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  • - [Iz Harris] Meat, noodles,

  • broth, and veggies:

  • a combination of elements

  • featured in many different cuisines.

  • But Taiwan has somehow taken this combination

  • and made it their own, laying claim to a dish

  • that is seemingly simple on the surface, but in actuality,

  • is a deep symbol of the national pride here.

  • You see beef noodle everywhere.

  • Walk into a 7-11, beef noodle-flavored potato chips.

  • There's even an international beef noodle competition.

  • - [Reporter] The international beef noodle festival...

  • - [Reporter] How tasty are Taipei's famous beef noodles?

  • - [Iz Harris] What is it about this dish,

  • and how do I get some?

  • Taipei knows how to do a savory breakfast.

  • We're here at this restaurant

  • which is like an institution in Taipei.

  • It's open 24 hours.

  • We have a bunch of different savory pastries,

  • dumplings, bao, omelets, all sorts of stuff,

  • and then then it's all balanced out by this sweet soy soup.

  • They make their own soy products in house,

  • so there's the soy soup,

  • and then they have sweetened

  • and salty soy milk as well.

  • That's a big part of Taiwanese food,

  • and we are loving it.

  • Is that yummy?

  • - Yes.

  • - Yes?

  • Everything is made very fresh,

  • in fact they don't even freeze the meat.

  • Outside, we saw them frying these pastries.

  • They fry them up, and then they put them inside

  • with pickled vegetables.

  • The outside of it is like a fried steam bun

  • that they wrap it in.

  • I'm going to try it.

  • Oh, it's spicy, woo!

  • It's definitely spicy.

  • It was such a family-centered restaurant.

  • They couldn't have been kinder.

  • The food was made fresh, and was delicious and flavorful.

  • We're heading out today to a town called Jiufen,

  • which is good, because I seriously need to digest

  • as I prepare for beef noodle tonight.

  • - [Johnny Harris] Wow.

  • - This place is called Jiufen.

  • Every local I spoke to made it clear

  • that I should not miss it.

  • One of the really cool things about this area

  • is that it has a street that just winds

  • through the mountain village,

  • and it's just covered with different street food options.

  • We're going to go through and try a few things,

  • explore the different food options, but pace ourselves,

  • because we have beef noodle coming up tonight,

  • and I know I don't want to be too full.

  • Okay, we're all suited up.

  • Ready to go.

  • It is absolutely stunning and pouring.

  • We're not mad though, right?

  • - Yeah.

  • - (laughs) Right.

  • It has a lot of Japanese influence,

  • and it was actually said that it was part of

  • the inspiration for some of Miyazaki's films,

  • specifically "Spirited Away,"

  • so I'm pretty excited about that.

  • It's still raining super hard,

  • so we're going to go find some cover,

  • get some street food, and explore the main market strip.

  • Street food here is the name of the game.

  • I was told I have to try the taro ball soup,

  • deep-fried fish, and Taiwanese sausage,

  • but honestly, I'll try whatever.

  • We're here at Grandma Lai's Taro Balls.

  • This is one of the most popular places here.

  • These are sweet taro balls

  • that can be served cold or hot.

  • We decided to go with hot.

  • They come in a variety of flavors,

  • so there's taro, sweet potato, pumpkin,

  • and a few others.

  • We're going to try it.

  • - Yes.

  • - I'm starting to like these. - Mmm.

  • - That's good.

  • Has a really starch, chewy texture,

  • which makes sense, with it being a rice ball,

  • but it almost tastes slightly like a marshmallow,

  • like it has that creamy, sweet flavor too.

  • It's really good.

  • Hello!

  • Taiwanese sausage is a very specific thing,

  • and it was on, like, the top 10 list of things

  • to try when in Taiwan,

  • so I'm excited.

  • Here goes it.

  • It's like, smoky and sweet.

  • It's a little too fatty for me,

  • but I could see how this,

  • because of the distinctness of the flavor and the texture,

  • could be someone's favorite.

  • Hello.

  • Uh, yeah, let's try one. - Okay.

  • - You're going to try it first.

  • That was the biggest mushroom I've ever seen in my life.

  • - Yes.

  • Oh, yeah.

  • - [Iz] Yeah?

  • - It's so meaty. - Mmm.

  • - Super-spicy. - The oyster sauce is great.

  • We made it through the market,

  • and this is easily one of the most beautiful cities

  • I've ever been to.

  • The views, the vendors, the temples.

  • It has such a unique feel to it.

  • That being said, we're all freezing cold and drenched,

  • so we're really looking forward to

  • getting a big, hot, steaming bowl of beef noodle.

  • I think jet lag is catching up with us,

  • because both the boys are asleep.

  • We're trying to wake them up.

  • We're at the beef noodle restaurant.

  • This one was mentioned in the Taipei Eater Guide,

  • they went on and on and on about how amazing it is.

  • The broth is supposed to be seasoned perfectly,

  • the meat is supposed to just melt in your mouth,

  • and the noodles are supposed to have

  • that firm, perfect, chewy quality,

  • so I'm really, really excited.

  • It's been a long day, I've been looking forward to this.

  • I've been thinking about it.

  • Let's do it.

  • From a glance, it doesn't look like anything special.

  • In fact, it's a bit of a hole in the wall,

  • but the second you walk in,

  • flooded with the sights, smells, and sounds,

  • you understand what sets this place apart.

  • So the lifeblood of beef noodle is the broth,

  • and this place is supposed to have

  • some of the best broth in the city.

  • It's supposed to be thicker, more flavorful,

  • and that's kind of what sets Taiwanese beef noodle

  • apart from the traditional Chinese beef noodle.

  • Your bowl is assembled with noodles,

  • broth, beef, and greens,

  • and then you can choose to have spicy, not-spicy,

  • beef, or also tendon.

  • We're trying all of them.

  • All of them.

  • Whoa!

  • That is spicy.

  • Wow, it is delicious though.

  • The broth is just packed with flavor,

  • but it's not too salty.

  • You can really taste the depth of the flavor in the broth.

  • It's not overwhelming, but it is very flavorful.

  • - Wow.

  • Wow.

  • It's like butter.

  • The meat is like butter.

  • - I'm going to try the tendon,

  • which is a bit more of a delicacy here.

  • Here we go.

  • (guests chatting)

  • It's really good.

  • That was an experience to be had,

  • and I can honestly say I've never had anything like it.

  • It's extremely comforting and hearty at the same time,

  • and it was the perfect thing to follow up

  • a super, super-rainy, obviously exhausting day.

  • So we've taken on night markets and beef noodle,

  • and next, we're going to do hot pot.

  • Make sure to tune into the next episode,

  • so you can see how Taiwan has taken this dish

  • that's popular throughout the region,

  • and made it their own.

- [Iz Harris] Meat, noodles,

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