Bustling restaurants and a packed pocket park have come to define Yongkang street (永康街), and it's easy to spend a lot of time walking around taking in all the choices. Food from around the world can be found in this neighborhood, and many of them are known for being pretty authentic. This post just hopes to mention one of many great restaurants, specifically one which offers a taste of great Vietnamese food right in the heart of Taipei.
Most of the famous restaurants are on or near Yongkang street which stretches south from Xinyi road towards NTNU (師大). On Yongkang lane 6 you'll find Chengji 誠記, a store which at times has a lineup of customers waiting upwards of half an hour or more. If you're lucky though, you'll walk right in and get some delicious noodles.
This place is most famous for their Vietnamese pho, which was once the runner up at the Taiwan international beef noodle festival. The sauce is light and balanced and it avoids the common problem with Vietnamese in Taiwan with being too lemony. The noodles are topped with the restaurants signature beef and you can order a large or small portion of noodles. Unfortunately the price has lifted to a shockingly high 185 NT for a small bowl, but to be fair this is an upmarket neighborhood.
If you're looking for a good pho fix go for it, otherwise save the pho for another store and try any of the other delicious items on their menu.
Non-pho choice one was this bowl of thick curry soup with sliced beef and noodles. This was the big size with an added portion of noodles which clocked in at just under 120NT. The menu says the curry comes from Malaysia and the beef is from the more hearty spine area of the cow. It's a great choice for slow cooking and breaking down the tough parts of the meat and this meat was quite nice. The cumin and turmeric flavors are balanced but strong and the soup is thick but still highly viscous. It's a good beef curry noodle and there isn't too much of that saltiness which pervades Japanese style curries.
This is a tomato rendition of the original beef pho. The sauce is a mix of sourness and tartness that isn't off putting but wasn't what I expected to have. It's a very thin consistency but packs a flavor punch with every mouthful. This is the small bowl which ranked in just under 140NT. If you're looking for a tomato based soup which isn't salty and isn't sweet, this is a great choice. Again the stores signature slow cooked beef makes an appearance in here.