Braised pork rice, a traditional preparation served at almost every restaurant specializing in local cuisine across Taiwan, has made it to the top of CNN's list of must eat foods for visitors to the island.
TOKYO - What is quickly becoming a world-famous dish, Lor Bak Png in the local Taiwanese dialect, lu rou fan in Mandarin or, for most readers of this article, Taiwanese braised pork rice - a savory preparation that is gradually being elevated to the status of Taiwan's "national dish", has topped CNN's list of "must-eat foods" when visiting the island. The dish is made by pouring marinade, which is stewed with local black pork and locally grown shallots that are unique to the island, then poured over full and chewy rice, with the ratio of the ingredients a key factor in assuring the authenticity of the preparation. The dish is complemented by a variety of side dishes and hot soups.
The "Ministry of Economic Affairs of Taiwan - 2018 Taiwan Braised Pork Rice Festival", in tandem with several regional events, helping the dish ascend to an even greater level of popularity throughout the island. The dish started to make a presence in Japan when it was featured as a showcase item at the Taiwan Plus 2018 event held at Ueno Park, Tokyo at the end of September. Three famous restaurants participated in the event:
- World-renowned Formosa Chang, which prepared the braised pork rice by pouring the clear, soft and tender minced pork over the rice, using a blend of rice where no two grains of rice stick together, and matched it with stewed tofu in pork soup, a classic Taiwanese side dish;
- Chiayi-based Taiwan Cooking Specialty, which combined the uniquely minced pork simmered with traditional braising craftsmanship and served with their own special pickled sour cucumbers and refreshing cauliflower to deliver a nutritive and delicious meal; and
- Beihai Fishball Store from Kaohsiung, which delicately cut the meat by hand then simmered it for 12 hours, followed by gently mixing the end result with authentically homemade fish ball soup, so that what is delivered to the table is a handcrafted creation, which is characterized by every step of the way and an expression of the dedication that the restaurant owner and staff put behind every order.
The authentic Taiwanese preparations were shipped directly to Japan, meeting the expectations of Japanese diners who are known for their perfectionist approach to food. During the sales period, the braised pork rice dishes received positive feedback from the continuous flow of buyers and were sold out in advance every day. The savory "national dish" has gone a long way in being an assist to the friendly relations that Taiwan has with the world.
Tens of thousands of restaurants across the island have braised pork rice on their menu and have been serving the traditional dish to generations of Taiwanese. Some restaurants focus on the heritage, while others take a more innovative approach. Each Taiwanese has his or her own favorite version.