Tuesday, 6 August 2013

The Tuesday Juxtapose - 06082013 Beef

Reference Number: 06082013HKG
Dish: House Steamed Beef Shin Noodle Soup 原盅牛蹍湯麵 and Braised Beef Noodle Soup 紅燒牛肉麵
Venue: 鼎泰豐
Address: 銅鑼灣怡和街68號地下
Price: HK$136 (Inclusive of 10% service charge)

Named as one of  the "10 best restaurants in the world" by New York Times, this Taiwanese chain earned its reputation from the tiny meat dumplings they sell by the thousands everyday.  At times, due to that reputation, people sometimes forget how good their noodles are.

A great variety is on offer here - chicken, beef, pork and even vegetarian noodles.  You have the option of going for the ones with soup or the ones without.  Being the beef-lover that I am, the choice should be simple right? Not here.  Here, you actually get THREE different variations of beef noodles. My stomach forbids me from having all three, so I reluctantly compromise and order two instead.

The waiter didn't even blink an eye when I gave him my order.  It seems that ordering two bowls of noodles for one person might be a common occurrence here.  I believe that diet plans and portioned eating goals are best temporarily put aside here, in sacrifice for the delicious food on offer.

The first dish I ordered was the Beef Shin Noodle Soup.

House Steamed Beef Shin Noodle Soup

This is a dish best enjoyed in the comfort of a restaurant.  You wouldn't want to cook this stuff at home. To start off with, it takes considerable effort to just slice the tendon-rich beef shin into manageable pieces.  After that, it takes at least 10 hours of stewing before it takes even remote resemblance, to the tender juicy pieces that are served here. This is one of the leanest cuts of beef and contains high proportions of collagen, making it a top choice for those wanting supple skin.

Personally, all I'm concerned about is how it tastes.  At Din Tai Fung they serve the noodles separate to the soup.  This serves two purposes. Firstly, the noodles won't go soft in the soup and secondly they don't want any of the broth go to waste.  Take a bite of beef, sip some soup, then a small bit of noodles - perfection!  Repeat until the bowl is empty.

The noodles

You can see how meticulously the chef has arranged the noodles in my bowl.  Actually, I'm just flattering myself, they do this to every bowl that is served up.

Next to come, is the Braised Beef Noodle Soup. The reason this should come after the first one? The flavour of the soup is much more intense.  It is best to consumed after the previous one to fully appreciate the flavours of both.

Braised Beef Noodle Soup

While you may be deceived into thinking the slight reddish tint to the soup is an indication of its spiciness, the soup is in fact, not spicy at all. The colour is from the carrots, tomatoes and the range of herbs and spices, that went into the beef stew.  The soup is of a somewhat thicker texture and has a much stronger taste in the mouth. The beef cuts here are briskets and tendons, which is even more tender than the previous one. Your jaw will be suitably delighted at how the beef literally melts apart.

I didn't take a photo, but by the end of the meal, everything (that's noodle, beef, soup and all), was completely polished off.  While that made me a very happy man, I'm pretty sure that that probably wasn't good for my blood pressure.

Best consumed ... on a hungry day

The Tuesday Juxtapose Chart

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