Shuang Man Long's name is based on Manryu, one of the biggest ramen noodles chains in Japan. After its owner tasted Manryu's noodles in Sapporo, Japan, she abandoned her Shabu Shabu restaurant and learnt to make Ramen instead.
Since the first Shuang Man Long opened in Taipei County's Sanchung over four years ago, the ramen-noodles chain has expanded to six branches, mostly in Taipei County.
This is quite an achievement as ramen fever in Taiwan peaked around two years ago and has cooled considerably.
Shuang Man Long's Linsen branch, located in busy downtown Taipei, has received the most media coverage and has had the best business among all the branches since it opened three years ago. It also offers the greatest range of noodle flavors ? 62 in all (from NT$90 to NT$210). The flavors, which you can't find elsewhere, are comprised of a combination of five broths with 12 sets of ingredients. The broths are: original, miso, soy sauce, rib bone and spicy, to go with clams, crabs, mutton, shrimps and many other ingredients. As for the noodles, there's only the thin, egg-flavored kind.
At first glance, Shuang Man Long appears to be a replica of a traditional Japanese ramen shop -- behind a pair of curtains is a long bar seated with diners facing the open kitchen. However, for those unused to the Japanese way of noodle eating, the restaurant also has a second floor that can accommodate 24 customers at more regular tables.
Shuang Man Long's broths are lighter than those in other ramen restaurants. Even so, they seem to retain all the essence of their ingredients. Miso-flavored beef noodles (NT$99) are a popular item. The beef bacon is of high quality while the miso broth adds to its flavor. The vegetables, which absorb the broth to the full, taste equally good.
Address:No 153, Linsen N Rd, Taipei (台北市林森北路153號)
Telephone: (02) 25112732
Open: 11am to 11pm
Average meal: NT$200
Details: Credit cards not accepted; Chinese and Japanese menu
Although it specializes in ramen noodles, Shuang Man Long takes care with its side dishes. A score of these are on offer at reasonable prices. Shrimp salad (NT$55 for a small serving and NT$100 for large) and fish-eggs salad (NT$40 for a small serving and NT$75 for large) are two recommend choices. There's also the highly popular spicy snails (NT$55 for a small serving and NT$100 for large). The imported Japanese field snails are remarkably chewy and their texture goes well with the piquant seasoning.