In a previous relationship with a woman who was originally from Vietnam, she referred to going out for pho as simply, “going out for beef noodle.”
She stuck with pho that contained different cuts of beef because that was her favourite. So, for many years, that’s what I associated with pho – the words beef noodle.
Flash forward to today and I know better. Beef noodle also applies to a particular food delight – Taiwanese beef noodle – soup made of stewed or braised beef, beef broth, vegetable and noodles. The emphasis is on slow-cooking to develop significant flavour.
I’ve had mediocre Taiwanese beef noodle in which the meat was tougher than leather. I’ve had really great Taiwanese beef noodle in the U.S., with flavours so deep and rich I felt like my body was levitating off of the floor.
But finding this close to home in Burnaby has been tough because the city doesn’t have many outlets as far as I’ve been able to see. There seems to be 100 sushi spots for every Taiwanese beef noodle place.
And then I moved up to UniverCity on Burnaby Mountain. At the time, there weren’t many food options beyond fast food.
That has changed more recently with the opening of Chef Hung, a Taiwanese beef noodle chain.
It’s been a ginormous hit, with lines going out the door with mostly SFU students.
The few times I’ve been able to get a table have been worth it, especially in the winter. There’s something about a rich bowl of soup in the winter that just makes the bad weather melt away.
I especially love the sliced beef shank with noodle in clear soup. The biggest decision you have to make is what size of noodle to have in your soup. I prefer really small, thin noodles (I’m the same way with Italian pasta – can’t stand fettucine), but they have huge, fat noodles for heartier appetites.
When I really get adventurous, I go for some tripe.
If you do decided to come up to the mountain, the biggest issue is parking on the street. It’s only 15 minutes so you’ll have to park underground.
DISCLAIMER: I haven’t been paid by the restaurant for this blog. They don’t even know I am writing about them. I just love sharing my thoughts on food.
Follow Chris Campbell on Twitter @shinebox44.