Taiwanese fast food: Lu rou fan

What is the most popular dish in Taiwan?
What is a typical Taiwanese dish?

When we were little, my mom was sometimes too busy to prepare our lunch. She would give us some money and tell us to eat at the Luroufan stand near our home.

We would be so glad to have the chance to eat out, especially Luroufan, because it was our favorite. My sisters and I would run to the Luroufan stand.

At lunch time, the shop were always busy, but the luroufan was usually served very quickly. Everything was prepared, so the waitress simply needed to spoon the sauce on top of the rice in the bowl, and bring it to us right away. We never needed to wait for long.

Fast serving is a common feature of Taiwanese cuisine. Customers liked to be served very quickly, so they could get back to work. Cheap and tasty food, and fast service is always the luroufan restaurants' strategy to make money flow in – the tables can easily serve at least 20 groups of diners during lunch time.

Lu rou fanThe same meat sauce can also be put on noodles and rice noodles, so the luroufan shop actually produced multiple dishes, based on this tasty sauce. Stewed eggs are also slowly cooked together with the meat sauce.

Adults like to order lurofan together with some side dishes such as stewed Chinese cabbage and bamboo, and radish or meat ball soup. But when we were children, just the luroufan and stewed egg was enough to make us happy and full.

This delicious meal is always served hot, and doesn't cost much. It's popular culture, meant to be affordable for everyone. I think this can be compared to the way pizza is sold in Italy: it's for everyone, not only for rich people.

Where and how to buy luroufan

If you would like to try luroufan, there are so many shops around Taiwan. Because the restaurants and stands have a cheap and simple style, they might not be the most obvious places for foreigners.

This was voted the number one lurofan restaurant in one contest. The meals are served in a very comfortable air conditioned environment.

Jīn Xian Luroufan
No.473, Songshan Rd., Songshan District, Taipei
Business hours: 10:30-20:30
Chinese name and address: 金仙蝦捲 台北市松山區松山路473號
Tel: 2727-6627

There same group also has a very good luroufan restarant in Dadaocheng, it's an old style place, the shop is half open and on the street, but it has an English menu.
Jīn Xian Lurofan
No.19, Ln. 223, Nanjing W. Rd., Datong Dist., Taipei City
Business hours:6:00~20:00 (Sundays open until 18:00)
Chinese name and address 金仙蝦捲 台北市南京西路233巷19號 電話:02-2559-4392

How to cook and serve Luroufan for yourself

Lurofan is a simple combination of stewed meat (Lurou) sauce on top of steamed rice (Fan). The way the lurou sauce is cooked is actually very similar to french onion soup.

First finely chop a lot of small red onions, and saute them in lard until they soften, which will take about 30 minutes at least.

Then brown the minced pork with the softened red onion, this step takes about another 30 minutes.

When the red onion and the meat became very fragrant, add the shittake mushroom, soy sauce and stock.

Slow cook the meat sauce for a whole day.

When the lurou sauce is ready, simply serve it on top of steamed rice, noodles, or cooked vegetables.

                                                                                                                                     Photos by Joyce Tay


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