Niu Dian Beef Noodles is a Michelin Bib Gourmand (2018-2020) beef noodle establishment which hails from Taiwan. They’ve just opened their first overseas outlet in Singapore on 13 Feb 2023. I headed down to VIIO @ Balestier during the first week of opening, and arrived there 5 minutes early.
There were already 6 groups of excited customers queuing up at the front door, indicating how popular they are.
Niu Dian Beef Noodles has also teamed up with homegrown bubble tea brand, Palace Tea, to offer a series of exclusive beverages for the restaurant. You’ll be able to spot their booth next to the entrance.
You will also see posters of Taiwanese celebrity Show Luo at the eatery’s exterior. He is the brand ambassador of the restaurant.
What I tried at Niu Dian Beef Noodles
Before my food arrived, I spotted a condiment booth where I helped myself to the chilli sauce, chilli oil and pickled mustard vegetables. This trio is a must for me.
On the ordering page via QR code, you’ll be able to customise the doneness of your noodles (soft/normal/hard), and specify if you’d like Original or Braised Soup (Spicy) (+S$1). You’ll also be asked if you want spring onions— good news for those who detest them!
The very first dish I tried was the Combination Specialty Beef Noodles (S$19.90). It had a bed of noodles doused in the Original broth filled with pieces of boneless rib cut, tendon, tripe, and golden coin (shin leg area).
The broth was clean tasting and light. However, that being said, a little more seasoning would have made the soup more delectable.
I’ve not had melt-in-the-mouth tendons for a long time, and these were braised to perfection. The tripe was also handled well and had no gamey taste.
The boneless rib cut looked amazing with its various layers which almost resembled a colourless terrine. Our entire table gave a nod of approval as we savoured the tender beef. Simply delightful!
I picked up whiffs of beef aroma from the chilli oil. It got us wracking our brains to figure out what went into it, and we later learnt that it was sauteed with beef marrow oil. Interesting!
I tried dipping the boneless rib cut into it, and was a little disappointed. Although it was fragrant, the taste was one-dimensional and all I could feel was the heat. Dang!
I was excited about the Black Sesame Sauce Noodles (S$11.90). My last encounter with this dish was about 3 years ago in Taiwan. This is a flavour that’s seldom seen in Singapore, and I was craving for it.
Niu Dian’s noodles were flat and slightly thick, and reminded me of a thicker version of ban mian. After tossing the noodles together with the gravy, I could see fine speckles of black sesame everywhere.
The gravy gave a slightly sandy texture to the noodles which was satisfying (reminded me of black sesame tang yuan), and had robust nutty and smoky notes. I was glad that the gravy was slightly watered-down compared to the Taiwanese version— it made it less jelak.
The final dish that we ordered was the Beef Noodles (S$11.90) with a choice of Braised Soup (Spicy). We selected the Boneless Rib Cut + Tendon and requested for our noodles to be soft.
The soft noodles will probably be suitable for older folk or people with digestion problems— they were a little too mushy for my liking.
The braised soup was flavourful and had a stronger infusion of beef flavours compared to the Original. The spice was very light and not overpowering, which is ideal.
The golden coin was a tiny nugget of succulent meat which fell in the same category as beef tenderloin— extremely soft and of good quality.
I tried adding the pickled mustard vegetables, and it was the best decision ever! It added mini crunchy surprises with tangy bursts of flavour— a much-needed upgrade.
To wash all the food down, we tried the large Chrysanthemum Milk Tea (S$5.30) with an addition of Aiyu Jelly (+S$1.30). It was slippery and smooth just like chin chow and who knew that chrysanthemum tea matches so well with milk? I’m officially obsessed!
We also tried the Lychee Mint Red Tea (S$5.90) with a Coconut Jelly (+S$1.30) topping. It had a whole lychee inside and the jelly was pleasantly chewy. My only gripe was that it was too sweet even though I had asked for 50% sugar.
It’s great that we have many famed overseas eateries popping up at places like Balestier instead of in town. The hype is strong and I recommend that you come early to grab a seat as the restaurant doesn’t have a large seating capacity. Go try it out soon!
Expected damage: S$18 – S$36 per pax
Other articles you might like: