BDK’s Dishes Mimic Taiwanese Small Eats
Bull Demon King isnâ€™t exactly the type of cafe thatâ€™s frequented by hipsters or high school students doing homework. Itâ€™s a lot more niche than that, mainly because its specialty dish features a hot sauce made from ghost chili peppers imported from Mexico.
The color scheme of BDK parallels the demonic imagery that is hinted in the name. One thing the restaurant does well is its dedication to its theme. Crimson red walls and hanging red, raindrop shaped lights contribute to a hellish dining experience — in a good way.
BDK is also known for its Hell Style Beef Noodle Challenge, which costs 22 dollars to attempt but comes free if you win. On one side of the wall is a small, unassuming cork board on which photographs of winners of the challenge are pinned. When we sat down, the server approached us immediately and asked if it was our first time. Initially, the server had difficulty describing menu items in English. However, when my mom indicated we were Chinese, he immediately began suggesting dishes for us. The menu, while not difficult to navigate, might intimidate anyone who has never had Chinese food before. In addition, servers may be less eager or capable of helping customers who are not Chinese speakers. All the servers had extensive knowledge of the diverse menu; ours recommended the Vegetarian Mix, one of the many Taiwanese-style small dishes on the menu.
Customers can choose the type of noodles: thick, flat, thin or glass as well as the spiciness in each noodle bowl. There are two tiers of spiciness: the generic Mild to Hot for regular Beef Noodles and the No.1 to No.4 levels, which are made with ghost chili peppers for their signature Hell Style Noodles. According to the servers, the No.1 level is 600 percent spicier than Hot. I debated for a while on whether or not to order the BDK Hell Beef Noodles with No.1 level spiciness, but after careful consideration and my momâ€™s genuine concern for my digestive health, I ordered the Beef Soup Noodles with thick noodles and Hot spiciness, and Mustard Greens with Pork Noodles.
The Vegetarian Mix appetizer is composed of tea marinated tofu, hard boiled egg halves and seasoned seaweed all topped with a special sweet and savory sauce. The dish is light, as appetizers should be, and it gives a sample of the heavier, traditional Chinese flavors to come. While the Pork Noodle Soup is fainterÂ in terms of saltiness and flavoring, it is perfect for people who arenâ€™t big meat eaters and have lighter palettes. Finally, their specialty Beef Noodle Soup has an incredibly powerful kick, especially with the spicy seasoning’s distinct flavor. The beef stock grants the dish its aromatic quality and is just discernable from the heavy soy sauce flavoring that characterizes traditional beef noodle soup.
BDK offers already-spicy, traditional dishes with additional heat using ghost chili peppers. The other dishes and appetizers are modeled off of Taiwanese small eats such as popcorn chicken, tea marinated dishes, and beef rolls, so thereâ€™s no shortage of variety. The joint may be pricier compared to more traditional AsianÂ restaurants, but if youâ€™re an aficionado of spicy food, itâ€™s definitely worth a try.
By Angela Zhang, In-depth editor
Photo courtesy of Angela ZhangÂ