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Lurou fan 卤肉饭 or stewed-meat rice has a humble name but is a classic Taiwanese dish, something you can find in almost every Taiwanese restaurant in Taipei.
It’s all about the stewing broth, which is boiled for a long time with many spices and acquires a delicious savory-sweet flavour. The versions I was served in Taiwan were spare and elegant; just crispy, fatty pork mingling with pure steamed rice.
There’s a little lurou fan hole-in-the-wall outside Beijing Normal University’s South Gate, but I tried not to get my hopes up. Sometimes the real stuff can be hard to find in Beijing. Last night I was speaking with a guy from Hunan, and I asked, “where do you go for great Hunanese food?” He replied, “In my own kitchen.”
Fortunately, with the luroufan, I was in for a nice surprise.
This version has a lot more heft than the elegant varieties I tried in Taiwan. There’s the tea egg on the side, the bok choy, the pickles. But that flavour is right. It’s sweet and spicy, with cinnamon, anise, soy all working together.
One bowl is lunch for a very hungry person (probably for one doing more strenuous work all morning than learning the grammatical uses of 才). Make sure you stir everything into the rice first – that strongly flavoured meat needs to be rice’d down.
There are some other lunch options: meat-stuffed bread and chicken-leg rice. Both were deemed “pretty good” by discerning classmates. My top recommendation is the xiangla lurou fan, 香辣卤肉饭, which is the same as the regular version but with a little sandy chili oil plopped on top. Lunch perfection as far as I’m concerned. I’ll go back.
Taiwan Lurou Fan/台湾卤肉饭
Go out BNU’s south gate and cross the street, turn right and look for the “台湾卤肉饭” place.
(For non-BNU students, just go to the Beishida/北京师范大学 bus stop, and turn left onto Xueyuan Nanlu 学院南路. You’ll find it on the south side of the street).
Cuisine: Taiwanese desserts
Price: 20-40 RMB per person
The mango-coconut-sago drink here is delicious! If you like mangoes, you’ll like iTea. Stop in if you’re on Nanluoguxiang. Just don’t try the Guiling Gao, it may be a fascinating food but to me it tasted like death.
Nanluoguxiang and Jingyang Hutong (on the west side of Nanluoguxiang).
Open 10:30 a.m. – 10:30 p.m.