Lurou fan is the more ordinary and down-to-earth dish for any Taiwanese. There is, however, an on-going debate on whether this dish originated in Taiwan or Shandong, China.
The dish features finely chopped, usually not quite minced, pork belly, slow-cooked in aromatic soy sauce with five spices. The meat is typically stewed for at least an hour and a half so it is so tender. It tastes fat but not greasy, and the sweetness and saltiness are just right and full of fragrance of Chinese spices.
Lurou fan is also a traditional dish in southern Fujian and the south area of the Yangtze River in China. The flavor may vary from one region to another, but the basic ingredients remain the same: ground pork marinated and boiled in soy sauce served on top of steamed rice. It is a type of gaifan dish (盖饭 or 蓋飯) or gaijiaofan (盖浇饭 or 蓋澆飯);is a type of dish in Chinese cuisine, typically offered in low-cost establishments. It consists of serving fish, meat, vegetables over a plate or bowl of rice.
While minced pork rice is an important icon in typical Taiwanese folk cuisine, the variety of methods to customize flavors is so wide that it creates considerable differences between regions. In southern Taiwan, where people name it by the sauce "bah-sò-pn̄g (肉燥飯)" - (in Taiwanese languages (臺語, ),officially referred as Taiwanese Hokkien (臺灣閩南語) - instead of the meat, minced pork rice is preferably served with pork with less fat. People in the north of Taiwan favor a greasier version of meat sauce with rice, sometimes even with glutinous rice mixed in.
In southern Taiwan, while "bah-sò-pn̄g" is seen on the menu indicating minced pork rice, "ló͘-bah-pn̄g (滷肉飯)" remains on the very same menu, referring to another dish where braised pork belly covers the rice. The same rice with braised pork belly is known as "khòng-bah-pn̄g (焢肉飯)" in northern Taiwan.
1 lb skin-on pork belly, cut into 1/2” pieces
2 teaspoons oil
1/2 oz. rock sugar (or about 2 1/2 teaspoons granulated sugar)
1 small onion or a couple of shallots, finely chopped
8 shiitake mushrooms, cut into 1/2” pieces
1/4 cup shaoxing wine
3 tablespoons light soy sauce
2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
2 cups water
4 hardboiled eggs, peeled (optional)
For the Chinese spices
3 star anise
1 cinnamon stick
3 bay leaves
2 teaspoons Sichuan peppercorns
2 pieces dried tangerine peel
2 slices fresh ginger
How to cook
Bring a medium pot of water to a boil, and blanch the chopped pork belly for 2 minutes. Drain and set aside.
Heat the oil in a wok over low heat, and add the sugar. Cook the sugar until it starts to melt and then add the onions. Turn up the heat to medium high and stir-fry the onions for a minute. Add the mushrooms and stir-fry for another couple minutes.
Add the blanched pork, shaoxing wine, light soy sauce, dark soy sauce and water.
Stir and bring the mixture to a boil. Once boiling, add the spices, along with the peeled hardboiled eggs and turn the heat to the lowest setting. Simmer for 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. At this point the meat should be fall-apart tender.
To finish the dish, remove the spice packet and turn up the heat to medium high to thicken the sauce, stirring occasionally. This process should take about 5-minutes. The sauce should be thick enough to coat a spoon, but there should still be plenty of it left. Serve over steamed white rice.