One of the best signs of good food when you travel is a big crowd.
And preferably a big crowd that’s standing around on the street or sidewalk, some waiting in line and others already happily eating scattered around.
Located in the busy shopping district of Ximending, Ay-Chung Flour Rice Noodles stall is even busier than its surroundings, and for any food lover, it’s a snack opportunity that you wouldn’t want to walk past without checking it out.
You’re about to have some goopy goodness.
Ay-Chung Flour Rice Noodles
If you take a walk down Emei Street in the heart of Ximending in Taipei, there’s no way you’re going to walk past Ay-Chung Rice Flour Noodles without stopping in your path and wondering what’s going on.
The restaurant, which is kind of like a street food stall within a permanent building, is busy from the moment they open until the moment they close (when I ate here and took the photo above, it was about as empty as it gets since it was just as they opened).
There are no tables or seating space at Ay-Chung Rice Flour Noodles, you simply place your order, get your bowl of noodles, serve your own condiments, and then you can proceed to either take your noodles anywhere you want, or more commonly, stand right there on the street and start slurping.
The menu is about as easy as they come – you can either choose large or small.
I got a large.
After paying my 65 TWD at the cash register, I then took a couple steps to the left where the big pan of sticky rice noodles all mixed up was being dished out, and they handed me my large bowl of Taiwanese flour rice noodles (yes, flour rice, not rice flour).
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There was a self service toppings station, including vinegar, pureed garlic, and chili sauce, all of which I generously applied to the top of my bowl of noodles, and then happily joined the others in standing around the side of street while eating.
Rice flour noodles
Honestly speaking, before you taste your bowl of Taiwanese flour rice noodles, you’ll really wonder why so many people are there eating.
To me, it really didn’t look all that good.
I could understand a line for beef noodles… but for a bowl of brown looking sticky goopy noodles?
What could be the attraction?
Before trying the rice noodles with all the toppings I added, I had a bite of the pure noodles and gravy.
With just my first bite, I immediately knew what all the commotion was about, and why there were so many people gathered around at all times to eat rice flour noodles.
The noodles were extremely soft and silky, without any sort of graininess whatsoever.
The gravy was thick and salty, with a strong flavor to me that tasted like a combination of smoked fish and beef jerky.
After doing a bit more research, I found out that the soup base is made primarily with bonito flakes, which are Japanese smoked skipjack tuna flakes – hence the reason the bowl of noodles had such a delicious smoked fish flavor.
Within the mix there were bits of salty cured pig intestines, little fatty bites that just sort of switched up the soft rice noodles into chewy intestines, and they were perfectly chewy.
The texture of the soft strands of rice flour noodles blended in with the gravy so well, that it was almost hard to distinguish the noodles from the gravy – it all just slid in my mouth – I think a baby could have eaten it.
Additionally, I added all that pureed garlic, chili sauce, and vinegar to my noodles, which added a nice sour component, as well as a boost of chilis and fresh raw garlic which enhanced everything.
There was also a small handful of sliced cilantro added to each bowl of rice flour noodles which provided an extra touch of fresh crispness.
Standing on the side of the shopping street in Ximending, slurping down my bowl of rice flour noodles, I couldn’t have been happier.
If you have a few minutes, watch the full video of this Taiwanese snack:
(Or watch it on YouTube)
Ximending is the busiest shopping and hang-out area of Taipei, and while there are plenty of things to do, having a bowl of Ay-Chung Flour Rice Noodles should be at the top of your list (that is, if you love food).
Also, check out my Taipei travel guide for food lovers here!
After ordering and paying, you can then take your bowl of flour rice noodles, garnish them with vinegar, chili sauce, and pureed garlic, and stand around with all the other people and slurp down your bowl of goopy noodles.
It’s such a simple bowl of noodles, just a bunch of thick gravy, thin strands of noodles, and bits of pig intestines. But somehow, the smoked tuna flavor of the gravy, and the smooth textures and lightness of the noodles, along with the extra chili and garlic condiments, made it such a delicious snack.
As popular as it is, it remains a gem in Ximending.
Ay-Chung Flour Rice Noodles
Address: No. 8-1, Emei St., Wanhua District, Taipei 108
Open hours: Monday – Thursday from 10 am – 10:30 pm and Friday – Sunday from 10 am – 11 pm
Prices: Large is 65 TWD and small is 30 TWD (I would recommend the large… because it looked like the small bowl was just a few bites – and you’re going to want the big bowl as soon as you taste it).
How to get there: Ay-Chung Flour Rice Noodles is located in Ximending on Emei St. Take the MRT to Ximen station, get out on Exit 6, and the restaurant is just a 1 minute walk from there.