4~6: Three dishes: beef only, beef tendon only and half & half.
Beef tendon is regarded as a delicacy, so this version of beef noodles is substantially more expensive. I’ll admit that the chewy, gelatinous texture is interesting, but beef tendon has no special flavor of its own, so I’m not sure the extra price is worthwhile. That being said, its low fat, low cholesterol, high collagen content is important for some people.
[The outside of the Yongkang Beef Noodle Restaurant]
In Chinese, “beef noodles” is usually prefixed with the word 紅燒 hóngshāo / horngshau “red cooked” because the meat is first browned in a pan (braised), then simmered for many hours in a liquid containing reddish-brown substances. Ingredients include 醬油 jiàngyóu / jianqyou “soy sauce”, 紅糖 hóngtáng / horngtarng “[literally] red sugar = brown sugar”, 焦糖 jiāotáng / jiautarng “[literally] burnt sugar = caramel”) and various spices. The resulting tender, tasty beef is served with noodles and a vegetable or two.
[Braised Beef Noodles,Yong Kang Beef Noodles 永康牛肉麵 (紅燒),CC-BY-NC-SA,Shih-Pei Chang]
Cultural Note: Because Taiwanese farmers regard cattle as their loyal helpers, beef was not part of the traditional diet, but starting in the 1960s, after ROC army veterans starting selling this typical Sichuan dish, it gradually became more and more popular. Beef noodles can now be found in restaurants over Taiwan, and there are several variations, depending on the quality of beef, the spices that are added and the chef’s special touches.
[Hualien, Taiwan: A farmer takes his water buffalo to his rice field along provincial highway no. 9. © CEphoto, Uwe Aranas]
(7) 清燉牛肉麵 qīngdùn niúròu miàn / chingduenn niourow miann “Beef noodles stewed in clear broth”, a less flavorful version of beef noodles.
(8) 風味小菜 fēngwèi xiǎocài / fengwey sheautsay “Tasty side dishes”. Don’t be deceived by the “side” appelation: if made with care, some side dishes can add unexpectedly welcome flavors to your meal.
(9) 炸醬麵 zhájiàng miàn / jarjianq miann “Fried sauce noodles.” Usually made with soybean paste stir-fried with pork (the default meat choice in Taiwan) or beef. There are also vegetarian versions.
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