Well helooo. Finally back after a whirlwind trip of Taipei last week.I am not a city person by nature but after being brought around by a passionate i-swear-by-Taipei friend of mine (her 4th? 5th time? there) this city has definitely grown on me. (Thanks Fish!)
I have a crazy backlog of posts about awesome places in Singapore that I would love to write, but for now, I shall attempt to sort out my thoughts of the recent trip to pulsating Taipei. With that I shall start this series with an introduction to two 卤肉饭 (braised meat rice) stalls that we visited. It is not going to be a 10 page analysis (don’t worry), just some brief thoughts about it. I have always been fascinated by the dish after watching many Taiwan variety shows featuring stars downing cute little bowls of it.
The history of 卤肉饭 apparently goes back to the Zhou dynasty where the emperor would have glutinous rice topped with minced meat+sauce as his second course (out of 8). In modern times, a typical卤肉recipe would involve about 4 to 6 hours of stewing the meat with a special mixture of herbs, spices and sauces that is unique to each establishment.
Gawking at the TV screen (the night before our visit) and looking at bowls of 金峰卤肉饭 flashing across our very eyes led us to this place. Now, Taiwanese have this innate talent in making everything look (and taste nice). “哦哦。。。饭好Q喔！” “为什么这么好吃呢？因为肥肉和瘦肉的分量刚刚好。。。“ －cues many quick/cute nods from the other show presenters-
Ok, we were sold. And troop down to the stall we did on the very next morning (right after our hotel brekkie). It was really easy to locate! We walked right into it as we exited from the train stop at 南门市场。
A small bowl (it comes in 3 sizes) of 鲁肉饭 costs 25TWD, which is slightly above a dollar. Really great value. The rice did not disappoint. 真的好Q!!! -deh- It was interesting that they used Japanese short-grain rice, which I guess, was the main reason for its 弹性。As for the proportion of fatty vs lean meat, I would like to protest! Definitely way more fatty lard-ish meat in the concoction than I was comfortable with. Poor NLQ (who isn’t a big fan of pork fats/skin) discarded close to 3/4 of her porky mixture.
We ordered other side dishes: 卤蛋（10TWD), 苦瓜排骨汤 (45 TWD) and 油豆腐 （20 TWD).. all pretty up to standard. The egg was definitely braised well (not pale-ish and bland).
A chain of stalls throughout Taipei selling 便当 (take-out rice box) ，卤肉饭 and other traditional Taiwanese delicacies. I would totally categorize this as a ‘fast food’ stall － the bowls of braised meat rice were placed on our table within seconds after the waitress walked away with the order chit. 我可不在吹牛喔。。
To be honest, the 卤肉饭 (small- 33 TWD)here was not as 入味 as the one we had at 金峰。There seem to be a little more edible lean meat at this place though. The other side dishes were, pleasant: 三杯鸡 （69 TWD), 腱子 (85 TWD) and a plate of braised cabbage for (45 TWD). As you can see, it was a little more pricey to have a meal here.
Interestingly, both stalls did not serve beverages. (whats up with that?). Totally not cool in the 35 dC weather we endured in Taipei.
Do check out these stalls if you have absolutely no idea where to get your fix of 卤肉饭。 If you have better recommendations, do let me know.