The Girl Who Ate Everything

Blogging about food and whatever since 2004.

Beef Noodle Soup and Ginormous Shaved Ice in Flushing

Happy Beef Noodle House

When I heard about Happy Beef Noodle House from the New York Times' feature on Flushing eats, I thought, "AHHH AHAHAHA GMMFFUHL," which roughly translates to, "I have to go there." Beef noodle soup is easily my favorite Chinese noodle dish, something I devoured many times in Taiwan, and here was my chance to eat a happy version of it. Hell, I'd probably go anywhere with the word "Happy" in the name: Happy Burger House; Happy Pizza House; Happy Pig Parts House; Happy Colonoscopy House. See, it always works.

Jeremiah and Olia ATTACK

Jeremiah and Olia joined me on my beef noodle soup quest. Here's what we attempted to devour:

noodle with shredded beef and hot pepper accompanying soup of some sort
You could fit a baby in that bowl.

Jeremiah ordered the noodle with shredded beef and hot pepper, thick wheat noodles smothered in a goopy brown sauce with beef and vegetables. The waitress reminded us that it was spicy when we ordered it, but it wasn't that spicy. Just a smidge. The noodles came with a separate bowl of clear, nearly flavorless soup (except for a hint of...fat?) containing a cut up fishball or two. The soup wasn't bad, but I wasn't sure how it went with the noodle dish. Palate cleanser?

shredded pork something? ;_;

Olia ordered a noodle dish with shredded pork. I can't remember which one. Moving on...

beef stew noodle soup

And then there was beef. BEEF STEW! WITH NOODLES! FOR ME!!! And Olia and Jeremiah. Thick wheat noodles aren't my favorite, but it's the soup and beef that matter most. And what's in this soup? Jesus, I don't know; can't you just trust me when I say IT IS DELICIOUS? WHY CAN'T YOU JUST DO WHAT I SAY? It feels light (no insanely rich Minca-like broth here), but is full of beefy salty goodness. I think it's the star anise that I love...and then saltiness. And pepper. And onions. And spiciness. And mild sweetness. Whenever I slurp down beef noodle soup, I can't think of what it tastes like besides beef noodle soup. Highly unhelpful when I try to describe it, but it combines a bunch of flavors to form something new (like mixing yellow and blue to make green, yes?, YES?) and I don't think telling you all the individual components is going to help much. Also, I'm too lazy.

really tasty beef
Check out this beef.

This was no typical wee lil' chunk of tendon-laced beef. It was the best wee lil' chunk of tendon-laced beef ever. Not a chunk as much as weeny beef broth-soaked muscle fibers whose connective tissues had completely melted, meaning that the slightest chopstick-poke causes the fibers to release the most tender meaty goodness you will ever get in beef form. It's magical.

pickled vegetables!
Pickled vegetables!

Another magical thing was the complementary bowl of chopped pickled vegetables. This was as excited as having a bucket of curtido. I could eat all the pickled vegetables I wanted, and when I wanted. Many ladle-fuls make their way into my beef noodle soup to give it that extra bit of tang and crunch.

a stand with noodles n stuff peking duck bun for 75 cents
Oo, a crowd...oo, a bun

We stopped at a street-side food-filled window off Main Street where Olia bought a 75 cent Peking duck bun. I also saw, for the first time, how my favorite steamed rice noodle rolls are made:

steamed rice noodles steamed rice noodles steamed rice noodles
Noodles are being BORN, right before your VERY EYES!!!

Cut noodle sheet, scoop up noodles, plop into Styrofoam container and give a good splash o' sweet soy sauce goo.

spicy stuff on a stick
Man, I love things on sticks

Further down Main Street Olia picked up a stick of spicy fish balls or fish ball matter in other forms.

food court!
Golden Shopping Mall is very golden

We entered the underbelly of the famed Golden Shopping Mall to scope out the infamous food court full of goodies you won't find elsewhere.

food, in here
Feels like Asia

"Damn, it's humid," was my first though. "This feels like Asia," was my second. Tiny chairs, tightly packed bodies, humidity, and lack of English...yup, it takes me back.

pork and lamb sandwiches

We stopped at stall 36, Xi'an Famous Snacks, to try their lamb sandwich and pork sandwich. The lamb sandwich was too cumin-packed for my taste, but my first bite of the pork sandwich oozed with sweet, tender, fat-laden pork bits—like pulled pork, but better for some reason. I especially liked the chewy bread pouch it was stuffed into. Unfortunately, I could only take one bite because I was too stuffed from the beef noodle soup, but that just means I'll have to eat there on another trip to Flushing. I MUST CONQUER THEIR MENU.

Flushing Mall
Flushing Mall

We met up with Diana and Ian before heading to the Flushing Mall. Although my stomach was full of normal food, I still had room for dessert. Bwahahaha.


Shaved ice to the rescue!

So many toppings

I ordered the special shaved ice, which mean the ladies with the ladles were in charge of plopping whatever artificially colored, gelatinous, beany, gloppy, sugary goo they wanted in my kiddie pool-sized bowl of shaved ice. All I could do was watching from the other side of the plastic partition in awe, or horror.

big bowl of shaved ice

HOLY JEBUS what the...was my initial impression. "This bowl is huge. No one needs this much ice topped with goo." The goo included red bean, mung bean, multicolored gelatin cubelets, huge taro chunks that looked more like preserved fish, viscous peanut-filled glop, condensed milk, and whatever sugary syrup they soak the ice in. The ice bits even out the taste of diabetes.'s good! You've got your crunchy ice, mushy bean matter, chewy jello-like substances, starchy taro, all together in one magical spoonful that your stomach probably responds to with, "WTF, I don't wanna digest this shit."

we ate it
We ate it

Aside from a few neglected taro chunks, we managed to eat it all. Five of us, that is. I'd say a minimum of four people is required to fully devour this.

that is one happy baby...or something

The food court was the main attraction, but we roamed around the shops as well. The best thing we came across was this freaky baby photo outside of the Noble Angel children's photography studio featuring fantasy-like art direction that might fall just outside the label of "tacky." Actually, some of the art direction would be awesome for adults too. But maybe not this one.

...Why is he wearing a tie? Why is he playing with apples? Is this the storyline of a a children's fairytale that I don't know about?

Kick a poo? How do you kick a poo?

I bought a can of Kickapoo Joy Juice from a random food store in the mall. I mostly wanted the can, but I'm easily intrigued by anything called "joy juice," Alas, it tasted like Mountain Dew. Although I loved Mountain Dew as a kid during those rare times that my mom would let me drink it, now it doesn't seem to taste as good as it used to.

huge supermarket
Assi Plaza

Our last stop was Assi Plaza, a ginormous Korean supermarket where I chose to take photo of two things:

meat of some sort
You can slice it!

Fish Paste Product.

You can slice this too!

And Luncheon Loaf.


And that ends Summer Flushing Excursion #1. There's another one coming later. And hopefully more after that.

Korean-Chinese in Flushing: Sam Won Gahk
Chinese, Indian, and
Flushing, cheap dumplings, ice cream, and Brooklyn fooding


Happy Beef Noodle House
3810 Prince St
Flushing, NY 11354

Golden Shopping Mall
41-28 Main St
Flushing, NY 11355

Flushing Mall
13331 39th Ave
Flushing, NY 11354

Assi Plaza
13101 39th Ave
Flushing, NY 11354


bionicgrrrl / August 30, 2008 2:51 AM

The fish paste product is actually fish sausage. On the package it says sausage in Korean. "Fish paste product" is probably not an appetizing translation (fish flavored toothpaste anyone?). Not sure what the marketing people were thinking there. Fish sausage is kinda tasty, like odeng but more hot dog-like. It's one of those things you like cuz you ate as a kid. Sliced and dipped in egg and fried is yummy.

LC / August 30, 2008 9:05 AM

KICKAPOO! I live in Singapore and my mother used to drink it everytime we eat out. It doesn't seem to be available anymore.

Ira / August 30, 2008 10:00 AM

Two questions: I was at the Flushing Mall the other day seeking kimchi dumplings, but I couldn't find anything Korean-related in the food court. Did you see anything? Also, does Assi Plaza have a food court or restaurant? If you hit Sun Mary Bakery on 41st Rd., make sure you try those flattened snowball things filled with crushed peanuts and sugar. Best version I've ever had.

buzzgirl / August 30, 2008 11:41 AM

Wow. I've never had beef noodle soup? How can this be? It has three of my favorite things right in the name! It looks So. Freaking. Good. I live in San Francisco which has the largest Chinese population outside of Asia, but since it's mostly Cantonese folks, I wonder if the soup would be different here?

I shall investigate this afternoon. Yum!

BTW, Kickapoo is the name of a tribe of Native Americans based in Kansas. I gave a Kickapoo friend of mine a bottle of the Joy Juice, and she found it "offensively delicious!"

astrid / August 30, 2008 1:54 PM

Do you really not like cumin + lamb or was it this sandwich's version? Because if your answer is the latter, I would totally recommend seeking out the Xinjiang lamb kebab cart guy next time you are in Flushing. See if he has the kebab that has meat/fat/meat/fat/meat (referring to the order in which the items are placed on the skewer). YUMMMMMM. THE BEST.

Marie / August 30, 2008 2:27 PM

Clearly, that baby won in a fight at a black-tie toddler event and is yelling "how do you like them apples?!"

peachdisco / August 30, 2008 3:43 PM

The shaved ice looks like Pat bing soo (minus the cherry tomatoes). It looks tasty in a bizarre way, but I don't think I'll ever like beans as part of a sweet dessert (of course I don't particularly like savory beans either). Oh well.

avisualperson / August 30, 2008 4:23 PM

yo that is more or less a perfect itinerary. I will have to copy it with some compadres. impressive intake!

the only difference I'd make is to keep the shave ice simple: just crunchy peanuts, taro, red bean and condensed milk. the basics yo! and maybe, maybe, some "cuai-yuan", the gelatinous gumball sized things.

roboppy / August 30, 2008 5:03 PM

bionicgrrrl: I'd totally eat that fish sausage! FISH HOT DOG!!!

LC: Man, I wonder if I got some market Kickapoo.

Ira: Oo, I didn't think the Flushing Mall had Korean stuff, so I dunno if they have kim chi dumplings. :(

I think Assi plaza had a little food court-like section, but I didn't get a good look at it. Doh.

buzzgirl: Oo, I hope you can find a good beef noodle place around you!

There's a TRIBE called Kickapoo? Crazeeeh. They have their own soda!

Astrid: It was just this sandwich. ;_; I'll have to be on the lookout for the lamb kebab cart...!

Brenda: But you could get a...COLONOSCOPY!!

Marie: That's the best explanation I've heard so far.

peachdisco: Aww, I love red beans! And savory beans. WHAT DID THE BEANS DO TO YOU?!

avisualperson: I wanted to be SURPRISED with my shaved ice. :) ..And I was. Too much goo. Simple is better, hehe.

ansi / August 30, 2008 10:11 PM

Maaaaan, you must have done a lot of walking that day. If I ever manage to make it as far as Assi Plaza, though, I grab some of their kimbob to go! That stuff is yummy is ze tummy.

roboppy / August 31, 2008 1:10 PM

ansi: It's not tooo much walking! Or rather..I've done more for food before, hehe. I looove kimbob.

peachdisco: A/h...okay, I can see that. They're not always sawdusty though! I hope.

Su-Lin: That's what's awesome about going to Flushing; it's like you're not in NY anymore. :D

Steph / August 31, 2008 8:00 PM

As I've mentioned before (and have actually been ridiculed by Bourdain himself) -- I am a vegetarian. But even I find myself salivating like a starving stray dog when looking at that gorgeous bowl of noodle soup love, meat and all. Dooooode, when can I go fooding with you?!?? :)

- S

grace / September 1, 2008 11:38 AM

omg.. beef noodle soup. it's my fav asian noodle soup.

Wow. I've never had beef noodle soup? How can this be? It has three of my favorite things right in the name! It looks So. Freaking. Good. I live in San Francisco which has the largest Chinese population outside of Asia, but since it's mostly Cantonese folks, I wonder if the soup would be different here?


you can find beef noodle soup in restaurants that specialize in taiwanese/chinese food(the more authentic chinese places mostly down south bay where native chinese go, you won't find it in the more americanized chinse restarants). the better ones are prob. in south bay. san francisco has a higher cantanese population and this beef noodle soup is more a south east china/taiwanese cousine. everyone from taiwan knows it b/c they would have grown up with it. in taiwan you can find it everywhere pretty much. i understand in south east china they also have this. (i'm taiwanses) here's a good recommendation

* ASJ Restaurant
1698 Hostetter Rd, San Jose, CA 95131, USA
* A & J Restaurant
10893 N Wolfe Rd Cupertino CA

if you like noodles. it's worth the trip to sample it.

i live in north bay it's really hard to find it north bay as i mentioned north bay there's more cantanese population and beef noodle soup isn't cantanese. most taiwanese live in south bay(fremont, milpitas, san jose, santa clara, cupertino is a big taiwanese town..)

living in north bay i learned to make my own. which is actually not too hard. it's like making a beef stew with noodles. except the soup base comes from star anise, soy sauce, ginger, onions, scallian, sichuan peppercorn, chili or hot oil(if you like spicy) etc.. and of course the meat. also you should select stew meats taht are well-marbled with a some fat on it.

different ppl use differnt ingredients. but i find this vsn simple and easy..


grace / September 1, 2008 11:54 AM

actually my mom says the beef noodle soup mgiht be more northen chinese. origianlly it was the northen chinese in KMT who went to taiwan that started these noodle shops.

something like that.. @_@ , mom's prob. right.

but omg!! i've been craving that

noodle with shredded beef and hot peppe

i cannont find decent ones here... nothing close to what i had in taiwan. this was something i ate once a week as a school kid in taiwan. there's a restaurant that sell these noodles downstairs from my building i ate there all the

it's times like this i wish i live in new york or LA..(LA has great beef noodle soup and all kinds of chinese

Julie / September 1, 2008 2:43 PM

That shaved ice dessert reminds me of the Filipino halo-halo. Or probably I want everything to remind me of halo-halo.

Asian markets always present so many good photo ops. I appreciate your discerning eye. ;D

rach / September 1, 2008 3:51 PM

Four people to polish that small bowl off?
HAHA I guess so after all the niu rou mien and the buns and etc.
But after a dinner, nothing like a bowl of shaved ice and all the refreshing toppings ALL TO MYSELF.
I need a trip back to Taipei..

roboppy / September 1, 2008 4:18 PM

Steph: I emailed youuu!

Grace: Whoa, thanks for the info! Chinatown in Manhattan isn't big on Taiwanese food so I've never had beef noodle soup there.. :[ There is one place I want to try out though. But I'd rather GO TO TAIWAN (I haven't been back in about 10 years).

Julie: It's like halo-halo in a TUB!!

I think I prefer halo-halo..cos it has the custard and ice cream and cereal bits.

Rach: Not four...FIVE! Hehe. I don't think I could eat the whole bowl even if you paid me. Unless I was..very...very...hungry...starving for a few days might help.

elizabells / September 2, 2008 1:20 AM

Dude, is that... an entire clove of garlic in the bottom of the two sandwiches? I may have to finally go out to Flushing now.

Danny / September 2, 2008 3:06 PM

Yeaaaaaah buddy! I love this post. Man, the shaved ice looks really good. And you know, beef noodle places with chunks of beef is where it's at. Some places do slices... booo...

And joy juice huh? hmm...

roboppy / September 3, 2008 1:28 AM

elizabells: Oh my god I think you're right, THAT IS A GARLIC NUB, and it belongs in my mouth.

Danny: Slices? ..Wuuh?! Yeah, that sounds wrong. Slices are okay in pho. Cos they're like..raw. I WANT CHUNKS IN MY BEEF NOODLE SOUP!

Joy juice. The sugar gives you joy!

Olia: we have to go back to the Flushing Mall and SPEND AN ENTIRE DAY THERE, and eat all the takoyaki, ok? Ok.

eatyourheartout / September 3, 2008 12:55 PM

The steamed rice noodle rolls used to be my breakfast when I worked the last few months at Gigantic. I noticed a cart that specifically makes it fresh in front of your eyes located on the corner of Mott Street and something street (sorry don't know the names off the top of my head).

It really does taste a whole lot different the way they make it like that versus buying them from a noodle factory (located on Grand Street and Bowery Street). I think the ingredients are also up to your liking at the fresh made cart. Unfortunately these ladies are only there in the morning hours and they wrap up after the morning rush is over. Always a huge line for them too.

G / September 4, 2008 2:06 PM

Haha Robyn you really are funny. When can we expect to read from your experience at the Happy Pig Parts Place? Joy juice sounds kinda funky btw...

Muki / September 5, 2008 11:08 AM

After reading this I've started to crave for beef noodle soup really bad. To the point where I can sort of taste and smell it...

Must have this tomorrow or brain will die D:

Liz / September 6, 2008 12:12 AM

I passed by Happy Noodle yesterday and it was closed. My mom told me the place went on fire but it will reopen soon. King 5 Noodle on Prince St. also has very good beef noodle soup. It's right next to Spicy & Tasty.

Ira - The Korean dumpling booth is on the upper level of Flushing Mall. It's all the way in the back. I'm not sure if they have kimchi dumplings, but they have really good leek dumplings.

roboppy / September 8, 2008 12:43 AM

G: Happy Pig Parts...I'll be there opening day!

Muki: I hope your brain didn't die!

Liz: ON FIRE? Oh noooes! Good to know about King 5 Noodle though. And thanks for the Korean Dumpling info. I gotta check that out next time.

Kate / September 10, 2008 1:49 PM

Mmmmm....everything looks sooo yum...

But...I have to admit...I really want to go find and buy some luncheon loaf. Because really, how can I not try something that uses the words luncheon and loaf. Both words usually mean some strange thing that I must try.

SuperChomp / September 12, 2008 8:40 AM

I commented with the wrong username last time. Oh well.

Wow. It's like a little piece of transplanted Asia. None of the Chinatowns in the UK are this awesome. There's no hole in the wall vendors or 大排檔 (daai paai dong) atmospheres here. I am now very much wanting some of that falling-apart-tender beef. Damn.

roboppy / September 12, 2008 3:52 PM

Kate: I like LOAVES of all kind as well. Mmm.

SuperChomp: I remember when I went to Chinatown in London...the 2 blocks of it. Haha. Or was it two streets. Ahh whatever. Flushing is pretty cool, like being in ASIA!!

miss marissa / September 22, 2008 2:19 PM

Kickapoo Joy Juice!! My best friend and I found a lone, dusty bottle of that at the corner store when we were in high school, and we referred to it FOREVER AFTER. Even though, as you say, it was like weak Mountain Dew. Heh!

Also, steamed rice noodle rolls make me weep in delight.

wEnDaLicious / September 30, 2008 9:46 PM

I LOVE the Happy Beef Noodle joint cos it reminds me of slurping bowls of the beef noodle soup in Taipei. Plus throwing in endless spoonfuls of pickled choy can't be beat! The beef tendon there is also amazing...and also the cold appetizer platters of pig's ears, etc.!!! =D

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