Beef noodle soup is a Chinese and Taiwanese noodle soup made of stewed or red braised beef, beef broth, vegetables andChinese noodles. It exists in various forms throughout East Asia and Southeast Asia. Stewed beef noodle soup was first created by the Hui people (a Chinese Muslim ethnic group) during the Tang Dynasty of China. The red braised beef noodle soup was invented by the veterans in Kaoshiung, Taiwan who fled from mainland China during the Chinese civil war.
In the West, this food may be served in a small portion as a soup. In China, a large bowl of it is often taken as a whole meal with or without any side dish. In Taiwan, vendors that sell beef noodle may also have optional, often cold side dishes, such as braised dried tofu, seaweed, or pork intestine. Beef noodles is often served with suan cai (Chinese sauerkraut) on top, green onion, and sometimes other vegetables in the soup as well.
In Chinese, "牛肉麵" literally means "beef noodles". Mainland Chinese and Hong Kong restaurants also have a tendency to distinguish between "牛肉麵" "beef noodles", and"牛腩麵" "beef brisket noodles"; with the former containing either beef shank or beef slices and the latter containing only brisket. It is sometimes served with wontons. In Taiwan, "牛肉麵" typically consists of either brisket or shank only, though many restaurants also have tendon or a more expensive option with both meat and tendon ("半筋半肉麵", literally "half tendon half meat noodle"). If one orders "牛肉湯麵" or "beef soup noodles" in a restaurant in Taiwan, Mainland China, orHong Kong, they might be given a very inexpensive bowl of noodles in only beef broth but no beef. If one orders a "牛肉湯" or "beef-soup", they could be given a more expensive bowl of beef broth with chunks of beef in it but without noodles.
Beef noodle is often served as fast food in China, with Mr. Lee being the largest chain. In Taiwan it is considered a national dish and every year the city of Taipei holds an annual Beef Noodle Festival, where various chefs and restaurants compete for the "best beef noodle" title in Taiwan.