Soup is a beloved comfort food all over the world, and people are often prepared to travel far and wide to discover some of the best. We have to wonder, however, how many people are prepared to reach deep into their pockets for it and just how far. Take, for example, the most expensive Taiwanese beef noodle soup in the world, sold for 10,000 new Taiwan dollars — approximately $342 in U.S. currency as of the writing of this article.
One of the world’s top 20 destinations last year, Taipei is known for its coffee, as well as its budget-friendly food and nightlife. It is here, however, that you will find the most expensive Taiwanese beef noodle soup, sold at Niu Ba Ba (which translates to ‘beef father’ in Mandarin), a beef noodle shop that’s been open since 1990.
The soup in question is the Presidential Beef Noodle Soup, but the restaurant serves seven other types as well, all much more reasonably priced. The cheapest of the bunch is the Beef Father Beef Noodle Soup, sold for 500 New Taiwan dollars, or about $17.
So what’s so special about the Presidential? Each bowl contains four different kinds of beef cuts, all premium and exported from Australia, Brazil, Japan, and the United States, and only the best and most well-marbled of these cuts make the, well, cut. Each piece of beef is cut against the grain and in very specific shapes in order to bring out the best flavor, before being slow-braised for three days and then frozen individually overnight. Six different types of stock make up three different layers of broth to make the expensive dish, which is also seasoned with soy sauce, rock sugar, and five-spice powder. Customers can still customize their orders with a pick of five different types of noodles as well.
The price, believe it or not, came from the customers themselves. For the first 14 years in business, Niu Ba Ba founder Wang Tsung Yuan and his son, Eric Wang, operated on a pay-as-you-wish basis. After many customers expressed that they’d be willing to pay 10,000 new Taiwan dollars, the restaurant set the price at just that back in 2007. That hasn’t kept eager soup slurpers away, however, and the joint is so popular that it’s recommended to make reservations up to two days in advance to try their delicious menu. For a more affordable and slightly less delicious option, try their VIP Beef Noodle Soup, which costs 1,500 New Taiwan dollars, or approximately $51. Love soup and willing to criss-cross the globe for it? Check out these 12 stops around the world for different takes on this delicious staple.