Beefy Beef Noodle (Bubble Tea)

Restaurant: Beefy Beef Noodle
Cuisine: Chinese/Taiwanese/Noodle Shop/Bubble Tea/Dessert
Last visited: April 16, 2011
Location: Vancouver, BC (Riley Park/Little Mountain)
Address: 4063 Main Street
Price Range: $10 or less, $10-20

1: Poor 2: OK 3: Good 4: Very good 5: Excellent 6: Tres Excellent!!

Food: 3 (based on a couple visits)
Service: 3
Ambiance: 2.5
Overall: 3
Additional comments:

  • 2 locations (Burnaby/Vancouver)
  • Taiwanese owned/operated
  • Taiwanese cuisine
  • Popular for noodle bowls
  • Popular for bubble tea
  • Customizes drinks
  • Good for snacks/drinks
  • Very popular/waits on weekends
  • Cheap eats/budget friendly
  • Very casual
  • Family friendly
  • Younger demographic
  • Limited parking
  • Cash only
  • Open late
  • Sun-Thurs. 11am-12am
  • Fri-Sat. 11am-2am

**Recommendations: Five Spice Beef/Pork Wrapped in Chinese Pancake and House Special Beef Noodle Soup. The Salty Pepper Chicken is popular, but there’s better.

I have to chuckle at the name. The sign is a summary of what to order, or at least what they specialize in. “Beefy Beef Noodle, Salty Peppery Chicken & Bubble Tea”. Beef Beef Noodle is a popular Taiwanese bubble tea joint known for their home made soup noodle bowls and a selection of Taiwanese cuisine. My knowledge of Taiwanese cuisine is quite limited, but after my experience at Delicious Cuisine, bubble tea places just don’t do it justice. Of course it’s completely different styles of Taiwanese food, but I had to write it.

I’ve been here on a couple occasions within the last year, so I’m not a regular. The last time I came for a visit was exactly a year ago and I recalled a relatively positive experience. Therefore when Saturday night came around and my friends and I were looking for a low key place nearby to go after dinner at Narrow Artist Lounge, we ended up at Beefy Beef Noodle.

It was after a failed attempt for JJ Bean (closes at 11pm), failed attempt at East is East (closes at 10pm), and another failed attempt for Blendz (girls didn’t want to make the one block walk in the cold) that we ended up here. But hey! We pulled around the corner and what did we have? A rockstar parking spot right in front of the restaurant that closes at 2am! (If the photo is confusing, it’s only daylight because I took it on a separate occasion).

Anyways, I’m going to question this place for consistency. I’d expect it to be pretty consistent considering they specialize in a few items, although they offer a lot. It’s basically beef noodle bowls, deep fried appetizers, casual snacks and a wide selection of bubble teas. However comparing my couple visits, my experience this time around was slightly underwhelming but not disappointing.

The food was okay with the beef noodle bowls being authentic and quite good. It works for casual eats or late night munchies, but all the bubble teas were a bit watered down and the pearls were a tad overcooked although they’re well priced. There are better versions of things they offer, but for the price and type of place, it’s not bad, and I don’t think there’s any other choice for this type of cuisine within the area.

On the table:

Photo from last year – April 2010

Photo from this year April 2011

Crispy Salty Peppery Chicken – 3.5/6

  • $5.95
  • I liked it better last year than this year. If you’ve never tried Taiwanese chicken nuggets, you’re missing out. It’s Popcorn Chicken 2.0.
  • They’re usually a 4/6 here, but in this case they were 3.5/6 because they gave us a lot of tiny heavily battered chicken scraps, and there weren’t many big pieces. The portion also looked a bit smaller and the oil a bit old.
  • They chicken nuggets were fillets of dark meat chicken and they were decently crispy, but not as good as the ones from Pearl Castle – see here.
  • The ones here were well flavoured, a tad dry this time, but well seasoned with 5 spice powder and a noticeable amount of aromatic white pepper. It was more white pepper than most places.
  • Although they were crispy they had a very powdery texture to them, which they normally will have, but it was more than usual again.
  • What I did love about them is that they actually fried these with basil leaves which is the authentic way of serving this popular Taiwanese street food.
  • It adds so much more flavour and aroma and not many places do it, except they did skimp on them this time. There were so few basil leaves and there used to be more as you can tell from the photos.
  • Another traditional Taiwanese restaurant Kalvin’s Szechuan Restaurant also uses basil leaves – see their Crispy Salty Peppery Chicken.

Shanghai Style Steamed Dumpling Pork- 2/6

  • 8 pieces $5.50
  • I didn’t try these, but I wouldn’t be too surprised if they weren’t made in house.
  • From my friends that did try them the consensus was not good, but edible.
  • I know it’s not a Shangainese place so it’s assumed it won’t be their specialty or even comparable to the real XLB’s (Xiao Long Bao), but apparently the skins were mushy and almost seemed frozen.
  • The soup also leaked out on a couple of them and there wasn’t much soup in them to start.

**Five Spice Beef/Pork Wrapped in Chinese Pancake – 4.5/6

  • $5.95
  • I really enjoyed this.
  • I normally do enjoy this at Taiwanese or Shanghainese restaurants, but this one was a solid Taiwanese version. It was better than my recent one at Kalvin’s Szechuan Restaurant which is an actual Taiwanese restaurant, not cafe.
  • The green onion pancake was very crispy and almost crunchy it was so well fried.
  • It was thin and flaky and decently stuffed with a great balance of ingredients.
  • The slices of beef shank were tender with a hint of 5 spice and not too gelatinous with the tendons.
  • I’m not a fan of gelatinous textures and this one was okay. Traditional Chinese tastes do like those qualities though.
  • The green onion and Hoisin sauce offered a nice sweet contrast to the savoury pancake and meat, and overall it’s very well done and also filling if you’re not sharing.

Just for comparisons sake, here is a photo from April 2010. It’s a little less beef now, but the pancake seems thinner too so it balances out. They were both still good, so I don’t mind the change if there was one.

**Beef Brisket Noodle in Spicy Soup – 4.5/6

  • $7.25
  • This is one of their claims to fame. It’s quite a large bowl with lots of ingredients and they’re served piping hot.
  • It’s quite authentic with a dark broth, pickled vegetables and hand made noodles (I think).
  • The spicy soup was quite spicy and had my nose sniffling after the first five bites.
  • There’s a layer of chili oil floating over the top, although it wasn’t overly greasy either. Authentic Taiwanese beef noodle bowls are quite greasy though.

Excuse the photo, this is from last year…

  • The noodles were a bit soft for my liking, but usually they are quite al dente with a bite.
  • It comes standard with one type of noodle, otherwise I do prefer the thicker noodles.
  • The broth is good, although not as complex as the one from Wang’s Beef Noodle. There was beef flavour and it was also quite tangy with the pickles as well as being spicy.
  • I really appreciated the bok choy vegetables which was almost a bonus.

  • The beef slices weren’t brisket, they were beef shank slices. There was a decent amount of them and they were quite tender but still a bit chewy.
  • It’s not really gelatinous, but the clear jelly parts weren’t quite broken down yet.

Condensed Milk Toast – 3.5/6

  • $3.75
  • Is it just me, or has bread gotten a lot more expensive? Or maybe it’s always been this price, and I just haven’t ordered this in a while.
  • Condensed Milk Toast is a 5/6 – it’s a must try item and childhood snack for many Chinese kids, but the one here was a 3.5/6.
  • It’s quite dessert like and it’s one of the most popular items at bubble tea places.
  • It was good and the bread was thick sliced, soft and somewhat fluffy, but there’s fluffier and the exterior wasn’t as crispy as I like.
  • It’s a naturally sweeter Taiwanese egg bread that is toasted, well buttered, and drizzled with condensed milk.
  • It’s personal preference but I like it when it’s coated evenly with a layer of condensed milk.

Japanese Green Tea Smoothy – 3.5/6

  • $4.95 + $.50 for half coconut jelly + pearls
  • This one definitely used to be better, although the drink itself is always quite good.
  • It was a bit watered down, you can tell by the colour, but the texture was nice.
  • They put a bit of Japanese green tea ice cream in the mix so it’s a little bit like a milkshake.
  • I just wish they enhanced the green tea flavour because it was too milky.
  • The pearls were also a bit soft and overcooked.

Taro Smoothy – 3.5/6

  • $4.50
  • I love taro smoothies or slushes and this one was pretty good although again a bit on the milky side.
  • It wasn’t too sweet and quite nicely blended.

Honey Green Tea/Black Tea – n/a

  • $3.95 + $.50 for half grass jelly + half coconut jelly
  • I didn’t try this one, but I didn’t hear any complaints.

Vanilla Milk Tea Slush – 4/6

  • $3.95
  • This was mine and I enjoyed it. They also let me customize it to a slush which was much appreciated.
  • Again it was a bit on the milky side, but the flavour was there.

Almond Milk Tea – 3/6

  • $3.95 + $.50 for pearls
  • This one was noticeably a bit too powdered with too much ice so it became bland and watery as well.
  • The pearls were also a bit soft again.

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14 Comments

  • Linda says:

    mm i really love bubble tea food and my fave is actually at bubble world – i always order the chicken knuckles, the beef roll, and meat noodles – i’ve had the condensed milk toast there before and it’s pretty good and yes, the price of bread has gone up – i think the toast used to cost $3 because the $3.75 seems a bit high 🙂 i think the condensed milk is a bit more melted at beefy beef than bubble world but i can see both options being super delicious!

    i think for the beef noodles, i would prefer having the brisket instead of the shank just for the chewiness factor – i hate having the pieces of meat stuck in my teeth 🙂 since the rating was just mediocre i think i’ll stick to wang’s 🙂 i always pass by beefy beef when i’m on the main street bus and i’ve always wondered how the noodles stacked up lol

    mmm bubble tea – my all time fave is still taro 🙂 although the mix of straw, rasp and mango at bubbleworld is pretty good too 🙂

  • Erwin says:

    I’m a frequenter at this location and I agree with the review. Pretty much spot on! Last time I was there I didn’t want a full meal and had the 5-spice Beef Pancake, which was better than anything else ordered from our table. Great for late night groups, maybe an after movie/dancing snack.

    I would ask specifically for their Wasabi Salty Pepper Chicken, where the cook puts in some wasabi powder in the mix, and it makes a good kick! It jumps on their blackboard specials from time to time, but I’m sure you can custom order it if you smile and wink. 😉 I haven’t found that particular type of SPChicken anywhere else, so might as well dive in if you’re there. Good on it’s own, but better as a meal with their noodle soup.

  • Mijune says:

    @Linda – ohh I like your word for it.. “bubble tea food”… I’ll keep that in mind… thank you!! Do you always slush your taro too?!?! I was thinking of you when I knew this post was coming up! I was thinking “oh linda will be happy I have a beef pancake roll coming up” 🙂

    @Erwin – Oh cool! Glad we’re on the same page since you’re a frequenter… gives me an idea! AND WHAT?!?!?! How did I miss the Wasabi Salty Peppery Chicken?!?!?! I missed it completely!!! Ok thanks for the tip.. that sounds awesome!!! I’ll do lots of smiling and winking and hopefully i can try them too lol… the SPChicken is available at LOTS of places though! I find there’s better elsewhere too. Almost any bubble tea place serving food will serve them. I have suggestions for them under my SPChicken on this post even 🙂

  • Nathan Chan says:

    You can read Chinese? Looks like you got more out of Chinese school than I ever did!

  • Mijune says:

    @Nathan Chan – bahahah lol no I can’t… the sign is also written in English…. look closer 🙂

  • WS says:

    BTW Mijune for Asian drinks like at bubble tea establishments, what drinks you like the best(if you can totally customize a Asian drink)? I mean besides your favourite Mango Moo Shake at Phnom Penh restaurant(& it’s not even a bubble tea establishment). From doing a quick check on your site, it seems you like Taro slush, Green Tea drink combinations. What’s the difference between a slush & a smoothie?

  • Mijune says:

    @WS – good questions!! I do love the matcha, taro, almond and coconut combination. If I’m at a place that uses real fruit I may go for one of those. I’ve customized a 1/2 matcha, 1/3 almond, 1/3 coconut and that was quite nice… but hope they can use coconut milk instead of powder. I also like 1/2 coconut and 1/2 taro. A smoothies sometimes will use ice cream but it depends on the establishment… some places just say smoothie for slush but it’s the same thing. Sometimes the smoothie has dairy and the slush is just ice as well.. each place is different and god knows what translation they use, but I hope tat helps! 🙂 Oh 1/2 vanilla 1/2 matcha is good too. 1/2 vanilla 1/3 taro 1/3 almond I’m happy with as well :)… all slushes! Always a slush or “smoothie” for me!

  • WS says:

    Thanks. Are their any Asian drink flavours or combinations, that you would prefer powder over fresh fruit? Some of the Vancouver bubble tea establishments offer fresh seasonal fruit flavours?

  • Mijune says:

    @WS – I prefer powdered taro to fresh taro. I like fresh taro in savoury forms, but not in sweet. If it’s a fruit drink I always prefer fresh. And yes! Bubble World just launched all there summer fruits, but not all of them are sweet yet like the watermelon… not really in season yet.

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