Lin Dong Fang: Best Beef Noodle Soup (Niu Rou Mian) in Taipei

Lin Dong Fang in Taipei, Taiwan
Lin Dong Fang in Taipei, Taiwan

Out of all the beef noodle shops in Taipei, none are more well-known than Lin Dong Fang. At any hour of the day, you can expect to find a line of locals and tourists waiting outside this tiny hole-in-the-wall restaurant to try a bowl of their famous niu rou mian or beef noodle soup.

Beef noodle soup is an iconic dish of Taiwan. It’s the national dish. If you have never had it, a typical bowl consists of braised beef, noodles, and vegetables in a beef broth. Simple, delicious, and nowhere does it better than Lin Dong Fang.

In 2018, Lin Dong Fang moved to a new location a few blocks away. Since I have not had the opportunity to visit their new location, this review will focus on the old location.

If you are looking for more information about Taipei and Taiwan, I highly recommend picking up a guidebook such as Lonely Planet Taiwan. This comprehensive guide provides invaluable insights into Taipei and the entire country, making it an essential companion for travelers seeking a deeper understanding of Taiwan's culture, attractions, and hidden gems.

Interior of Lin Dong Fang

Main dining room, Lin Dong Fang, Taipei, Taiwan
Main dining room, Lin Dong Fang, Taipei, Taiwan

There were multiple dining rooms at Lin Dong Fang. There was a small room to the right of the kitchen and a larger dining room just down the sidewalk to the left.

When I first arrived, I walked to the kitchen and tried to get a seat in the smaller dining room. One of the ladies in the kitchen politely yelled at me in Chinese to head down the street to the other dining room.

Once I arrived at the main dining room, I was promptly seated. Inside the bright and basic room, customers sat on small stools at simple tables, quietly eating out of metal bowls.

Small Kitchen

Small kitchen with the infamous pot of bubbling pork parts
Small kitchen with the infamous pot of bubbling pork parts

If you have the chance, peek into the tiny kitchen out front. Inside were a few large metal pots boiling and bubbling away. The most frightening pot, seen in the photo above, was packed to the brim with beef bones, tendons, meat, skin, and whatever else they could find on the cow.

The dark brown liquid from this pot was then strained to create the flavorful and oily beef broth.

Lin Dong Fang Menu

The menu at Lin Dong Fang hanging on the wall in Chinese, Taipei, Taiwan
The menu at Lin Dong Fang hanging on the wall in Chinese

Hanging on the wall in the dining room was the Lin Dong Fang menu, which was entirely in Chinese. There was no English menu, but my server knew enough basic English to take my order.

Most people who visit Lin Dong Fang come here for the beef noodle soup, also known as niu rou mian.

You can order meat and tendon with each bowl of beef noodle soup or one or the other. I recommend ordering meat and tendon.

The only other choice you need to make is the size of your beef noodles, small or large. I found the small bowl quite filling, but if you are hungry, go for the larger size.

Beef Noodle Soup

A delicious bowl of beef noodle soup
A delicious bowl of beef noodle soup

Since I wasn’t too hungry but couldn’t dare leave Taipei without trying Lin Dong Fang, I went with a small bowl of the half beef, half tendon Niu Rou Mian, or Beef Noodle Soup (200 TWD or about $6.62).

At Lin Dong Fang, they prepare their niu rou mian by placing soft and chewy noodles, large chunks of melt-in-your-mouth beef flank and tendon, and crunchy sliced green onions into a round metal bowl. Next, a brown beefy broth that had been simmering for hours in large metal pots in the kitchen was added to the bowl.

With my first bite of the beef noodle soup, I knew exactly why Lin Dong Fang was popular with foodies. The scorching hot broth, deep brown, was well balanced in flavor without being too rich, salty, or sweet. Complex and beefy but remarkably simple and light. The broth was distinctly different than other beef noodle shops in Taipei, which tend to have a thicker soup.

The broth was also oily without being overly greasy. Its oiliness was a direct result of being simmered for hours in beef bones, fat, and tendons. The longer the simmer, the more fat and oil accumulated in the pot. As I approached the bottom of the bowl, a spoonful at a time, the soup became thicker and intensified in oily flavors.

Hidden in the deep, rich broth was a generous amount of thick, round noodles. You never want to have overcooked noodles. The flash-blanched noodles were perfect. They were tender and chewy but still had the perfect bite. Each noodle soaked up just the right amount of beefy flavor from the broth.

Beef Flank and Tendon

Thick slice of beef flank
Thick slice of beef flank

Floating on the noodles were large slices of beef flank. At first glance, I didn’t realize how thick the slices were. They were like meat icebergs. I only saw their thickness when I picked up the pieces with my chopsticks.

I was surprised by how tender and flavorful the beef was. The hearty meat simmered in the pot for hours until tender. The texture and flavor, which reminded me of a pot roast, was soft and succulent with just the right bite.

Thin strips of tendon running through the beef added a punch of richness and tenderness to each bite, complimenting the mild sweetness of the beef flank seasoned with star anise.

Large pieces of beef tendon, Lin Dong Fang, Taipei, Taiwan
Large pieces of beef tendon

Complementing the thick pieces of beef flank were large chunks of slippery and jiggly tendon.

If you have never had beef tendon before, I highly recommend it. The texture and rich flavor of the tendon reminded me of bacon fat. It was tender, soft, and gelatinous but somehow kept its texture without falling completely apart. And it had just the perfect melt-in-your-mouth bite without being chewy.

Tendon might not be for everyone, but I enjoyed its mild flavor and texture.


On the left, a spicy and smoky chili paste and on the right, a salty red chili sauce, Lin Dong Fang, Taipei, Taiwan
On the left, a spicy and smoky chili paste and on the right, a salty red chili sauce

You probably have already noticed the odd-looking tub of brown chili paste sitting on the table. I learned this paste was the famous Spicy Beef Fat.

Using the big metal spoon sticking straight up, I carefully placed a few dollops of the thick paste into my bowl. Mixing in the paste immediately gave the broth a reddish-brown color. The paste was so dense and sticky, almost like peanut butter, that I had trouble getting it from the spoon into my bowl.

The spicy beef fat paste added a delightfully smoky dried chili flavor to the otherwise simple and light broth. I enjoyed the constant slow burn in each bite. While the paste wasn’t too spicy for me, use caution if you don’t handle spicy foods well. You can always add more if needed.

In the other jar was a simple red chili sauce commonly found all over Taiwan. I highly recommend going easy on this chili sauce. It was a kick to the senses, extremely salty and only slightly spicy. Way too salty for me. I much preferred the brown spicy beef fat paste.

Service at Lin Dong Fang

The service at Lin Dong Fang was efficient. As with many places in Taipei, food arrived only a moment after ordering, ensuring the wait for a table would never be long.

I also appreciated the friendly staff, who smiled when arriving and leaving and even let me snap a few photos of the large, bubbling pots of broth.


While 200 TWD might seem pricey for a bowl of noodles in Taipei, the beef noodle soup at Lin Dong Fang was delicious and filling.

The large, round, chewy noodles were perfect, with just the perfect bite, while the beef flank and tendon were hearty and melt-in-your-mouth delicious. The broth, executed perfectly, was simple, beefy, and light with fresh ingredients. And I can’t forget that the spicy beef fat paste was rich, flavorful, and spicy.

Without a doubt, I feel confident in saying that Lin Dong Fang serves up one of the best niu rou mian (beef noodle soup) in Taipei.


  • Tender beef flank and tendon
  • Thick round noodles perfectly cooked
  • Rich, light broth flavorful after being cooked for hours
  • Open late


  • Expensive
  • No English menu


Monday - Saturday: 11:00 AM - 3:00 AM
Sunday: Closed


New Location
No. 322, Section 2, Bade Rd, Zhongshan District, Taipei City, Taiwan 10491

Old Location
No. 274, Section 2, Bade Road, Zhongshan District, Taipei City, Taiwan 10491

GPS Coordinates: 25.04725,121.54308


Last Updated on April 17, 2024

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My name is Anthony and I am addicted to traveling all around the world experiencing new people, cultures, and foods. These are some of my stories.