Lu3 rou4 fan4 (or braised pork rice) is another Taiwanese dish that's so ubiquitous, so widely beloved, you'll be hard-pressed to find consensus on which restaurant, or so-and-so's mother or grandmother, does it best.
A dish so bare-bones and rustic it's easy to scoff at such peasant-ness, the appeal lies in its simplicity. It's really comfort food stripped down to the basics. Just fresh pork belly, roughly hewn, simmered in the best soy sauce you can find, and lots and lots of white rice.
We have iterations of lu rou fan in Singapore, but I found the ones in Taipei notably lighter, more delicate, thinner sauced than the thick gooey ones in Singapore, and with mellower tones. Also, the ratio of rice to pork is overwhelmingly 8:1, as this was originally meant to be plebeian food where meats were a premium for the working class so they compensate with lots more rice to fill you up.
Jin Feng Minced Pork Rice was a recommendation of my friend Bambi, who was stationed in Taipei for 3 years. It's the best, she said. And I heartily agree.
The Braised Ground Pork Rice (NT$30 for small) may, at first blush, look modest, almost blah, but wowza, it was delicious. The pork was sparkling fresh, equal parts fat and meat, coarsely-chopped so you get lardon and mince textures. That oniony sauce, laced with juicy mushroom slivers, was exquisitely nuanced, and generously ladled all over so the rice was practically swimming in sauce. Never have I been happy to finish up a bowl of plain rice with just sauce.
The Stewed Egg (NT$15 ea), a standard add-on, was a nice, if unmemorable, complement to the rice.
A must-try, the Pork Soup (NT$50) was brimming with minced pork balls, sliced mushrooms and julienned bamboo shoots. Thick yet clear in flavour to highlight the freshness of the pork, the soup was scrumptious.
The shop front for reference. Despite the restaurant's size, there's almost always a queue at any time of the day and night. No worries, the queue moves fast; we barely waited 15 minutes in a queue of 20 persons.
Jin Feng Lu Rou Fan
No. 10-1 Section 1, Roosevelt Road,
Tel: +886 2 2396 0808