Taiwanese Beef Noodle Soup Recipe

A fragrant broth and perfectly tender beef shanks make for the ultimate noodle bowl.
Photo by Farideh Sadeghin

Servings: 6-8
Prep time: 30 minutes
Total time: 2 hours and 30 minutes


for the spice bag:
1 tablespoon goji berries
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns
2 whole star anise
1 cinnamon stick
1 small sliver ginseng
1 small sliver licorice

for the beef braise :
2 pounds|1 kg beef shank
¼ cup|60 ml canola oil
1 bunch of scallions, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 head garlic, peeled and smashed
1 (2-inch) piece ginger, sliced ¼-inch thick
1 tablespoon spicy broad bean paste, chopped
1 tablespoon spicy soy bean paste
1 tablespoon soy bean paste
1 cup|250 ml rice wine
½ cup|125 ml aged soy sauce
½ cup|125 ml light soy sauce
2 tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 carrot, peeled and roughly chopped
1 large piece rock sugar
1 yellow onion, halved
½ fuji apple, roughly chopped

for the pickled mustard greens:
3 tablespoons canola oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 Thai bird’s eye chilies, thinly sliced
1 cup pickled mustard greens, roughly chopped
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
kosher salt, to taste


for the noodles and serving, per bowl:
white wheat noodles
1 teaspoon light soy
1 teaspoon sesame oil
½ teaspoon black vinegar
couple grinds fresh white pepper


  1. Make the spice bag: Place all the spices in a cheesecloth and tie with butcher’s twine. Set aside until ready to use.
  2. Braise the beef: Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the beef shank and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a sheet tray. Drain the water and wipe the saucepan clean.
  3. Heat the oil in the saucepan over medium-high. Add the ginger, garlic, and scallions and cook until fragrant, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the pastes and cook 2 minutes more, then stir in the rice wine and soy sauce. Cook 3 minutes longer, then add the tomatoes, carrot, apple, rock sugar, and onion along with 6 liters of water. Return the shanks to the pan along with the spice bag and bring to a simmer over medium. Cook until the shanks are JUST tender, about 2 ½ hours. If the shanks are tender by the time you turn off the heat, they will be too tender. We let it rest in the braise so it can reabsorb some of the braise and be moist and delicious. After it cools down, strain and take out the meat so all you have left is a rich braising liquid and beef shanks.
  4. Cut the beef shanks against the grain to about ½-inch pieces, then place in a shallow container and keep them covered. Keep the braise warm.
  5. Make the mustard greens: Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and chilies and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the mustard greens and sugar and cook 1 to 2 more minutes. Season with salt and transfer to a bowl.
  6. Cook the noodles: Bring a large pot of unsalted water to a boil. Add the noodles and cook according to the package instructions. Rinse under cold water, then dip back quickly into the boiling water before building your bowl.
  7. To serve: Add 1 portion of soup base to the bottom of the bowl, then top with the cooked noodles. Add some of the braising liquid and a few slices of beef. Garnish with the cilantro, scallions, and pickled mustard greens.

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