Bee Tai Buhck: *Special* Rice Noodle

In food on 01/12/2009 at 12:52 pm

The mainstay of Taiwanese cuisine is a simple dish of ground pork braised in soy sauce. Brother and I would eat it all the time in boxed lunches when I was growing up, with other braised accompaniments: tofu skin, egg, chicken, etc… Other kids always liked to peep into our lunches to see what weird thing we were eating that day. It served as the go-to quick meal on top of rice anytime Mother wanted to feed us hungry hungry hippos, but man, it is so fantastic.

Soy sauce is the king of all sauces. People take it for granted. Recently its day has come, receiving the boutique small batch artisanal treatment reserved for coffee, chocolate and olive oil. Somewhere in the backwoods of Kentucky, a man is aging his super premium soy sauce in bourbon barrels. Outside of Asia, that is the only place anyone is making this black gold. For now, I’ll stick with my $2 stuff that already blows my mind.

My signature dish, #88 (so lucky!) in my recipe notebook, is Bee Tai Buhck (my phoneticization since it’s found on Google as Taiwanese Special Rice Noodle). Some English program actually featured it as a dish used to celebrate when the tombstones are swept on Ancestor Worship Day, but I think it’s to-die-for any day of the year.

I don’t make it as much as I’d like, ever since my rice noodle/tofu lady moved up to Bowery and Grand. It’s a bit out the way when we’re loaded down with groceries. The only drawback of this dish is it’s NOT good the next day. But we never seem to have a problem finishing it. Just make enough to eat in one sitting. It struck me last night that I haven’t had it in awhile. Maybe I’ll whip it up for our Chinese New Year’s hoedown.


Rice Noodle (The thick, round, short kind with tapered ends, I’m not really a fan of slurping noodles; it is known alternately as silver needle or mouse tail noodle)

1 lb ground fatty pork (GFP, gotta love it)

5+ cloves garlic

Fried Shallots (this is found in Chinatown; they’re concentrated pellets of shallot ka-pow!)

Chili Flakes, powder, or siracha

Soy sauce

White Pepper (somehow for this dish, the white kind with the spice more in the nose is more satisfying)

Rock Sugar (purists use this type, it does add a different sweetness, but you can use regular white granulated)

Chives (the flat Chinese kind, or the ones with flower buds; chop to same length as bean sprouts, ~3″)

Bean sprouts

Salt to taste – won’t need much b/c soy sauce

Fish sauce

Saute chopped garlic until fragrant. Add pork and saute until browned. Add soy sauce and water 1:1 until meat covered. The sauce will be absorbed by the rice noodle so a little extra liquid won’t hurt. Add a handful of fried shallots, chili, a  Tbsp sugar, and some white pepper. Simmer for 10 minutes.

Add rice noodle and stir until almost softened. Add chives and bean sprouts. Re-season with salt and white pepper. Add a splash of fish sauce. It’s ready when the noodle is translucent, ~5 min.

Guess why I love this dish. Yup – QQ!

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