I’ve been in Taiwan about a week, and obviously one of my past times aside from strolling aimlessly through the streets in search of adventure, is exercising my tongue and taste buds with excellent eats. Finding fabulous food in a faraway land can be a challenge if you don’t know where to look. Or how to read 90 percent of the menu.
And I wanted to eat Dao Xiao Mian [ 刀削面/刀削麵], a local dish made from a melon sized chunk of fresh noodle dough, sliced on the spot. As suggested by the Chinese name, Dao Xiao Mian literally translates as knife scraped noodles.
I’d heard that Yong Kang Street [ 永康街 ] is the place to go if you want to eat good food. I’d even watched a youtube video of an apparently quite famous and popular noodle shop which sold the particular Dao Xiao Mian I wanted to eat. Except I had no idea where it was. Somewhere hidden in the scooter swirling alleyways of the Yong Kang streets, but where?
I’ve heard as well, that Taiwanese people are very nice. I was a bit skeptically of this because every society has it’s murders and psychopaths (for serious), but so far in my stay in Taiwan: Taiwanese people have been amazingly nice.
This older man heard me speaking in my bad Chinese about Dao Xiao Mian to my flat mates. And–I kid you not–he literally TOOK us to the restaurant that sold them, saying “Dao Xiao Mian is this way!”
The stars had aligned, because it turned out the shop I’d wanted to go to, was the shop he brought us to. Nestled in an alleyway–where most of the good food is found here– Yong Kang Dao Xiao Mian is the needle in the haystack of restaurants for me. I would have probably spent hours searching for it, pissing my flat mates off, were it not for that lovely older gent. Hats off to you sir. Only I don’t wear hats…
I ordered Fan Qie Niu Rou Mian [ 蕃茄牛肉麵] or Tomato Beef Noodles Soup.
Unfortunately, in the photos I took you can’t see the noodles. I was so hungry I didn’t bother taking a photo of it. So here’s a stock photo found via google:
My noodles were thicker than this. But yum yum. And oh so fresh.
Lets be real here: the whole damn thing tasted fresh.
And of course, I added chili oil to my broth.
Overall the soup tasted phenomenal as well as very healthy. The thing about food in Taiwan is, you can eat just one substantial meal a day and feel full for pretty much the whole day. It’s a bit of a shame because there is so much yum
hidden in plain sight behind every corner.
On our way out, I took a photo next to this cardboard cut out of this dude next to the restaurant, cause why the hell not.
Then the same cardboard cut out, only a irl-version waved at me. All smiles. I waved back of course, smiling too, cause otherwise: rude.
The guy on the far left is him, slicing the noodles.
Afterwards, me and my flat mates went to get dessert.
Do you know how many years I’ve waited to try Mango Bing [芒果冰]? Do you know how much I love Mangoes??? So much so it’s one of the only four fruits I know how to talk about in Chinese. (The other three being: apple, watermelon, and banana). Yes. It is a sad world we live in.
And let me tell you: this ↑ is better than Ice Cream. Hard to believe, huh?
Mango Bing is shaved iced, topped with condensed milk, mangoes, and syrup. It doesn’t weigh you down like ice cream would, and is a great compliment to a hot day.
The other varieties look just as yum:
I loved King Mango’s decor. Air conditioned and quaint–it made a lovely escape from the heat and the humidity. There are about three-four Mango Bing shops on a block though. We wondered how they all managed to compete with each other. [I opt for Mafia Style division of the neighborhood]
A day well ate.
Read more of Skye’s Taiwan Stories and Experiences as a student in the SFSU Chinese Flagship Program at her website, SailorSkye!