A Taiwanese Beef Noodle Soup Specialist Opens May 9 in Andersonville

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A table laid with bowls and plates of Taiwanese food.
Minyoli brings the cuisine of Taiwan’s juàn cun to Andersonville.
Garrett Sweet/Eater Chicago

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Minyoli celebrates the unique cuisine of Taiwan’s vanishing juàn cun

Minyoli chef Rich Wang is already getting a lot of feedback on his new Andersonville restaurant, particularly from his “very typical straight-shooting Asian parents.”

“After the friends-and-family [event], my dad sent me two pages of notes,” the chef says.

Wang immigrated to Chicago from Tapei as a teen and worked at restaurants like Boka in Lincoln Park and Fat Rice in Logan Square. His restaurant, 5420 N. Clark Street, debuts later today — Thursday, May 9. Housed in the 1,775-square-foot former home of chef Jennifer Kim’s celebrated restaurant Passerotto, Minyoli brings a family-friendly, come-as-you-are neighborhood ethos. The menu’s centerpiece, a traditional beef noodle soup brimming with warm aromatics, is loaded with fresh, hand-cut noodles and cuts of beef shank.

Beef was a rarity in Taiwan before World War II, which makes its inclusion a relatively modern twist. The menu also features a vegan alternative with a kombu and mushroom broth topped with Southern Chinese pickled mustard greens.

Alongside the bowls of noodle soup, Minyoli offers lu wei, snack-size servings of eggs, meats, and tofu (sourced from local Taiwanese-owned purveyor Phoenix Bean) braised in the soup’s master stock. Wang says it’s important for that backbone of Taiwanese flavors to proliferate across its food and drink, a strategy that’s resulted in a small cocktail menu with options like a Sichuan peppercorn-infused gin and tonic — a play on the important role Sichuan peppercorns play in the restaurant’s broths and sauces. There’s a brief dessert menu, too, with a smattering of ice cream in flavors like taro and red bean.

Minyoli’s culinary style is distinctive, even among Chicago’s Taiwanese restaurants, for its origins in juàn cun or “military dependents’ villages.” A specific genre of enclaves that emerged in Taiwan in the late 1940s to house Chinese military personnel and their families toward the end of the Chinese Civil War, juàn cun fostered a unique culinary style that reflected the cultural complexities of their residents. Once numbering as many as 800 across the country, juàn cun have dwindled over recent years as poor housing conditions prompted Taiwanese officials to pursue “urban renewal” projects. As of 2019, just a few dozen juàn cun remain.

Wang, who was born and raised until age 14 in Taipei’s Minyoli juàn cun, wants patrons to know there’s much more to come once his team clicks into high gear. “We are really just starting out,” he says. “There are a lot of things I want to develop, but I don’t want to bite off more than I can chew.”

Bright and airy, the design weds exposed Chicago brick to light natural wood and pops of a particular aquamarine hue that Wang says was ubiquitous in juàn cun.

“I get messages from other juàn cun Taiwanese people in Chicago and it’s such a meaningful concept and cuisine for them. I want to make sure I stick around to do it justice,” Wang says.

Look around inside Minyoli and explore its menu in the photographs below.

Minyoli, 5420 N. Clark Street, Open 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Friday; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday; 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday.

A bowl of Taiwanese beef noodle soup.
Beef noodle soup is Taiwan’s de facto national dish.

A small bowl with a white scoop of ice cream.
The opening dessert menu features ice cream flavors such as taro, red bean, and black sesame.


5420 N. Clark Street, Chicago, IL 60640 Visit Website

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