Sunday, July 20, 2014

No.1 Beef Noodle House 京園牛肉麵

To conclude a disappointing day at Steveston (Sockeye City, then Timothy's), the best choice was to stay home and cook. But, I really wanted some green onion pancake with beef wraps without having to make them myself. So, we headed to No. 1 Beef Noodle House. Plus, like I was really going to start cooking shank after a crappy day...

Many people mention that if the restaurant's name states what the restaurant specializes in such as wonton houses or Taiwanese beef noodles, the specialized item should taste good.

Well, I never really thought about that and honestly, it makes sense! As for No.1 Beef Noodle House, it used to be a frequent restaurant of mine throughout high school but the noodles have never been a Top Five! Thinking about it now, how does a restaurant not feel embarrassed? Personally, it is not a big deal to me because I never come here for the noodles. However, I do end up always ordering them. Perhaps I subconsciously wonder if the restaurant will improve. But hey, makes sense though eh? The restaurant should have great noodles considering their name...

I used to have this tendency to think that bubble tea joints do not serve very good food, asides from the peppery chicken. However, after trying Pearl Castle's beef noodles, they were pretty good! And having said that, I decided to try No. 1 Beef Noodle's because they must have improved within the last year. After ordering, I could not recall if I emphasized for the noodles to be spicy or not, so I walked up the counter to confirm. As it turns out, fortunately I did! But, unfortunately there is no hint of spiciness.

Beef noodles are supposed to have an original beef stock but,  No.1 waters theirs down. Why? Beef Noodles are the most basic item at any Taiwanese restaurant, it is like frying an egg to them. In addition, it is annoying when restaurants think they can add chilli oil and assume that is what spicy means. The original broth is supposed to be slightly spicy anyways! Asides from the watery, flavourless and oily broth, fortunately the shank tastes pretty good. The meat tastes amazingly tender, actually tender and fully tender; not semi tender. Furthermore, the meat is actually slow cooked! If only there were more pieces and not just one slice cut into three. Also, too bad the broth tastes bland and has no flavour whatsoever. If anything, the noodles are perfectly cooked with a pleasant chewiness and the bok choy is actually fresh with a nice crunch; no soggy vegetables here.

The popcorn chicken has a crisp batter and a flavourful peppery seasoning. If anything, there could have been a heavier hit of five spice. In addition, the batter is quite thick compared to other bubble tea joints. Nevertheless, the meat tastes moist and juicy (despite preferring Pearl Castle's a lot more).

Is it weird that I always expect the drinks to arrive before the food? Anyways, I rarely order pearls anymore and wanted to this time. But, unfortunately the restaurant was sold out. Starting with the watermelon slush, the flavour is not watered down and is only slightly icy. As for the Japanese green tea, there is a slight matcha flavour and does not taste too sweet. However, the smoothie is quite icy and there are plenty of ice chunks.

The pork chop tastes moist as well as tender, and has a crisp batter. Furthermore, there is a nice rich garlicky flavour compared to the usual peppery five spice. If anything, the batter could have been slightly crispier.

TOTAL: $31.15 + TIP $5.85 = $37.00.

Overall, we did not really order much because most of the items were not available such as the hainan chicken. Furthermore, we have tried some rice dishes along with their hot pots and never really enjoyed them. Oh yeah, what about the green onion pancake wraps?! Well, the restaurant no longer offers them!! Whattttt? I was pretty upset because I wanted to two orders. Anyway, here is a photo from a previous visit. The Taiwanese sausage is served with a side of garlic and tastes pretty good (of course generic). Also, the deep fried bun with condensed milk is a favourite of mine.

Here is another photo from a previous visit as well. Can you tell I really liked their pancake wraps before? From what I remember, nothing tasted good in the photo asides from the pancake wraps. Also, the popcorn chicken used to be constantly inconsistent; overly battered with no seasoning and dry meat.

Last photo, just for comparison purposes. Seems like No.1 Beef Noodle House used to serve more shank and a larger portion of preserved vegetables. However, the meat has never tasted as tender as this visit. So, quality over quantity? I still find the portion on the stingy side now though, especially compared to Pearl Castle's.

- Open late night
- One of the better beef shanks (in our case, 4/5)
- Friendly service compared to previous visits
- Cannot go wrong with the deep fried bun (although sometimes the exterior is not crispy)

- Drinks could be blended a bit better
- Weak beef noodle broth (0.5/5) and stingy portion of shank
- WHY remove one of the best items?
- Snack items are better than the meals or hot pots

- Food has never been the same ever since the owners started operating at Beefy Beef
- Seriously… no green onion pancake with beef?

Food: 2.5/5
Service: 2.5/5

No.1 Beef Noodle House 京園牛肉麵 on Urbanspoon

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