Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Taipei - Jin Feng Luroufan (Braised Pork Rice)

Luroufan at Jin Feng
There are a few signature or staple dishes in each city - some seem geared towards tourists (egg tarts in Hong Kong - not that locals don't like them, we just don't eat that many of them), while others truly live in people's subconscience and and are eaten by locals on almost a daily basis. To me, an example of the latter would be luroufan in Taiwan, or braised pork rice.

On previous trips, I had been introduced to Formosa Chang, or "bearded Chang" in Chinese (鬍鬚張), which, in my untutored opinion, is a very decent chain, but I decided I'd go looking for more options, just to compare (this will sound familiar to food nerds...).

A quick search on Google and I found Jin Feng coming up time and time again. Plotting it on my map (testament again to my nerdiness), I found it wasn't far from a cafe I wanted to check out, so off I went.

I arrived at around 6.15pm, thinking that the place wouldn't be very busy, but I was completely wrong. Two queues swelled at the entrance of the no-frills, almost tatty, eatery, one for eat-in, the other for takeaway. Luckily, I was alone, and was seated rather quickly, sharing a folding table with a middle-aged gentleman who appeared to be a regular.

Inside Jin Feng
Amid the frantic atmos of orders being shouted in Minnanyu, I studied the menu. Seeing as I was probably going to have another dinner afterwards, I ordered a small luroufan, which was NWT$25 - ie. ridiculously inexpensive.

The bowl arrived in a matter of seconds. I suppose you could say it was snack-sized - it was about 6 mouthfuls - with about two tablespoons of fine batons of fatty pork (pork belly?) and a thick cuboid of pickled radish. The pork was savoury and sweet, almost in equal parts, in that classic Taiwanese way, which was given an extra little umami kick with the soft specks of shiitake mushroom. It was very conducive to being eaten with big gulps of plain rice, or as we say in Cantonese, 好送飯. The rice was short-grain and slightly sticky, as with most rice in Taiwan - a custom that I imagine developed during the Japanese occupation. Unlike some luroufan, the pork was neither minced (or ground, if you're American), nor was it served with any gloopy or even runny sauce. From the colour of the pork (barely tinted), it seemed that the pork relies more on a marinade than a sauce to give it flavour.

A very satisfying 6 gulps - just enough to keep me happy for the 20 minute walk to my next stop.

Jin Feng Braised Pork Rice 金峰滷肉飯
10 Roosevelt Road Section 1
Zhongzheng district

View e_ting in Taipei in a larger map

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