In Taiwan, there are beef noodle stores everywhere you look, some serving unremarkable concoctions of tough beef and limp noodles, others offering dishes tender and flavored to perfection. Finding the perfect bowl is what the 2007 Taipei International Newrow Mian Festival (2007臺北國際牛肉麵節) is all about.
Last Sunday, the qualifying round pronounced five finalists in each of the three categories: traditional dark broth, light broth and creative noodles. This Sunday, the best of the best beef noodles will be announced. Victory is likely to lead to packed tables for at least a year.
On Saturday, the uniquely named International Teamwork Intercourse Competition brings in six teams of international chefs to put their own spin on Taiwan's beef noodles Saturday. This event and the local competition finals on Sunday will be held at the Xinyi International Club (信義公民會館). Over the weekend, there will be a variety of performances and about 20 beef noodle stalls, so the public can appreciate all styles and flavors of the dish.
In announcing the finalists last Sunday, Cheng Yan-chi (鄭衍基), the chief judge who presided over the 45 bowls of beef noodles under consideration, pointed out that a primary consideration in assessing a bowl of beef noodles was the balance between broth, noodles and meat. Cheng, once chef to former presidents Chiang Ching-kuo (蔣經國) and Lee Teng-hui (李登輝), praised competitors' efforts, and underlined the complexity of achieving that elusive balance. "A bowl of noodles that costs NT$800 to make will obviously taste different from one that sells for NT$80 in the shop," he said.
An event like this can do no more that point customers in the right direction, and for this coming weekend, it will provide a convenient opportunity for the noodle lovers in Taiwan to indulge.
What: Taipei International Newrow Mian Festival
When: Saturday from 3pm to 6pm; Sunday from 9am to 2pm
Where: Xinyi International Club (信義公民會館),
50 Songqin Rd, Taipei (台北市松勤街50號)
On the Net: www.new-rowmian.com.tw/en/index.html