Before visiting Taiwan, I had no idea that beef steak cooked on a sizzling plate was actually a thing here. I thought it was just another gimmicky food trend along the lines of rainbow bagels and rice bun burgers. Fast forward to now, getting beef steak with noodles (牛排鐵板麵 / niu pai tie ban mian) is one of those meals that just seems synonymous with the cooler seasons and Taiwan’s East meets West culture.
One of my favorite places to get beef steak with noodles is Akaoni (赤鬼 / chi gui). There are a couple of locations in Taichung, including one nearby Fengchia Night Market (逢甲夜市 / feng jia ye shi). This is a review of the location on Wenxin Road (文心路 / wen xin lu).
Out front, you know you’re in the right place when you see a giant cow, unironically enjoying steak outside. I can only imagine what thoughts are running through this cow’s head.
Inside, the interior is very modern looking. Individual booths help the space feel intimate even with how popular this location can get.
I’m always a big fan of seeing Hokusai’s “The Great Wave off Kanagawa” integrated in decor. Of course the oni masks are scattered around the restaurant.
As with many restaurants in Taiwan, there is a bar where you can get tea and soup to complement your meal.
I ordered the most basic item on the menu, steak with noodles (no sauce). While waiting, our waiter started bringing the various parts of our meal.
Here’s a bowl of corn chowder that I picked up with some sweetened black tea and mustard green pickles.
The pickled mustard greens (酸菜 / suan cai) aren’t like the ones that you get at a lot of beef noodle soup shops, nor grocery stores. This one was more wet, aged, and had a depth to it that most others are lacking.
Each plate comes with bread. The bread that they serve at Akaoni is amazing. It’s straight-out-of-the-oven hot, a little crispy, and ready to be enjoyed. They give some butter that tastes like it has mustard seeds integrated in it that you can add to your bread (and steak). You’ll want to use all of the butter, despite the butter being, well, butter.
They also give out this egg custard dish in a tea cup. It kind of reminds me of the Japanese chawanmushi (茶碗蒸し). The subtle flavor complements the stronger sauces quite nicely.
If you want croutons to add to your soup, they have those too. They taste just like toasted bread, so it’s doesn’t add any additional spice to your soup.
Here is a photo of the beef steak over noodles with sauce. There are different levels of spiciness that you can choose from for the sauces. I tried a little bit of this sauce and loved how prominent the black pepper flavor was.
This is perfection!
Given that beef is beef is beef, I try not too eat too much of it, but when I do I savor every piece of it. If you love the occasional steak and find yourself in Taichung, don’t hesitate to check out this Akaoni or one of the many other locations spread out amongst the city. Your tastebuds and wallet will thank you with an amazing meal that won’t damage the bank.