the menu the curry chicken is one of their most popular dishes. It was good, not great or special, but still tasty. It has a little spice to it which was nice (and not a surprise as it’s labeled on the menu as being spicy). The chicken was a little dry and I wished there was more vegetables in it, but the flavor of the curry was good, more salty than sweet which I prefer. The seaweed soup it came with was your average seaweed soup. I was not a huge fan of the side dish that looked like a mixture of seaweed, vegetables and tofu skin. You can request your tea to have no sugar if you want, I didn’t and liked it just as it was.

One of my friends opted for the Mediterranean Seafood Pasta (220NT) which she said was good, also nothing spectacular. The other two opted for the Pork Cordon Bleu. Both of them were very happy with it and I thought it was pretty good too.

ice cream (part of the meal).

Last thing was the ice cream. It comes in a cute little squatting toilet served like poop. It’s has a much icier consistency than regular soft serve and also has a different sweetness.

Overall I think that Modern Toilet is okay. The food is mediocre, but for the novelty of it all I’d try it again. If you want a fun experience go to Modern Toilet, just don’t expect gourmet style food.