Quick Review of the BEST taiwanese beef noodles in Shanghai at Chu Chu Yuan

1st September 2013 / Shanghai

We Chinese (as a race) love noodles, maybe because we invented it. While noodles come in all shapes and sizes, served in a multitude of ways, beef noodles is the quintessential noodle dish; That’s noodles with beef, not made out of beef.

[2016 UPDATE]

This is still my favourite beef noodles, although still mildly inconsistent, the soup is still packed with flavour. Beef quality has improved since my last update in 2015.

[2015 UPDATE]
2 years later, seems like standards have dropped. While I still enjoyed the tasty broth, the quality and consistency of the beef used has fluctuated comparably. Take this dated review with a pinch of salt, your moment may vary.

For some reason, beef just pairs superbly with noodles. Practically every culture I’ve come across has some sort of beef noodle dish. One of the most memorable I have had was Taiwan’s braised beef noodle (红烧牛肉面), crudely translated into english as Red-braised beef noodle. This is a soup noodle dish with slow-braised beef brisket in a wonderful rich full bodied broth that can be slightly spicy. You will find this in any restaurant that claims to serve Taiwanese cuisine. I’ve had several versions of this across Shanghai, and one of the best while I was in Taipei several years back. Most Taiwanese will probably have their own die-hard favourite restaurant serving this dish.

ccy_chopsticks

To-date, the best beef noodle that I have tasted in Shanghai, is at the taiwanese restaurant chain, Chu Chu Yuan (楚楚圆馅饼粥). They have several stores in Shanghai, I have only been to the one near Xin Tian Di and frequent the one at Sun Moon Light shopping mall.

ccy_beef_noodles

Costing only ¥25, you are presented with a bloody big bowl of noodles, with at least 5-6 big chunks of beef and generous serving of a luxurious broth that has been cooked for hours. When we used to visit the shop at Xin Tian Di, the dish was often sold out at as early as 2pm, because they ran out of the broth, and they said they can only cook two batches a day, one for the afternoon service and evening service.

The broth is fragrant and has a complex composition of spices, yet is so perfectly balanced that you just can’t stop slurping it.

That said, the beef quality can be a little inconsistant. Sometimes you get lean cuts that perhaps need another hour in the stew, but more often than not, you get a very tender brisket that has a little bit of fat paired with muscle, and packed with alot of beefy flavours.

ccy_beef_noodles_closeup

They serve 2 variations of the dish, one with knife-cut noodles, Dao1 Xiao1 Mian4 (刀削面) which is very roughly cut noodles, and the other with traditional noodles, Jia1 Chang2 Mian4 (家常面) which is the standard thin noodles. You need to order the Jia Chang Mian, because that soaks up the soup better and I find it more pleasant on the whole, as compared to the knife-cut noodles which have more bite and just doesn’t seem to come across as a noodle. If you don’t state your preference, they will by default serve you the knife-cut noodles.

This is my go-to place for a good beef noodle and comfort on a cold, rainy day. Surprisingly, beef noodle isn’t their signature featured dish, they have a magnificent beef pastry (牛肉馅饼) that is pack full of beef juices and a delicious filling. Their pot-stickers are also very good, paired with their sweet plum sauce.

But whatever it is, give the beef noodles a try, and you will thank me for it.

Total bill:
¥25

TSK Rating

9
Food
10
Service
8
Venue
9
  • shenzhenren
    nice reviews, as a foreigner who was a long term shenzhen resident but recently moved to shanghai the i find the choice, quality and prices of shanghai restaurants a refreshing change…some other places for you to try and i’d be interested in your opinion of them:

    chai’s on sinan road…consistently good inexpensive cantonese
    127 on yongkang road…again goood cantonese (getting the shenzhen connection here?)
    328 jianguo xi lu…local shanghainese that gets rave reviews but i’m not sure
    hungry lungs yongkang road…good value, consistent quality
    taiwan noodle joint on yongkang road next to the taphouse bar…i love their sesame noodles and their “lu you fan”
    so many restaurants, so little time eh?
    keep writing, i’ll keep following

  • Sh foodie
    Hi nice blog! Keep up the good work.
    Have you been to heng ji beef noodles? Think even for tw standards they serve a pretty tasty and authentic version. Sugar n spiced did a report on it: http://www.sugarednspiced.com/ji-heng-beef-noodles/
    Cheers k
    • shanghaikid
      Cool, I’ll give it a try if i’m near the area. It’s quite aways away! 🙂
  • Spike
    I am just into my 4th week in Shanghai. Went to Chu Chu Yuan this afternoon. It was a nightmare looking for this place as B2 of ri yue guang guang chang is huge! Even by normal Mainland China standard.

    Not sure if the cooking standard has lapsed since your review 2 years ago, but the beef noodles was just so-so. The soup was too salty, the beef wasn’t tender enough while the tendon needed more braising. I hope today was simply an off day.

    Have you been there lately?

    • shanghaikid
      Sorry to hear that, Spike. Unfortunately, the consistency of that place had always been shaky, and on recent visits, I have found out that the quality of the beef they used had been deteriorating. The soup and noodle was still the same though. Perhaps it is time to look for a new contender.

Chu Chu Yuan

Address
618  Xu jia hui road, ri yue guang guang chang B2 卢湾区徐家汇路618号日月光中心广场B2楼

Cuisine
Taiwanese

City
Shanghai

Area
Da Pu Qiao

Landmarks
SML Mall

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