Top 5 Niu Rou Mian (牛肉麵) in Bay Area

Niu Rou Mian (牛肉麵; Beef Noodle) is one of those noodle dishes that holds a special place for many people, especially those who have lived in Taiwan and tasted how great it can be. Beef noodle to Taiwan is what Ramen is to Japan. Neither place was the originator of the noodles, but they have taken them to the next level and transformed them into the culinary echelon.

So it has always seemed strange to me that so few places serve a good version of it in the greater San Francisco bay area. Of the places that serve this noodle dish in bay area, few makes a good enough version to go back to. I can count on one hand places that are worth visiting. However, I’m still holding out hope that one day there will be as many good niu rou mian place as there are good Japanese ramen places in the SF bay area.

With that said, here are my list of the top niu rou mian in the bay area:

  1. ASJ Restaurant, San Jose
  2. Fortune Garden, Union City (CLOSED)
  3. A&J Restaurant, Cupertino
  4. Joy Restaurant, Foster City
  5. Darda, Milpitas
  6. Ay Chung, Milpitas

The following could not muster themselves into the list as they were really poor showings. Some were named niu rou mian but really were very bad and do not even come close to what a niu rou mian should be.

  • Marina Market Food Court, Cupertino
  • e-Noodle, Milpitas
  • Cafe Ophelia, Milpitas
  • QQ Noodle, Fremont
  • New Ma’s Islamic, San Jose
  • New Nutrition House (Wu Bing Er Yu), Milpitas
  • Jujubi Cafe, Milpitas (Closed)
  • House of Noodles, Milpitas (Closed/Replaced)
  • China Stix, Santa Clara
  • Queen House, Mountain View
  • China Tofu, Union City
  • Spices!, San Francisco
  • Chef Woo’s, San Jose (Cupertino)
  • Shinbala, Cupertino
  • Tong Dumpling Pot, San Jose (Cupertino)
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4 Responses

  1. Eileen says:

    I love beef noodle soup!

  2. tanspace says:

    So do I! I read your reviews of Beef Noodle King in the LA area with my mouth watering. Can’t wait to make a trip down there to try it out.

  3. Patrick says:

    I see that Joy Restaurant made it onto the top 4 spot in your list. I used to think that until I went for lunch there, twice, ordering the same Beef Noodle, and both times the noodles were soggy and the portion way too large. It certainly tasted very different than the other times I’ve been there, mostly for dinner. I think they are a bit inconsistent, and that may have to to with the cooks in the kitchen at lunch time or perhaps they’re just too busy.

    One place you didn’t mention here is 5A Cafe in Milbrae (at Lunardi’s Mall). Very good, worth trying and reconsidered for your list.

    Thanks for your posts! I’m a regular reader.

  4. ShangDong DaHan says:

    I’m a self-claimed beef noodle expert. I’ve had all the best beef noodles in my recent trip to Taiwan. A&J and Darda are my favorite beef noodle joints in the bay area. I’ve tried ASJ a few times, but I don’t feel their beef noodle is as good as A&J after the change of ownership. A&J has better quality of beef. If A&J could cut back on the soy sauce a little and filter out most of the grease, it would be hard to beat.

    LA’s A&J is a better restaurant overall, but I don’t remember if it’s beef noodle is any better than the sister A&J here.

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