Lu Rou Fan (Braised Pork Rice Bowl)

There use to be a little Taiwanese cafe next to my old middle school, so instead of eating the disgusting food at the school cafetiria, my friend and I would sneak out and eat there, and we would order Lu Rou Fan (卤肉饭) every time, because it was fast, cheap, and absolutely delicious. The cook there would start cooking this huge pot of meat at around 7 in the morning, and by lunchtime, the pork is slow-cooked to perfection, with a thick, sticky sauce, and for a group of 12 years old, meat and rice was all we needed. This dish is super easy to make and has a really short prep time, you can start it in the morning before you leave and come back and eat it for dinner. Even though it is traditionally eaten with rice, you can put then in a steamed bun (or bao) to make a “Chinese sloppy Joe”, wrap them in a tortilla with some rice to make a “Chinese burrito”, or bake it in some puff pastry and turn it into a “Chinese meat pie”, the possibility is endless, just use your imagination! This recipe serves about 3 people.


You’ll need: 1 lb skin-on pork belly (if you can’t find them, shoulder meat also works); 2 teaspoons oil; 2 sugar; 2 shallots; 1/4 cup rice wine (Shaoxing wine preferred, but any rice wine works); 1 tbsp Chinese five spice; 5 tbsp soy sauce; 2 cups water; 4 hardboiled eggs, peeled (optional)

How to make this:

  1. Cut the pork belly into 1/2 inch thick cubes, with the skin and fat on. Cut the shallot into thin slices, then fry them in a heavy deep pan or pot with oil until they turn golden
  2. Once the shallots are golden, turn up the heat to high and add the pork cubes to the same pan, you don’t need to add any extra oil since more fat will be cooked out of the pork while you are browning them
  3. After the pork are slightly browned, stir in the Chinese five spice and slightly toast them a little with just the meat and fried shallot, it should only take about 30sec to 1 min but will improve the aroma of the dish
  4. Pour in the rice wine, soy sauce, and water, place the peeled hard boiled egg in the pan with the sauce and meat, stay on high heat to bring it to a simmer, then cover and let it cook on medium-low for at least 1 hour (or up to 8 hours, turn the heat to low if cook over 3 hours and add 1/4 cup of water for every extra hour)
  5. While meat is being cooked, make some rice, 2 cups of rice (with 1.2 times water) would feed about 3 – 4 people
  6. Serve the braised pork on top of some rice with the egg and any greens, you can also sprinkle on some chopped green onion or pickled greens

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