Updated: Sep 5, 2020
Date: 14th November 2019, 6:00pm
Before embarking on the island-hopping trip to the Kinmen, Penghu and Matsu islands of Taiwan, I had already identifed Liang Jin Farm's signature "warm-bodied" beef noodle (良金牧场「温体酒糟牛肉面」) as a must-try in Kinmen.
On the day of arrival on Kinmen Island, while checking-in at Backpack Home 497-2 in Jincheng Town (金城镇背包客栈497-2馆), the staff mentioned that there would be discount for dining at Liang Jin Farm outlets with a discount card. And that was really godsent! I would visit the restaurant without further ado.
Liang Jin Farm's main outlet was located in Jinhu Township (金湖镇) and the branch in Jincheng Town was right next to the "Chastity Arch of Qiu" (邱良弓母节孝坊) — one could never miss it while strolling in Jincheng Old Street. The outlet had an open-kitchen concept, the first level was the specialty product section and the dining area was on the second floor, with a view on the street below.
When I stepped into the outlet, the staff called out: "We have fresh beef today!" Hmm? why did the staff specifically mentioned "today"? It was not available on other days?
As it turned out, the cows were not slaughtered every day. Fresh "warm-bodied" beef were available only on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, and limited in quantity. The term "warm-bodied" (known as "温体牛" in Taiwan) meant that the cow was slaughtered that very day and served to the tables without being frozen. That was truly the original beef.
Since this day was a Thursday, all the more I should not miss it and up to the second floor!
It was my first visit to the restaurant, so naturally, I would order its signature dish — the original-flavour clear-soup-base "Boil-in-front-of-you Warm-Bodied Beef Noodle". The set meal, including three side dishes, was NT$368. After 5% discount with the use of the discount card from Backpack Home 497, it became NT$350. Although that was not a lot of discount, it was still better than nothing.
After a short wait, the beef noodle arrived! The meat of a cow that fed on distiller's grains (酒糟牛) was fresh-red and looked really appealing. Most of the ingredients in the bowl were pre-boiled, except the beef.
When the staff was about to add hot soup to the raw-beef noodle, she asked to "ready my camera", and the show began...
And the beef noodle was ready to eat! Best to eat it while it was still hot, or the beef would become tough if left heating for too long. The beef was tender, juicy and mildly sorghum-scented, which might not be distinguishable if the soup was flavoured — which was why I ordered clear soup. Since the cows at Liang Jin Farm were raised with distiller's sorghum grains, the beef inherited a slight sorghum flavour.
Oh mine, I liked the side dishes too! One crunchy, one sour-spicy, and the third one was a "beef sampler" from different parts of a cow. These side dishes were available only in Liang Jin Farm and changed from time to time depending on the season and availability.
After dinner, I went down to the specialty product section and bought 3 packs of beef jerky — my favourite was the spicy, sorghum-flavoured one. I planned to chew on them on the journey for the next 16 days.
(I liked spicy food, and with the additional sorghum flavour, I finished the beef jerkies within the next few days. Fortunately, I was able to get another 3 packs in the Matsu Islands to bring home.)
When in Kinmen, do try the warm-bodied beef noodles! If you have the opportunity, visit Liang Jin Farm in Jinhu Township and find out more on the rearing processes of the cows that fed on Kinmen wine distillers' sorghum grains.