★ Beef ?? Noodle Soup - Shanghai
I was in Shanghai and I decided to try out a regular Chinese noodle place, a place where common folks visited. I was in an older part of Shanghai where the decade old two story buildings haven't been replaced by shiny new buildings... yet. As I was eating they were tearing down buildings just a few blocks away, no doubt clearing way for another skyscraper. I picked a very busy noodle place on the side of the street and tried the first item on their menu: 红烧牛肉面 (Beef noodle soup).
The Soup - was a very thin beef broth flavored with soy sauce and curry powder. There was also a trace of other Chinese herbs such as anise stars and gui-pi. The soup tasted a bit watered down and all the different flavors kinda just co-existed without any harmony.
The Noodles - were thin straight noodles cooked medium firm. The noodles tasted pretty good and I was surprised that they were nice and firm.
The Toppings - were a big round slab of hard tofu, smaller chunks of tofu, and beef ?? The small pieces of beef were heavily flavored with soy sauce, its texture was a little on the hard chewy side. As I was eating this I asked myself... is this beef? I have heard rumors from my Chinese friends of some shadier places serving mystery meat, I hesitate to imagine what the mystery might be. Anyways, the tofu was bland but at least they tasted like tofu.
Overall - not one of the best ramen that I've had but the experience was a memorable one. The whole ramen cost only $.40 so I won't complain too much. 4 hours later I went to one of the new skyscrapers in Shanghai 金茂大厦 (Jinmao Tower) and ate at a Chinese restaurant there. I ordered the same dish beef noodle soup and compared it to the ramen here.