Ever since the Taipei International Beef Noodle Festival released its list of the capital's top 20 beef noodle restaurants — the result of more than a month of voting and evaluation by a group of undercover gourmets — the award-winning shops have seen long queues. Now the nearly two-month long festival is about to reach its climax as the beef noodle expo opens to the public tomorrow and Sunday at the TWTC Hall 2.
Visitors are strongly advised to turn up with an empty stomach since the top 20 restaurants and 10 other selected establishments from around the island will set up stalls serving their mouthwatering creations for just NT$50 a bowl.
The specialties from previous winners like Lao Chang Beef Noodle Shop (老張牛肉麵) and Yung Kang Beef Noodle Shop (永康牛肉麵) are not to be missed, while Hsiao Li Tzu Beef Noodle Shop's (小李子蘭州牛肉拉麵館) version will surprise taste buds with its beef broth made from over 40 Chinese herbs in accordance with the traditional recipe from Lanzhou, China. Lao Tung Beef Noodle Shop's (老董牛肉細粉麵店) stall is expected to be inundated as it successfully made it into the finals for both the traditional and creative beef noodles categories.
The preliminaries, held last month, eliminated around 50 contenders, retaining the top five shops and individuals for each category. Chef Liu Cheng-hsiung (劉正雄) from Lao Tung won the jury's heart with his traditional-flavored light stew that retains the freshness of the meat and his curry beef noodles, which has been revived from a recipe created by the Master Huang Noodle Shop (洪師父麵食棧) in Shanghai. The establishment is a strong contender in both traditional and creative categories. Chefs from Master Huang's itself will meet the challenge with the shop's signature beef noodles with pickled Chinese cabbage soaked in the aromatic beef broth made from fruits and vegetables.
Each cooking contest will be three hours long starting at 10am and will be judged by 100 culinary industry professionals, renowned gourmets, representatives from the press and members of the general public.
To add a tinge of global flavor to Taiwan's traditional culinary culture, 10 teams from Thailand, South Korea, China, Singapore, Canada, New Zealand, Italy, France, Japan and the US have been invited to create their own innovative beef noodles in a three-hour contest on Sunday.